There’s something for everyone in the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s 2020-21 season — a Fleetwood Mac tribute, concerts saluting Beethoven’s 250th birthday, a world-premiere partnership with the Philadelphia Orchestra, a gala program featuring a “Hamilton” star and live scores to screenings of “Toy Story,” “Jurassic Park” and Harry Potter films.
The 106th season is themed “Ode to Joy,” after the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s immortal Symphony No. 9, which will kick off the next Masterworks series Oct. 3 and 4, 2020. Performed with the Augustana Oratorio Society and Choral Artists, the Ninth will be paired with Jonathan Bailey Holland’s 2018 “Ode,” written in response to the Beethoven, who was born Dec. 17, 1770.
“He’s a great African-American composer, and was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony,” QCSO executive director Brian Baxter said Wednesday of Holland. “It was sort of an unfair commission, to compare to one of the greatest works of all time.”
“Ode” is a 20-minute work that features a wordless chorus and reveals influences of rap and hip-hop. “It’s really cool,” Baxter said. Holland is the head of composition at Boston’s Berklee School of Music.
The monumental Beethoven Ninth premiered in 1824, first done by the QCSO in 1956, and was the first Masterworks concert in 2008 for conductor and music director Mark Russell Smith. He also led the QCSO in the work here in 2015.
“We are excited to join orchestras around the world in celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday,” Smith said. “This celebration of his music, and what it has meant to people everywhere, beautifully frames our season. It encapsulates the power of all music to provoke thought, challenge perceptions, uplift humanity and provide a platform for share experience.”
Beethoven will be represented in three Masterworks and one Signature Series program: Leonore Overture No. 3 will be in November; QCSO concertmaster Naha Greenholtz will play the Violin Concerto in December, and perform his Violin Sonata No. 7 at a Figge concert Oct. 23. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata will be part of the Signature Soiree fundraiser Sept. 19 at the Figge.
Smith will offer a lecture on the importance of Beethoven and the upcoming season on Aug. 9 at the German American Heritage Center, Davenport.
With a new “Pick-Beethoven” subscription, audiences can reserve seats for all four concerts at a 15% savings over single-ticket prices.
Other season highlights:
- Frequent QCSO partner Jacob Bancks (a composer who teaches at Augustana College) will have the world premiere of his clarinet concerto performed April 10 and 11, 2021 by Ricardo Morales, principal clarinetist for the Philadelphia Orchestra. The piece is a co-commission from the two orchestras and will be later done in Philadelphia, Baxter said. That April “For America” program features all U.S. composers (including two other living), and two female writers (Judith Shatin and Amy Beach), in partnership with the Figge’s exhibit, “For America: Paintings From the National Academy of Design,” which runs Feb. 20-May 16, 2021.
- The March 27, 2021 Signature Series at Brunner Theatre, Augustana, will include two Ballet Quad Cities dancers performing Igor Stravinsky’s “Soldier’s Tale.”
- “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry, who originated the role of Angelica Schuyler, will present an evening of Broadway, pop and soul favorites with the QCSO May 15, 2021, at Davenport’s Adler Theatre.
- This summer’s Riverfront Pops will return to Rock Island Arsenal to celebrate the music of Fleetwood Mac. “We are thrilled to continue our community partnership with the Rock Island Arsenal for this iconic event,” Baxter said.
- The QCSO at the Movies series begins with the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series, “Goblet of Fire,” in November. The QCSO will be one of the first orchestras in the nation to present Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story” in January 2021 and the series rounds out with “Jurassic Park” in June 2021.
To see a complete list of the season programs, visit qcso.org/events.