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From Mahler to Mozart: The QCSO's Gala Concert with Emanuel Ax

Marc Zyla
QCSO Executive Director, Brian Baxter

In this episode of the podcast, Marc Zyla sits down with Brian Baxter to discuss upcoming events and performances by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO). The main focus of the conversation is the QCSO's gala concert, which will feature the world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax as the guest soloist. Baxter expresses the organization's excitement to have Ax perform with the orchestra, highlighting his incredible talent and down-to-earth personality. The program for the gala concert is discussed in detail, including pieces by Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, and Stravinsky.

The conversation then delves into the historical context of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto, noting the composer's deafness during the composition process and the influence it may have had on the music.

The podcast episode also touches on the QCSO's annual "Side-by-Side" concert, where Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles members perform alongside professional QCSO musicians. Baxter emphasizes the educational aspect of this program, highlighting its ability to connect students to the orchestra and provide them with a unique performance experience.

Looking ahead to the 2024-2025 season, Baxter previews several exciting programs, including a collaboration with Ballet Quad Cities and performances of "Omar's Journey", adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera and iconic pieces like Rhapsody in Blue and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5. He encourages listeners to become subscribers to ensure the best pricing and access to these diverse offerings.

Throughout the episode, Zyla and Baxter discuss the important role of the orchestra in the community, the value of music education, and the unwavering passion and dedication of both professional and student musicians.

Marc Zyla joined WVIK, Quad Cities NPR in May 2022 as the Director of Community Engagement. Prior to that Zyla had been the Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, where he continues to perform as Principal Horn. Zyla believes that there is something for everyone in public radio and brings passion and creativity to his position as Director of Community Engagement.
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