Kit Polen, Associate Principal bassist for the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, has a unique perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic, as musicians and artists suffered a disproportionate loss this past year after performance venues and concert halls around the world were shuttered. His wisdom and insights are refreshing as we mark the one-year anniversary from when our lives changed so suddenly.
Late last month, he was part of a string trio which performed works by American composers in front of a limited live audience at the Figge Art Museum. The latter half of the program consisted of six bluegrass/folk compositions by Edgar Meyer and Mark O’Connor - pieces which offered the opportunity to perform bass solo work given their improvisational nature, and with technical aspects which caused him to think differently as a musician. The QCSO Signature Series III: For America concert featuring Kit Polen on bass, Emily Nash on violin, and Bruno Silva on viola, can be viewed via digital access through March 29, 2021.
Listen to our conversation here about the unexpected gift he feels the global pandemic brought him; the importance of experiencing live music as a transcendent, communal experience; and how the compositions by Edgar Meyer and Mark O’Connor fit into the larger and more expansive tradition of American music.