More music by women, more live Harry Potter music, a Journey tribute, a “Nightmare Before Christmas” and a world-renowned pianist will all be part of the 109th season from the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO).

The Quad City Symphony Orchestra will launch its 109th season later this year. It’s one of the oldest continuously operating orchestras in the nation.

Themed “Courage and Beauty,” the 2023-24 season will include six dynamic Masterworks, four intimate Up Close chamber concerts, Quad City Bank & Trust Riverfront Pops, two QCSO at the Movies presentations, and several special events, according to a Tuesday announcement.

“As you have come to expect, our season is full of emotion, discovery, and beauty, brought to you by the dedicated and passionate musicians of your Quad City Symphony Orchestra,” QCSO Music Director Mark Russell Smith said in the release. “Our Masterworks Season invites you to revisit long-time favorites, explore more recent works by Jessie Montgomery, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, and Michael Abels, and experience the premieres of two commissions by Jacob Bancks and Angel Lam.

Mark Russell Smith, the QCSO’s conductor and music director, is pictured in March 2022.

“We are pleased to welcome back beloved soloists including cellist Tommy Mesa and vocalists Sarah Shafer and Nathaniel Sullivan, introduce you to piano virtuoso Michelle Cann and clarinetist Ricardo Morales, and showcase the spectacular talent among our orchestra with featured solos from many of our principal players,” Smith said.

“We are excited to continue the treasured traditions of Quad City Bank & Trust Riverfront Pops with a celebration of the music of Journey, the Harry Potter Film Concert Series with the sixth installment, and two performances of Holiday Brass,” said QCSO executive director Brian Baxter.

“We hope you will also join us in celebrating the start of the extended holiday season with Disney’s Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in Concert on Halloween weekend,” he added.

Pianist Emanuel Ax will perform a gala concert April 27, 2024 at the Adler.

As a huge cherry on top of the sundae of next season, pianist Emanuel Ax, a 73-year-old Ukraine native, will be the featured Gala Guest Artist on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at Davenport’s Adler Theatre.

The multi-Grammy-winning artist will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Concertos No. 25 (K. 503) and No. 20 (K. 466). The QCSO will bookend these works with Gustav Mahler’s “Blumine” and Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird: Suite.”

This will be just the second time Ax has performed in the QC. He played here in 1981 as soloist in the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 and Liszt 2nd Concerto.

Works by women

Compared to the just one Masterworks concert this season (early this month, during Women’s History Month), with three pieces penned by women, the next season will feature six works written by female composers, across three concerts (November, February and April).

The QC Symphony last October was among 30 orchestras nationwide announced as part of the League of American Orchestras’ Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program.

The April 2024 Masterworks concert will feature new works by Angel Lam (pictured) and Augustana’s Jacob Bancks.

The unprecedented national consortium ensures that new works by women composers, each commissioned by the League, will be infused in orchestra seasons to come, with multiple performances throughout the country.

The QCSO will get a new work written by Hong Kong-born Angel Lam, who won three New York Carnegie Hall commissions before the age of 29, including a cello concerto dedicated to Yo-Yo Ma and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She also wrote a classical crossover piece for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. 

Lam’s new 2024 piece will be played by four other professional ensembles besides the QC Symphony — Utah Symphony and Opera, Jacksonville Symphony, Orchestra Lumos, with the premiere conducted by Michael Stern at Kansas City Symphony next March.

QCSO Masterworks performances are held on Saturday evenings at the Adler Theatre, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport, and Sunday afternoons at Centennial Hall, Augustana College, 3703 7th Ave., Rock Island, unless otherwise noted.

2023-24 Season details

The following works are scheduled for the 2023-2024 Masterworks Season:

  • From Conflict to Courage, Oct. 7 & 8 2023 with Tommy Mesa, cello —

     SAMUEL BARBER The School for Scandal, Overture, Op. 5  


     JESSIE MONTGOMERY Divided for solo cello and orchestra

     DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5, Op. 47

  • An American Tapestry, Nov. 4 & 5 2023 with Michelle Cann, piano —

AARON COPLAND Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes 1. Buckaroo Holiday

JUDITH SHATIN Piping the Earth

AMY BEACH Symphony No.2, “Gaelic”: III. Lento con molto espressione

JOHN ADAMS Short Ride in a Fast Machine


  • Winter Wonders, Dec. 2 & 3, 2023 with Andrew Parker, oboe —

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL Alexander’s Feast Suite

JEROD IMPICHCHAACHAAHA’ TATE The Indian Spirit at Mesa Falls, from Winter Moons



  • The Stars Above & Sands Below, Feb. 3 & 4, 2024

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN The Depiction of Chaos from The Creation

MARY HOWE Stars and Sand for Orchestra


BEDŘICH SMETANA Vltava, “The Moldau” from Má Vlast

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6, Op. 68, “Pastorale”

  • The Fauré Requiem, March 2 & 3, 2024 with Sarah Shafer, soprano; Matt Baker, trumpet; Hannah Holman, cello; Nathaniel Sullivan, baritone;  Augustana Oratorio Society & Choral Artists, Jon Hurty, director –

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Excerpts from Cantata No. 51, First Cello Suite, Suite No.3, BWV 1068, and from St. Matthew Passion

GABRIEL FAURÉ Requiem, op.48

Ricardo Morales, principal clarinetist for the Philadelphia Orchestra, will play Jacob Bancks’s new clarinet concerto, which he premiered in Philly in November 2021.
  • The Force of Fate, April 6 & 7, 2024 with Ricardo Morales, clarinet –

ANGEL LAM New Work (Part of Virginia B. Toulmin Orchestral Commission Program facilitated by the League of American Orchestras)

JACOB BANCKS Clarinet Concerto (QCSO co-commission)


  • Gala Concert, April 27, 2024 with Emanuel Ax, piano


WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Piano Concerto, No. 25, K.503, and Piano Concerto, No. 20, K.466

IGOR STRAVINSKY The Firebird Suite (1919 version)

Pops, films and tix

The following concerts are in the next QCSO Pops and Film series:

  • Quad City Bank & Trust Riverfront Pops: A Symphonic Celebration of the Music of Journey, Aug. 26, 2023 in LeClaire Park, Ernesto Estigarribia, conductor, with Jeans ‘N Classics.
  • Disney’s Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in Concert, Oct. 28, 2023 at Adler Theatre, Ernesto Estigarribia, conductor.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in Concert, Nov, 18, 2023 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Adler Theatre, Ernesto Estigarribia, conductor.

Ticket sales to 2023-24 Season concerts open first to subscribers on March 29, 2023, at 9 a.m. Renewing 2022-23 QCSO subscribers will have early access to purchase Emanual Ax tickets on March 29, 2023, and a second pre-sale period will open on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, for any 2023-24 subscription purchasers. Single tickets open to the public on May 16, 2023.

Concertmaster Naha Greenholtz will be the featured soloist this weekend in the last QCSO Masterworks of the season, in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

The orchestra completes the current Masterworks season this weekend, with Sergei Prokofiev’s “evanescent and shimmering Violin Concerto No. 1, featuring a dazzling and soaring performance from QCSO concertmaster Naha Greenholtz,” according to a QCSO release. Gustav’s Mahler’s programmatic first symphony, “Titan,” will “lead us through a hero’s lifelong battle and ultimate triumph over fate,” the symphony says.

The April concerts are Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 2 at 2 p.m., with tickets starting at $18 for adults and $10 for students. QCSO tickets are available at the box office at 327 Brady St., Davenport. You can also call the QCSO at 563-322-7276 or visit the QCSO website HERE.