QUO is the premier LGBTQ orchestra in New York City. Its mission is to provide opportunities to all adult musicians regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity to participate in an inclusive musical community. QUO promotes equality, understanding, acceptance, and respect through performances of classical and contemporary music.
QUO was founded in July 2009 as planning meetings started for NYC’s first orchestra specifically serving the LGBTQ community. Our first season kicked off with our Debut Concert on December 5, 2009, for which they began rehearsing on September 16, 2009. Since their inaugural concert our membership has grown to 60 musicians, and our collaborative effort with the Danspace Project have resulted in praise from the New York Times.
After a successful opening concert series at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea, Queer Urban Orchestra (QUO) will present two new concerts at the Queens Museum (Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Saturday, December 16th at 5pm) and at the Church of the Holy Apostles (296 9th Avenue, @28th Street, Chelsea. Sunday, December 17th at 3pm).
The concerts will include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”), and the premiere of “Ascension”, a new composition by Brooklyn-based composer Jessica DiMari. QUO will also present some holiday favorites, including music by Leroy Anderson and selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” Suite.
The first concert at the Queens Museum is free and open to the general public. Tickets for the second concert at the Church of the Holy Apostles are available at http://www.queerurbanorchestra.org/ ($20 advance tickets, $25 at the door).
About “We Are One”, the Queer Urban Orchestra 2017-2018 Season
QUO’s 2017-2018 “We Are One” season honors the connections that we make with our fellow humans. Unifying different countries, cultures and lifestyles, it is a reminder to proactively connect with each other and to live life with joy and respect for one another, regardless of apparent differences.
In the face of current events worldwide, and sparked by Leonard Bernstein’s vision, one of QUO’s members biggest inspirations, our musicians strive to “make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before”.
“We are One” features gorgeous music by talented female composers at each and every concert. The season started by honoring a very inspiring transgender composer from Argentina, Calenna Garbä on November 4th and 5th. The season will also feature the music of many other powerful women: Jessica DiMari (Brooklyn Composer), Florence Price (one of the first known African-American woman composers), Augusta Holmès (French composer of Irish descent), Elizabeth Lain (an up and-coming queer composer from Seattle), and Joan Tower (Grammy-winning American composer).
“We are One” boasts inspiring guests, like the fabulous Linsday Deutsch who will come back and present an electrifying piece for violin and orchestra on music of the Beatles (on June 16th, for our annual Gay-La). QUO will also premiere a powerful new commision by composer (and QUO’s member) Ron Nahass.
“We are all the same. We are all connected. And, we are all striving to find our version of happiness on this Earth. Recent events could contribute to making us believe that we are divided, but at QUO, we choose differently. We choose to respond with the unifying and uplifting power of Music in a joined experience filled with joy, beauty and love. NOW is our time to be strong TOGETHER.” –Julie Desbordes, QUO Artistic Director
About Julie Desbordes, QUO Artistic Director
Originally from Limoges, France, Julie Desbordes is a fast-rising conductor known for her engaging style, energetic interpretations and emotional communication with her musicians and audiences. Her recent international appearances as a guest conductor include concerts in Venezuela, Canada, Hong Kong and Macau.
Ms. Desbordes has a special passion for educational outreach and is known for creating interesting programs that bring a wider and more diverse audience into concert halls. She served for many years as Site Director and Orchestra Director for New York’s The Harmony Program (El Sistema USA), and in this capacity was named “New Yorker of The Week” by Columbia University. She was one of two finalists for the Directorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s El Sistema Youth Orchestra program (YOLA), and has been a featured guest at El Sistema programs nationwide, most recently in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Hawaii, and Connecticut.
She is featured in a documentary about El Sistema USA produced by Jamie Bernstein (daughter of Leonard Bernstein) entitled “Crescendo! The Power of Music”, released on Netflix in 2015, and has been noted in El Sistema pieces by PBS, ABC and CBS.
Ms. Desbordes’ love for music began from the moment she picked up the cornet at age 8 in her native France. Soon after, she was identified as a talent with the baton as well, leading to her winning conducting prizes including 1st Prize, 2nd named at the French National Conducting Competition in Paris (DADSM). She was named Co-Director of the Harmonie Municipale de Limoges at the age of 21.
She holds multiple degrees in both conducting and trumpet from three different Music Conservatoires: Limoges, Bordeaux, and Montreal. Her conducting teachers include Raffi Armenian and Gustav Meier. In parallel of her professional commitments, she is now completing a Doctorate in Orchestral Conducting at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, in the class of Marin Alsop and Joseph Young.
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