Is the Peoria Symphony Orchestra flirting with you? Is the PSO enticing you, tempting you, to an exciting week of musical trysts and adventures in celebration of Valentine’s Day? The answer is a definite, but discreet, yes! It’s a whole week of fun, romance, and imagination all designed for your enjoyment. And whether your celebrating an anniversary, a loving relationship, or a new “somethin’, somethin’”, this is the week for you. It’s even perfect for a first date.
So you’re planning an exquisite evening for February 14th. Let me suggest: a fantastic dinner, some great wine, wonderful conversation – and, for dessert some gelato. In this case a musical treat called Quartetto Gelato. “What’s that,” you ask? Read on …
The amazing Quartetto Gelato will perform on Saturday February 14 at 8pm in the Peoria Civic Center Theater. These four fantastic musicians are the originators of innovative concerts combining popular, Jazz and classical music. Their incredible success blazed the trail for groups like Pink Martini and Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.
A Quartetto Gelato concert is like going to a romantic Paris Cafe late at night and hearing a Gypsy Band, a Jazz Quartet, Classical Virtuosos, and a Torch Song Singer all combined – so much fun! Stereo Review wrote of their performances and recordings: “Charm, musical beauty, wit, and sophistication combine to make this classical cabaret a winner.”
If you are a devotee of public radio and television, you will remember QG winning the coveted title of NPR’s Performance Today Debut Artist of the Year several years ago. PBS broadcast their wildly successful Concert in Wine Country as well. Since then, they have toured the world, released award-winning recordings, and captivated audiences. They will be making their Peoria debut as part of their 2014-2015 North American Tour. The NPR selection committee described them as “an amazing ensemble that achieves the nearly impossible: playing salon music with real style and élan, and classical music with precision and artfulness.” This will be THE Valentine’s concert you will not want to miss. Dare I say – it will be sensual – and, despite how sweet it is, you won’t feel guilty about this dessert.
Throughout the week, virtuoso cellist Mike Block sets the stage for Quartetto Gelato’s finale with a residency that will feature a fantastic show Thursday evening February 12 at Kelleher’s. He will perform and sing and will be joined by well-known singer/songwriter Jared Bartman. As Charles Yang did last season at Kelleher’s, Mike will expand your conception of what is possible with the cello, as he attempts to connect the world’s cultures through music. If you’re a hipster, be sure to join him at Kelleher’s! If you want to hang with the hipsters, well, put on some jeans and … you know the rest.
A collaborator with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Mike visits Peoria the week before he and Silk Road perform with the New York Philharmonic. Mike has also collaborated with violinist Mark O’Connor, and contemporary artists throughout the world. During the week, Mike will visit schools, hospitals, universities, and the Central Illinois Youth Symphony for mini concerts, seminars, and masterclasses. There might even be a pop-up or two at local establishments.
On Sunday, February 15, Mike will be performing and taping an imaginative program for the PSO’s Sound Bites Series entitled “Mike Block: One Cello, One World.” Hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the “ideal musician of the 21st-century” and acclaimed by the NY times for his “vital rich-hued solo playing”, Mike’s program will be inspired by the whole world of music around us – a kaleidoscope of artistic influences. Musical selections include classical Bach Suites, world melodies and improvisations he learned with Silk Road Ensemble, American folk songs from his tours with Mark O’Connor’s Appalachia Waltz Trio, and original songs that were born with a fresh contemporary pop influence. The show will be broadcast on WTVP at a later date.
Mike Block Combines Indian Culture
and The Orange Blossom Special:
Mike Block Plays Pop/Jazz at a
Le Poisson Rouge Club in New York
Mike Block Plays Bach “Gigue”
from Celle Suite No. 1:
Tempted? I hope so. Who wouldn’t be? It’s going to be a special week in Peoria – world-class music all week and love is in the air. And, just as love can make you look at the world a little differently, these extraordinary musicians will have you enjoying life a little more exuberantly. If you are inspired to do something out of the ordinary as a result … we won’t kiss and tell. Enjoy!
George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra