When a musician chooses to leave an orchestra, it’s a bittersweet moment. Generally, musicians leave through retirement and in that case it’s a cause for celebration of their years of service. The other situation is that a musician has secured a new position that makes it no longer possible for them to perform.  This fall the QCSO bid farewell to David Gier, our principal trombone of 17 years.  David was appointed Dean of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. This highly sought-after position leads one of the largest collegiate schools of music, theatre, and dance in the United States. The QCSO is extremely proud of David, and we wish him all the best in his new role.

On September 24th, the QCSO had an audition to fill the position of Principal Trombone.  The standard way for an orchestra to fill a position is through a blind audition. Candidates perform a set of excerpts from the orchestral repertoire for a committee of QCSO musicians and Music Director, Mark Russell Smith.  The candidate performs on stage, while the committee sits behind a black curtain to maintain anonymity. For this particular audition, 17 highly qualified candidates performed for the opportunity to become principal trombone of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.

After several rounds of playing to narrow down the candidate pool, Michael Cox was named the winner of the position. Michael is a native of Skokie, Illinois, holds degrees in trombone performance from the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, MA) and Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).  In addition to his collegiate study, Michael has also attended Music Academy of the West and the Brevard Music Festival. His major teachers have been Toby Oft (Boston Symphony) and Michael Mulcahy (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and he has performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Bangor Symphony, and the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra.  Michael is also an alumnus of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras program.

“His semi-final round was exceptional. Not only did he perform the most technical excerpts with conviction, but he listened and reacted well to feedback from the committee in the final round. Michael is an incredibly talented trombonist, and I cannot wait to share the stage with him for what is bound to be an exciting brass-filled season with the QCSO.” says Matthew Onstad, QCSO principal trumpet.

Welcome to the QCSO Michael!


Go Behind the Scenes of an Audition with this short video
& take a look at the Principal Trombone Audition Packet.


Masterworks I: French Moderns
October 6, 2018 | 8:00 p.m.
Adler Theatre
136 East 3rd Street | Davenport, IA

October 7, 2018 | 2:00 p.m.
Centennial Hall
3703 7th Avenue | Rock Island, IL

Purchase Tickets | $17-$64 Adults | $10-$33 Students


Article by
Marc Zyla
Director of Education & Community Engagement, Orchestra Personnel Manager

Funding for the QCSO website provided by the Scott County Regional Authority