Symphony Orchestra Presents “20th Century Gems”

Contemporary music offers diverse and exciting themes for orchestras, and many pieces have become easily recognizable to modern ears. The Quincy Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Briney, explores several of these compositions of the last century at Quincy Symphony Orchestra’s “20th Century Gems” concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20.

The orchestra performs Weill’s snazzy suite from “The Threepenny Opera” which employs unique instruments including saxophones, banjo, and accordion. Listeners will recognize it for its “Mack the Knife” melody. Other modern classics include Stravinsky’s rhythmic “Suites for Small Orchestra” and Faure’s “Pelléas et Mélisande Suite.” 

The orchestra debuts a new commission, “Kepler,” by Illinois composer Stephen Taylor. The title is a nod to Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) who discovered how planets orbit the sun. Kepler is a short piece inspired by the intricate orbits of the Solar System, from Mercury flying around the sun to the giants Jupiter and Saturn, and out to tiny Pluto and beyond. While the inner planets whiz by (a year on Mercury lasts 88 days) the outer planets can take decades (Neptune’s year is 60,182 Earth days). Listeners will connect these differences in the music tempo. 

“20th Century Gems” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20 at Quincy Junior High’s Morrison Theater. Masks are required inside the school and concert hall. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at the symphony office, 1026 Maine Street. Individual concert tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for senior citizens. Children 18 and under are free thanks to grants from the Tracy Family Foundation and the Community Foundation. Students, faculty, and staff from John Wood Community College, Quincy University, and Culver-Stockton College are admitted free with current school I.D. thanks to a ticketing plan with these schools.

This program was made possible by a grant from the Jayne & Leroy Boeckelman Fund for Young Musicians, the Alan L. & Mary Ellen Stiegemeier Charitable Fund, and the Arthur O. & Lela B. Lindsay Fund through the Community Foundation. The QSOA is grateful for support from the corporate community. The Silver Baton Concert Sponsor for 20th Century Gems is Gardner Denver. Media Sponsor is KHQA.  All QSOA concerts are supported by Golden Baton Season Sponsors Knapheide Manufacturing and Blessing Health System, and by the Illinois Arts Council Agency. For more information, visit or call 217-222-2856.