Queens Symphony Orchestra Kicks Off Family Concerts with WHO STOLE THE MONA LISA? Today

Queens Symphony Orchestra Kicks Off Family Concerts with WHO STOLE THE MONA LISA? Today

For sixty years since its inception, the Queens Symphony Orchestra (QSO) has been delighting local audiences with performances of symphonic music. Beginning in October, QSO will offer a family concert series open to all, and appropriate for all ages, at the LeFrak Concert Hall, located in Flushing on the campus of Queens College.

Conceived by Constantine Kitsopoulos, QSO's music director and conductor, the family concerts commence today, October 6, with a 3pm performance entitled "Who Stole the Mona Lisa?" The performance features Kitsopoulos conducting a performance of Stravinsky's suite "The Firebird," as an accompaniment to the New York premiere of visually fascinating animated film by By Micah Chambers-Goldberg about Pablo Picasso's suspected role in an infamous 1911 art heist. Subsequent performances in the series will include a holiday-themed program, and performances of classics such as The Frog Prince and Peter & the Wolf.

"Performances like these are so important," says Kitsopoulos. "To reach people of all ages is very fulfilling to us as artists. It's always satisfying to see the eyes of children and parents light up, and to see them enjoying the fine arts together as families."

Though the family series is new, QSO has a history of bringing the arts to the Queens population. The orchestra offers free summer concerts in local public parks and various other community-based locations, and the Music on the Move! Chamber Series brings free performances by smaller ensembles to venues such as libraries, schools and cultural, senior and community centers. QSO has also been presenting concerts for K-8 students for 40 years, in addition to sponsoring a Young Soloist Competition and offering performances and workshops for schools.

"Teaching people in the community about the wonderful world of symphonic music enhances their quality of life," continues Kitsopoulos. "For instance, a child who learns to make or play a musical instrument -- or simply to appreciate a new kind of music -- does better with language and math skills and enjoys improved self-esteem."

The family series represents QSO's first venture into partnership programming. The orchestra has partnered with the Kupferberg Center for the Performing Arts, a part of Queens College where QSO currently makes its home, to create and promote this series of concerts for family audiences. The Kupferberg Center and QSO also partner to offer a range of educational opportunities for students and neighbors, and member-supporters of each organization enjoy discounts and benefits from the partner group.

While QSO has remained a "hidden gem" of Queens for most of its history, the organization continues to make steps toward raising its profile. The increased attention is well deserved considering the high level of musicianship, and not least because of its conductor's remarkable career.