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.

In fact, Kitsopoulos will be making his debut with the New York Philharmonic this September 17th and 18th at Avery Fisher Hall. The program, entitled Hitchcock!, is a part of "The Art of the Score" series of concerts and talks, a major component of the "Film Week at the Philharmonic" program. "The Art of the Score" also includes a discussion panel hosted by Alec Baldwin, a major force behind the programming. Kitsopoulos will conduct the Philharmonic performing selections from six Hitchcock-directed classics, including North by Northwest, Vertigo and Dial M for Murder.

A schedule and programming details for the family series follows. Programming is still subject to change.

Queens Symphony Orchestra, Family Concerts:

Who Stole the Mona Lisa?

October 6, 2013 | 3:00 PM LeFrak Concert Hall Did Picasso really steal the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris? See the New York premiere of this delightful animated film by Micah Chambers-Goldberg accompanied by Stravinsky's colorful suite from "The Firebird."

Holidays Around the World

December 15, 2013 | 3:00 PM LeFrak Concert Hall The Queens Symphony celebrates winter holiday traditions from all over the world. No matter where your family comes from, we've got something for you.

The Frog Prince & Peter and the Wolf

February 9, 2014 | 3:00 PM LeFrak Concert Hall Come and hear Victoria Bond's new score for the wonderful tale of The Frog Prince paired with Prokofiev's classic Peter and the Wolf

Ballerina Swan

April 6, 2014 | 3:00 PM LeFrak Concert Hall

The Queens Symphony Orchestra and Making Books Sing will bring words to life at the musical performance of Ballerina Swan, using dance, theatre, and puppetry to tell the story of Sophie, a swan with dreams of becoming a ballerina. Based on the children's book by former New York City Ballet dancer, Allegra Kent, and featuring the music of Tchaikovsky and Chopin, Ballerina Swan is an imaginative and engaging performance that children ages 4- 8 will adore.

Tickets: Adults $20.00 | Kids 13 and Under $10.00 | Adults 65 and Up $10.00 Tickets can be purchased online at www.kupferbergcenter.org, by phone at 718-793-8080, or in person at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts Box Office located in Colden Auditorium. Handling fees may apply. Colden Auditorium and LeFrak Concert Hall are located on the campus of Queens College at the intersection of Reeves Avenue and the Horace Harding Expressway and are easily accessible off Exit 24 of the LIE.

Pictured: An image of "the Firebird" from Who Stole the Mona Lisa?, by Micah Chambers-Goldberg.