Symphonies of Iowa

Sundays at 4 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m. on FM Classical (alternates with Classical 24)

Every week, Symphonies of Iowa showcases Iowa's leading orchestras in concert. You'll hear a mix of familiar masterpieces and new works, of world-renowned soloists and Iowa's best composers and musicians. Join us Sundays at 4 PM or Monday at 7 PM.

NOTE: During summer we will broadcast Symphonies of Iowa Monday evenings at 7 pm. We will resume our Sunday and Monday broadcast schedule this fall.

Click here for a simple chronological list of this season's concerts.

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The Dubuque Symphony Orchestra’s “Epic Eroica” concert opens with the overture from Mozart’s The Impressario, featuring students from the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra in a side-by-side performance. Violinist Katie Wolf and cellist Anthony Arnone, professors at the University of Iowa, join the orchestra for the Brahms Concerto for Violin and Violoncello in A minor, Op. 102. The concert concludes with Beethoven’s grand and dramatic “Eroica” symphony.


William Intriligator, conductor

Christine Turner

The wcfsymphony’s “Rediscover” concert features composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain. He performs his very own Woodbox Violin Concerto, an eclectic piece combining a wide array of styles, as well as presents a world premiere of his Young Person’s GPS for Our Orchestra: Themes and Variations on Haitian Folk Songs. A modern twist on Benjamin Britten’s famous Guide, the piece explores the colors of the orchestra using two Haitian folk songs for its themes. 

The Des Moines Symphony’s “Giunta Conducts Chopin, Shostakovich, and Les Préludes” concert begins with Liszt’s most popular symphonic poem, Les Préludes. Eighteen-year-old Chinese pianist Jia Cheng Xiong then joins the orchestra for Chopin’s virtuosic Second Piano Concerto

He has won numerous awards, performed with several orchestras globally, has been featured on NPR’s From the Top, and currently studies piano at the Curtis Institute of Music. The concert closes with Shostakovich’s contemplative Symphony No. 6.

Uriel Tsachor

Join Iowa Public Radio on Sunday, April 19 at 4:00 p.m. and Monday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. for Orchestra Iowa’s “Beethoven and the Bard” concert. The program opens with a famous overture by Mendelssohn, his A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written at the age of seventeen. 

Join the wcfsymphony as they explore the mystery of Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony" in their "Imagine" concert. Left incomplete after only two movements, Schubert's work is considered one of the first Romantic symphonies because of its expressive melodies. The wcfsymphony combines the symphony with Schubert’s sketch for a third movement, a Scherzo, finished by Brian Newbold. The concert closes with Schubert’s Entr’acte No.

Nick Schumacher

We hope you'll take the time to listen to this special interview and performance by acclaimed composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain recorded in Studio One. Roumain has debuted new works at Carnegie Hall and has been commissioned by the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, and more. His works have been performed by orchestras around the world and he has been an artist-in-residence at numerous institutions.

Orchestra Iowa (Facebook page)

The Orchestra Iowa Chamber Players bring small ensemble music to life this week with their “Madness & Musings” concert. The concert opens with Corelli’s “La Folia” sonata, featuring Orchestra Iowa concertmaster candidate Beth Larson on violin, principal cellist Carey Bostian, and principal keyboardist Miko Kominami on harpsichord. 

Robert Edward Thies

World-renowned Mexican-born conductor Jorge Mester takes the helm of the Des Moines Symphony in this special concert broadcast. Mester is the winner of the Ditson Conductor’s Award and is recognized for his leadership of the Aspen Music Festival. The concert opens with Debussy’s La Mer, one of Mester’s signature pieces. 

Jeremy Sawatzky

Orchestra Iowa’s “Old World Wonders” concert opens with Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin. Originally written as a suite for piano, Ravel later orchestrated Nos. 1, 3, 5, and 4 to create his symphonic version. Internationally acclaimed cellist Joshua Roman joins the orchestra for Schumann’s lyrical and enigmatic Cello Concerto

Randy Darst

The wcfsymphony journeys from their typical venue in the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center to Waterloo’s historic Brown Derby for a special performance of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. Presented in its chamber arrangement, Jason Weinberger conducts the orchestra and performs the vocal solo from the fourth movement on clarinet. 

In their fifth collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Des Moines Symphony takes a look “Beyond the Score” of Beethoven’s dramatic Symphony No. 5

Our broadcast features the riveting second half performance of the piece, plus a recording of Beethoven’s First Symphony from the Des Moines Symphony’s 2003 Beethoven one to nine recording project. Tune in Sunday, March 8 at 4 p.m. and Monday, March 9 at 7 p.m. on Iowa Public Radio Classical.


Maestro Joseph Giunta, conductor

Orchestra Iowa

Featured members of Orchestra Iowa perform chamber pieces on this week’s Symphonies of Iowa broadcast. The concert opens with Prokofiev’s lyrical Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 56 featuring Madeline Capistran and Anita Tucker. 

Francaix’s contrastingly witty and sweet Quartet for English Horn, Violin, Viola, and Cello, with Jillian Camwell on English Horn, Capistran again on the violin, Lisa Ponton on the viola, and Carey Bostian on Cello. The concert concludes with Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3 “Rasumovsky.”

Roland Ferrie / UNI University Relations

Instead of disclosing their program in advance, the wcfsymphony shook things up in their “Surprise” concert by presenting a blank program and revealing their musical selections from the stage. The opening work by Ted Hearne was described as a “rambunctious piece…based entirely on a surprise musical trick,” later revealed as his Erasure Scherzo


This week on Symphonies of Iowa, the Des Moines Symphony presents their “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons”all-Italian concert. Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino kicks off the concert with a powerful flourish. 

Chad Johnston

This week's Symphonies of Iowa broadcast features Orchestra Iowa’s “Symphonie Fantastique” concert. The concert opens with Schumann’s Manfred Overture, the incidental music to the poem Manfred by Lord Byron. 

Noah Henscheid

The wcfsymphony shares their Sounds American Festival with an exciting concert featuring a wide array of American musical styles. The program begins with Adam Schoenberg’s American Symphony, which was inspired by the world’s hope for a brighter future during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. 

Julia Wesely

Join Iowa Public Radio and the Des Moines Symphony in kicking off their 2015 broadcast season of Symphonies of Iowa with the DMSO’s “Masterworks 1: Season Debut—The Firebird” concert. 

Did you miss out on one of this season's Symphonies of Iowa broadcasts, or want to listen to that one great piece again? Tune in to Iowa Public Radio Classical on Mondays at 7 p.m. to hear Iowa’s symphonies performing spectacular concerts with a diverse repertoire in the Symphonies of Iowa encore series. Check IPR’s Symphonies of Iowa page each week to read an overview of that week’s concert.

Iowa Public Radio is pleased to present the final Symphonies of Iowa broadcast for 2014. The encore broadcast will feature the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks 7: Season Finale – Brahms, Grosvenor & Afternoon of a Faun performance. This statewide broadcast can be heard Monday, December 8 at 7 p.m.  Tune in to hear The Des Moines Symphony’s triumphant final concert of their 2013-2014 season. The program opens with Roman Carnival Overture.

Earlier this year I posted about "Iowa orchestras making music about Iowa " - and one work discussed was Rock Island Line by Jacob Bancks, commissioned and premiered by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and broadcast on IPR's Symphonies of Iowa. Bancks, who teaches at Augustana College, told me that

Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa showcases an encore broadcast of the wcfsymphony’s “Spaces: Mahler 1 and World Premiere” concert this week. The program, which includes two Canzon by Gabrieli and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 also features the world premiere of a new work by composer Brooke Joyce called Une Cité Moderne. Brooke currently serves as the Composer-in-Residence at Luther College and is the newly elected president of the Iowa Composers Forum.

Sarah Shatz

To become a Van Cliburn gold medalist, what kind of piano should you learn on? Steinway? Yamaha? Jon Nakamatsu’s international career began on the keys of a humble toy organ. Concerned that at the age of four he would never be serious about playing the piano, Jon’s parents did not want to invest in an expensive instrument he would not use. Jon steps up to perform one of the most challenging pieces in the piano repertoire with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.

Join us Monday at 7 PM to hear the Quad City Symphony in Beethoven, Brahms, and ... Bancks. In March, the orchestra premiered a work by local composer Jacob Bancks specifically about the Quad Cities.

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Avery Fisher Career Grant Winner, violinist Bella Hristova, soloed with the Des Moines Symphony in April of this year. She performed Beethoven’s magnificent Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61.

Bella is the guest artist on this week’s edition of Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa series featuring the Des Moines Symphony’s Giunta Conducts Beethoven: Eroica concert.

Join us tonight at 7PM to hear the wcfsymphony premiere a work by Decorah-based composer Brooke Joyce and perform Mahler's First Symphony. Below are my impressions of the April concert (which I posted here on April 9th) - tune in and see what YOU think!

Orchestra Iowa

The 2008 Cedar Rapids flood literally capsized the Paramount Theatre's Wurlitzer organ, leaving it badly damaged. But a coalition restored the historic instrument to its full glory, and Orchestra Iowa unveiled it this March in a triumphant concert that you can hear rebroadcast tonight at 7PM on IPR Classical.

Samantha West

Violist Nadia Sirota - a leading advocate of new music, and former student of Jason Weinberger - recently joined the WCFSymphony to perform "beautiful music of a higher order than anything else you will hear this year" - works written for her by Judd Greenstein and Daniel Bjarnson. Then Weinberger led the orchestra in the sumptuous (but violin-free) Serenade no. 2 of Brahms. Hear the concert on Symphonies of Iowa, Sunday at 12 noon or Monday at 7 PM on IPR Classical. 


Orchestra Iowa

Mozart was 23 when he wrote a concerto so rich that not even he would ever surpass it. It's for Violin and Viola (K. 364) and when Orchestra Iowa performed the work recently,  instead of bringing in touring soloists, they shined the spotlight on their own  first violinist Luke Witchger and principal violist Lisa Ponton.  They were amazing:

Just an ordinary weekend in Iowa: Sure, if you were in London you could hear the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's Beethoven and Bruckner, and next weekend, see Sadler's Wells dance a Stravinsky double-bill. But think of the traffic and the cost of living! Meanwhile, here in Iowa? This month's Iowa Arts Showcase, which you can hear Saturday at 11 or 5, gives some in-depth background, but meanwhile  - check it out: