A robust tradition of the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYE) is the chance to perform with a professional orchestra. On December 2nd, six Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) members auditioned to win one of two Concerto Competition Prizes determined by an audition committee consisting of members of the professional music community in Northwest Illinois and Eastern Iowa. The YSO Prize winner is awarded the opportunity to play their concerto at the Winter Festival Concert on February 24, 2019, accompanied by YSO. The Grand Prize winner will perform their concerto with the QCSO at the QCSO/QCSYE Side-by-Side Concert on April 28, 2019.
The YSO prize winner is violinist Annie Warner. Warner has been playing the violin for eight years, and she studies with Mrs. Dawn Ohmes. This is her fifth year in YSO and third year in the position of concertmaster. She lives in Bettendorf and is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School. Warner has participated in the Iowa AllState Music Festival for four years and performed at solo and ensemble last year receiving a Division I rating and the Best in Center Award. She has participated in her high school pit orchestra for two years and has served as concertmaster for the PVHS orchestra for the past three years. Annie also performs in the PVHS Senior Quartet, which performs around the community. When she is not practicing or performing, Warner teaches violin lessons. Additionally, she has studied piano for ten years and currently teaches piano as well. Annie plans to study violin in college and continually pursue her passion for music.
The winner of the Grand Prize is oboist Axel Ferguson. Ferguson is the principal oboist of the YSO which he has been a member of for three years. He attends Moline High School where he plays oboe in the Symphonic Band and Symphonic Orchestra. He also participates in the Moline High School Marching Band as a percussionist. He has participated in ILMEA District band (2016, 2018), ILMEA District orchestra (2017), and honors bands, such as the Augustana Honors Band and the University of Iowa Honors Band. In early 2018, he won the second place prize in the University of Illinois’s Music FAA competition and has been selected to play in the Illinois All-State band this year. In his free time, he enjoys learning other instruments, composing, and songwriting.
Warner will be performing Henri Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 5 in A minor accompanied by the YSO on Sunday, February 24 during the QCSYE Winter Festival Concert at 3:00 PM in Centennial Hall. Ferguson will perform La Favorita by Antonio Pasculli on the QCSO/QCSYE Side-by-Side Concert, Sunday, April 28 at 3:00 p.m. in the Adler Theatre, accompanied by the QCSO and YSO.
The Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYE) program consists of five performance groups (four youth orchestras and a youth choir) for students in grades two through twelve. Under the direction of the outstanding QCSYE conducting staff, members have the opportunity to perform great orchestral and choral repertoire with the most talented young musicians in the area and learn from the mentorship of professional musicians from throughout the region. Ensemble members come from the greater Quad Cities, as well as other communities in southeast Iowa and northwest Illinois.