Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s Family Concert Offers Worlds of Wonder

Carl-Topilow-2 The Masterworks VI: Postcards concert series of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) enabled you to tour classical history, sampling music from some of the world’s top cultural hubs. Now the QCSO is taking that concept one step beyond with Family Concert: A Space Odyssey, an overview of imaginative music that will take you to outer space, as well as delightful fantasy realms.

Family Concert: A Space Odyssey, will be held at 2:30 p.m., April 28, at the Adler Theatre, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA. For this special event, the QCSO will be led by guest conductor Carl Topilow, who personally picked the selections. “It’s all really great music,” he said. “Each piece is dynamic, a true masterpiece.”

At the Family Concert, you can explore worlds of wonder with well-known music from Star Wars, The Jetsons, Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and much more. “Our Family Concert offers a wide range of science-fiction and fantasy works,” said Brian Baxter, Executive Director of the QCSO. “It’s a veritable mix-tape of imaginative hits.”

For this performance, a special collection will be on display in the lobby of the Adler Theatre. This collection, courtesy of Chris Bornhoeft, will feature replicas of Star Wars costumes and other exciting movie memorabilia.

The program for the concert features the following robust line-up:

A Salute to NASA

In this section of the concert, many of the selections will be accompanied by high-definition NASA videos. “NASA has provided some thrilling video which pairs well with the energy of the music, offering a multi-faceted sensory experience,” said Baxter.

  • Also Sprach Zarathustra: Introduction, composed by Richard Strauss, featured in Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, composed by Carl Orff, featured in many films and TV shows, including Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.
  • The Mission, composed by John Williams, featured on NBC News.
  • The Flintstones Meet the Jetsons, arranged by Robert Wendel.
  • Mars from The Planets, composed by Gustav Holst for large orchestras.
  • Apollo 13, composed by James Horner, from the movie of the same name.
  • Across the Stars from Attack of the Clones, composed by John Williams.
  • Blast Off!, composed by Daniel Dorff, offers a musical travelog of a trip to outer space, with narration from Tahera Rahman of WHBF News.


This section is composed of selections from popular films.

  • Suite from ET, composed by John Williams.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, composed by John Williams.
  • Star Trek Through the Ages, arranged by Calvin Custer.
  • Rey’s Theme from The Force Awakens, composed by John Williams.
  • Suite from Hook, composed by John Williams.
  • Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back, composed by John Williams.
  • Theme from Superman, composed by John Williams.

About Guest Conductor Carl Topilow

Carl Topilow is renowned worldwide as a multi-talented virtuoso, equally at home with classical and popular music as a conductor or instrumentalist. In addition to his busy conducting schedule, he pursues his passion for performing as a clarinetist.

“Carl is a dynamic conductor who has long been active on both the pop and orchestra scenes,” Baxter said. “He has a great sense of humor and always connects with his audiences.”

Topilow is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, with a degree in clarinet performance and a masters degree in music education. As a guest conductor, he has appeared in 37 states across America, and with orchestras in many countries worldwide, including Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

He is the founder of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, currently in its 22nd season. He is also conductor and director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, as well as music director and conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra.

It was through the National Repertory Orchestra that Carl became a colleague of Mark Russell Smith, Music Director and Conductor of the QCSO. “At the time, Mark was the assistant conductor for a summer festival,” Topilow said.

Topilow worked with the NASA to select the video scenes that will be shown during several of the pieces. “A video of the actual planet Mars will accompany Gustav Holst’s Mars,” he said.

He noted that the program contains many pieces composed by John Williams. “He is beyond brilliant – a top composer of imaginative music,” he said.

He added that the Fantasy half of the program will contain some surprises, but he will keep those secret until the performance.

Family Concert: A Space Odyssey is sponsored by John Deere and the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation.

Concert tickets are available at the QCSO box office at 327 Brady St., Davenport. Tickets start at $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, call the QCSO at (563) 322-7276 or visit www.qcso.org.

Author: Kevin Walker

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