One of the most accomplished pianists in the world will perform with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) in a special concert in 2024.
World-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, a 73-year-old Ukraine native, will be the featured Gala Guest Artist during the upcoming season 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.
A ticketed dessert reception with an opportunity to meet Emanuel Ax at the 2024 date will immediately follow the concert in the Gold Room at the Hotel Blackhawk.
“It is an honor and privilege for me and for the musicians of the QCSO to collaborate with Emanuel Ax. He is an extraordinary artist and person who shares our passion for bringing great masterworks to life,” QCSO music director and conductor Mark Russell Smith said in a Tuesday orchestra release provided exclusively to Local 4 News.
“Gala concerts such as these bring a special energy and focus to all of us, and I look forward to sharing the performance with the Quad Cities,” Smith said. “It will be a highlight in the life of our musical community.”
Glittering guest artists have been sprinkled throughout the QCSO seasons in this century. Violinist Midori did a spring 2011 residency in the Quad Cities, culminating in an April 2011 concert with the orchestra.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma was featured in the QCSO 100th season in May 2015, violinist Joshua Bell soloed with the orchestra in May 2018, and “Hamilton” co-star Renee Elise Goldsberry sang with the QCSO at LeClaire Park in May 2021.
“Bringing Mr. Ax, one of the world’s greatest classical pianists, to the Quad Cities in 2024 for this momentous concert represents a tremendous statement about the vitality of our community’s arts scene,” QCSO executive director Brian Baxter said Tuesday.
“This is only his second performance with the QCSO, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for him to share his incredible artistry in collaboration with our orchestra for the Quad Cities community,” he said.
The QCSO will announce the remainder of their 2023-24 Season on March 29, 2023.
Ticket prices TBA
Prices for the Ax concert have not been determined, but 2022-23 QCSO subscribers will have early access to purchase tickets on March 29, 2023. A second pre-sale period will open on April 26, 2023, for anyone purchasing a subscription to the QCSO’s 2023-24 season.
Single tickets will open for public sale on May 16, 2023. Those interested in the first early access period can still become a 2022-23 Subscriber by purchasing a Pick-3 Subscription by Feb. 5, 2023. This subscription includes tickets to the QCSO’s three remaining Masterworks Concerts:
• Masterworks IV: Bella & Brahms on Feb. 4 & 5, 2023
• Masterworks V: Fierce Females on March 4 & 5, 2023
• Masterworks VI: Mahler Symphony No. 1 on April 1 & 2, 2023
Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased at the QCSO website, by phone at 563-322-7276, or in person at the QCSO Box Office (open Tuesdays & Thursdays 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) at 327 Brady Street in Davenport.
An award-winning career
Born to Polish parents in what is today Lviv, Ukraine, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. He made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, according to the QCSO release.
In 1975, Ax won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize. In fall 2021, he resumed a post-COVID touring schedule that included concerts with the Colorado, Pacific, Cincinnati, and Houston symphonies as well as Minnesota, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Cleveland orchestras.
His 2022-23 season includes a tour with Itzhak Perlman “and Friends” and a continuation of the “Beethoven For 3” touring and recording project with partners Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma.
Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987 and following the success of the Brahms Trios with Kavakos and Ma, the trio launched an ambitious, multi-year project to record all the Beethoven Trios and Symphonies arranged for trio of which the first two discs have recently been released.
He has received Grammy Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. Ax has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano.
In the 2004-05 season, Ax contributed to an International Emmy-winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2013, his recording “Variations” received the Echo Klassik Award for Solo Recording of the Year (19th Century Music/Piano).
Ax is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, New England Conservatory of Music, Yale University, and Columbia University. For more information, visit the pianist’s website.