Quincy Symphony Orchestra Presents “Science & Symphony” Concert

Quincy Symphony Orchestra Presents “Science & Symphony” Concert

Dr. José Francisco Salgado’s passion for astronomy began when he found one of his father’s books on the moon landing.

“I was captivated by the fact that we visited another world and the technology that took us there,” says Salgado. “I wanted to study space. I didn’t even know the word ‘astronomy.'”

He achieved that dream, becoming an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and an adjunct professor at Benedictine University. Later Salgado applied his skills in illustration and photography to create astronomy-themed artwork that would “provoke curiosity and a sense of wonder about the Earth and the Universe”.

This evolved into a series of projects where art is used to communicate science and to inspire people to learn about science on their own. The flagship project is the Science & Symphony Films, which consist of live performances of classical music accompanied by high-definition science films.

The Quincy Symphony Orchestra has teamed up with Salgado for a Science & Symphony performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21. The QSO, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Briney, will perform Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” as Salgado’s critically acclaimed film plays on Morrison Theater’s new 20-foot projection screen. The screen and accompanying technology is a gift to the Quincy Junior High through a collaborative effort of the Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association, Quincy Public Schools, QPS Foundation, The Marion Gardner Jackson Trust and Encore! Symphony Volunteer Council.

By partnering with symphony orchestras, scientific, and educational institutions, this project connects disciplines such as astronomy, photography, music, and storytelling to increase the understanding and appreciation of these uniquely human endeavors. The films feature images, animations, and science visualizations from NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), as well as historical illustrations. They follow the tempo and tone set by the music, and are intended to be art pieces that inspire audiences and encourage them to learn more about the music and the universe.

Salgado says audiences may expect a “pretty slideshow,” but instead he created “a film that augments the music instead of competing for attention. It gives the impression that the film came first and then someone scored the music, when in fact, it’s the opposite.”

Dr. Salgado will take up a short-term residency in Quincy the week before the concert and conduct demonstrations at area schools. He’ll also discuss the creation of Science and Symphony films prior to “The Planets” performance on April 21.

The orchestra will also debut the newly commissioned “Steel and Smoke” by Illinois composer Jacob Bancks. “Smoke and Steel” is based loosely on the poem by Carl Sandburg. The QSO commissioned Bancks to write the piece to honor Briney’s 10th year as conductor, which coincides with the organization’s 70th anniversary.

The Quincy Symphony Chorus, Quincy Area Youth Chorus, John Wood Community College Choir and Quincy University choirs join forces in a performance of movements from “Sunrise Mass” by Ola Gjeilo. This spiritually uplifting music, orchestrated for strings and choir, uses ancient texts to take the audience on a journey from the heavens to earth. Dr. Phyllis Robertson directs the Symphony Chorus. Paul Shelor and Amy Fairchild direct the Youth Chorus.

The Grand Prize Drawing for the 13th Annual QSOA Raffle will be held at the conclusion of the intermission. Raffle proceeds support the many programs of the QSOA. The grand prize of $1,000, second place prize of two “Hamilton” tickets, third place prize of two SkyWest round trip tickets to Chicago and fourth place prize of two QSOA season tickets will be awarded. Raffle tickets are on sale for $10 each or 12/$100, and may be purchased at the concert, in advance from any orchestra, chorus, Encore! or Symphony Board member, or by calling the Symphony office at 222-2856.

Tickets for “The Planets” are available in advance at Quincy HyVee, County Market, Sturhahn Jewelers, the symphony office or qsoa.org. Tickets are $15 for seniors and $18 for adults. Thanks in part to support from the Tracy Family Foundation, children 18 and under are admitted free to all QSO concerts. Current students, faculty and staff of Quincy University, Hannibal-LaGrange University and Culver-Stockton College are admitted free by showing their school identification.

The Golden Baton Season Sponsors are the Knapheide Manufacturing Company and Blessing Health System. The concert is made possible in part by Concert Sponsor Mercantile Bank, Music Sponsors Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu & Mitchell, Media Sponsor WGEM, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Quincy Service League and the Irwin Family Fund through the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area.


Concert details:

Who: Quincy Symphony Orchestra, Chorus & Youth Chorus

What: The Planets Concert

Where: Morrison Theater, QJHS

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21

Pre-concert talk at 7:00 p.m.


How: Tickets at HyVee, County Market, Sturhahns, qsoa.org or the symphony office, 200 N. 8th, Suite 102.