Its founding in 1915 places the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) among the twenty longest-established, continuously operating orchestral associations in the United States. The QCSO provides community service and programs to a market of more than 450,000 residents of eastern Iowa and western Illinois, staging performances in both Iowa and Illinois. Programming includes dozens of education programs delivered to over 24,000 area students.
Led by eleven music directors during its 104-year history, the orchestra has demonstrated steady artistic growth measured by the depth of the repertoire performed. Iowa and Illinois subscribers to QCSO performances are residents of more than 70 cities and towns.
Led by Music Director Mark Russell Smith, the orchestra consists of top level musicians from the Quad Cities and across the region. It is considered among the highest level regional orchestras of its size. Each season, the QCSO performs approximately 20 times, presenting six Masterworks series concerts, four Pops series concerts including Riverfront Pops, Films in Concert, and the Family Concert, as well as other special events. In addition, the Signature Series, led by QCSO Concertmaster Naha Greenholtz, presents chamber music ensembles in a versatile and intimate setting that features select members of the QCSO and visiting artists from across the nation.
In 1950, the QCSO founded the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra and since has added four additional training ensembles (The Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Youth String Ensemble, Prelude Strings, and Youth Choir) and serves approximately 270 students each year.