Quincy Symphony Presents Beethoven 5

The Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association, under the direction of Bruce Briney, opens their 68th concert season at 3 pm Sunday, Oct. 11 at Quincy Junior High School with Beethoven 5. This unique concert spans the centuries with music from 1805 to 2015.

The title piece, Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5,” is one of the best-loved compositions in the world. The first notes are so ingrained in people’s minds that they’ve become an icon of classical music. This famous piece is often used to introduce children to the magical world of symphonic literature and is even popular among people who wouldn’t say they’re classical music fans.

The Beethoven theme continues with his concert aria “Ah! perfido,” featuring soprano Penelope Shumate. The text deals with a young woman betrayed by her lover and expressing her rage. The music begins dramatically with the soprano intoning the words, “Ah, perfido! spergiuro, barbaro traditor, tu parti?” (Ah, You treacherous liar, you’re going to leave me? Is this your final goodbye?)

Shumate has performed as a soloist with numerous ensembles including the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. This season she returns to Carnegie Hall as soprano soloist in “Messiah,” and debuts as soloist with the Heartland Festival Orchestra and with the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra.

In her performance career, she has been described as having a “voice with power” and a “welcome fire” on stage. Dr. Shumate serves as Assistant Professor of Music in Voice at Western Illinois University.

Another WIU faculty member, James Caldwell, will shift the concert in a new direction with the world premiere of “Lazulian Circuits.”  This unique composition by Caldwell was commissioned by the QSO and written this year.  Designed to merge orchestra with electronic sound, the piece has a driving tempo and distinct sections that give it an overture-like quality. Sometimes the electronic music seems to be at the forefront; sometimes it is more accompanimental and coloristic. The title refers to a gemstone, lapis lazuli, that is a deep blue color with shimmering flecks of mica. The music certainly shimmers, and some of the orchestra’s material has blues-inflected melodies and harmonies, not really “bluesy,” but perhaps “lazulian.”

Tickets for Beethoven 5 will be available at the door or in advance at Quincy Hy-Vee stores, Sturhahn Jewelers or the symphony office, 200 N. 8th. Individual concert tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for senior citizens. Children 18 and under are encouraged to attend with their families, and will be admitted free thanks, in part, to grants from the Tracy Family Foundation and the Community Foundation.

Season tickets offer a great savings over single ticket prices. Season tickets are available now, and include 10 QSOA events at $70 for adults or $60 for seniors. A special promotional offer allows new season ticket holders to get two season tickets for the price of one if the order is received by October 11.

The QSOA is very grateful for support from the corporate community. The Silver Baton Concert Sponsor for Beethoven 5 is the Quincy Herald-Whig with WGEM.  Stevenson Paxton Group is the Music Sponsor.  All QSOA concerts are supported by Golden Baton Season Sponsors Knapheide Manufacturing, Blessing Health System and Gardner Denver. Partial support has been received from the Marion Gardner Jackson Charitable Trust and the Illinois Arts Council Agency through the National Endowment for the Arts.

Call 217-222-2856 or visit www.qsoa.org for more information on the music and performers, including program notes and biographies.