Saturday, 7 March 2015

Quad City Symphony Orchestra: 100 Years, 100 Cellos

"PASSION," Creative work by Amy S. Nielsen.
The 2014-15 season marks the 100th Anniversary of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. To cap off their historic season which opened with an appearance by pianist AndrĂ© Watts and ends with a performance of Beethoven’s glorious Symphony #9 "Ode to Joy”, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma will give a one-night-only performance with the QCSO on May 14, 2015. 

In recognition of his appearance and our auspicious season and to benefit the mission of the QCSO, Volunteers for Symphony is launching "100 Years, 100 Cellos”, a fantastic collaboration of the art world and the music world that will place 100 painted (or decorated) cellos around the Quad Cities in the spring culminating with a ticketed event on May 29, 2015 (our actual anniversary) at the Figge Art Museum. At this event, the ticketed public will be able to see a display of all 100 cellos. Previous to that, at a pre-concert dinner before Yo-Yo Ma's appearance, attendees will be able to bid on 10 cellos selected for live auction.The symphony ordered 100 unfinished full-size cellos, which arrived Friday, February 6, 2015. 

The fundraising goal is to net $100,000 in support of QCSO music education programs. So many children benefit from the music we provide at no cost to the schools. These programs include School Engagement Tours and classroom visits, Symphony Day, Instruments for Kids and Students@Symphony. We also provide opportunities for young performers in our five orchestral training and performance ensembles (the QCSYEs).

I was fortunate enough to be included as a participating artist for this event. My inspiration for the decoration of this cello came directly from the sponsor of the cello, Maestro Mark Russell Smith, whose favorite color is red and who shares with me a love of abstract expressionism.  The surface of the cello became a canvas for me.  

It is passionately bright and shiny like instruments in the QCSO. I watched the first cello intently at a recent performance. As the cello moved with the music, the lights above hit it. The lights made it dance with the music. IDEA: Illuminate my red cello with shapes of real gold that connect the natural highlights flowing over and shaping this beautiful instrument. Variegated Red Leaf, 23K Deep Gold Leaf, 18K Lemon Gold Leaf and Silver Leaf shapes flow over and around the red cello in a syncopated pattern, illuminating, glowing, making it come alive. This piece will delight, as it changes colors and appearance in any light. Special thanks to Bruce Wood, Jeff Young, & Cleve Ray.