Yes, he’s back!

Composer Peter Hamlin will return as a guest co-host during IPR’s Classical fund drive this Friday, September 25th between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Uriel Tsachor

Join Iowa Public Radio on  Monday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. for an encore of 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. 

Courtesy of DMMO

The Des Moines Metro Opera heralds in the return of Opera in October with performances from their 43rd Festival Season. The first broadcast features Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio on Saturday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 4 at 4:00 p.m.

The changing color of the leaves can only mean one thing: October has arrived, and with it comes Iowa Public Radio’s Opera in October broadcast series! For five weeks, listeners can tune in to check out Iowa opera productions from the Des Moines Metro Opera, Simpson College Opera, and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.

Marco Borggreve

Join us on Wednesdays at 7PM to hear concerts from the latest Salzburg Festival. Mozart's hometown focuses, naturally, on the music of its great native son, though in coming weeks we'll also hear other great Austrians, but for the opener, it's all Mozart - and what a program! It begins with the ballet from one of his great operas, Idomeneo; then comes what some people regard as his greatest piano concerto, No. 17 in G major (it's almost an opera for instruments).

Join the wcfsymphony as they explore the mystery of Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony" in an encore broadcast of 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. 1 from Rosamunde, which many consider was originally intended as the final movement of the enigmatic symphony.

Orchestra Iowa (Facebook page)

The Orchestra Iowa Chamber Players bring small ensemble music to life this week's encore broadcast 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. 

A French woman in 19th-century France equaled her male peers in composing music. What can we learn from her story about how to close the gender gap today?

Scott Murphy

Live from the front lawn of Brucemore in Cedar Rapids, IPR's Performance Iowa was excited to bring you Orchestra Iowa's Brucemorechestra! 1812 and More concert on Saturday, September 12, at 7:00 PM.

This annual family tradition featured one of the most famous works of all time - Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. The program also included Dvorak's iconic Symphony No. 9, From the New World, as well as Semtana's The Moldau from Ma Vlast, and the Men of Harlech march, arranged by music director Timothy Hankewich. 

Robert Edward Thies

World-renowned Mexican-born conductor Jorge Mester takes the helm of the Des Moines Symphony in this encore 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.

Christian Steiner

With school back in session, Iowa arts events are revving up all across the state. This month’s Iowa Arts Showcase features:

  • Two upcoming Iowa State Center events, with Iowa State Center’s Outreach Coordinator, Sara Compton, and ISU’s Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, Dr. James Rodde
  • An overview of the wcfsymphony’s 2015-2016 season with its music director and conductor, Jason Weinberger
  • The Final Thursday Reading series, with co-coordinator and UNI Associate Professor of Language and Literature, Jim O’Loughlin
  • The Red Cedar Chamber Music’s upcoming season, with founders and artistic directors, flutist Jan Boland and guitarist, John Dowdall
  • And composer, Middlebury professor, and former KUNI Public Radio and Iowa Public television host, Peter Hamlin, on his newest work commissioned by the Des Moines Symphony to commemorate the Iowa State Fair
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.

The chamber arrangement was created for Arnold Schoenberg’s musical society. This performance is the start of Weinberger’s multi-year Mahler Songs project. Tune in to Iowa Public Radio Classical on Monday, August 24 at 7 p.m. for this encore broadcast.

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 encore 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 on Monday, August 17 at 7:00 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 encore broadcast, airing on Monday, August 10 at 7 p.m. The concert opens with Prokofiev’s lyrical Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 56 featuring Madeline Capistran and Anita Tucker.

Roland Ferrie / University Relations

Instead of disclosing their program in advance, 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. 

World-renowned “master” violinist and “passionate performer” Anne Akiko Meyers then joins the orchestra for a complete performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. The concert closes with Respighi’s mighty Pines of Rome.


Maestro Joseph Giunta, conductor

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin

"Conrad Tao, November 2011" by Mingfang Ting, from Wikipedia

Imagine a competition in which pianists don't compete - they don't even know they're being considered! That's the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, held in Kalamazoo, Michigan every two years. Between festivals, the  judges keep their ears tuned for the most exceptional talents emerging in the piano world. The judges confer, and then select the year's artists - who are notified before the Festival itself begins.

John Richard

As summer winds down, tune in for a few more arts events from around the state on Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase. The August showcase features:

  • Iowa-born composer, conductor, and flutist, Harvey Sollberger, sharing details about his involvement in and upcoming Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association at their Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.
  • Orchestra Iowa’s Music Director and Conductor, Tim Hankewich, celebrating and outlining his 10th season with Orchestra Iowa
  • Tim Schiffer, Executive Director of Davenport’s Figge Art Museum, discussing the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Figge and the 90th anniversary of the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery
  • Iowa Public Radio host and music legend Bob Dorr, talking about his career and recent award
  • The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium Director of Marketing, John Sutter, filling us in on their current visiting show called the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
  • Internationally known music director of his own New Sousa Band, Keith Brion, sharing the inside scoop on their two upcoming free concerts in Johnston and Spirit Lake.
Nicholas Carlo

Join Iowa Public Radio Classical live at noon from Cedar Falls on Thursday, July 16 for a special Performance Iowa broadcast showcasing the Rawlins Piano Trio. Comprised of violinist Eunho Kim, cellist Marie-Elaine Gagnon, and pianist Susan Keith Gray, the trio has recorded five CDs and performs regularly across the country and abroad. They specialize in standards as well as contemporary gems and are featured guests in this year’s Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival.

Chad Johnston

This week's Symphonies of Iowa encore 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.

Canadian pianist Winston Choi then joins Orchestra Iowa for Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.2, one of the most technically challenging concertos in the standard piano repertoire. The concert concludes with Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, a programmatic and revolutionary work telling the story of an imaginative artist through five distinct scenes.


Noah Henscheid

The wcfsymphony shares an encore broadcast of 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.

Photo by Nate Ryan / Minnesota Public Radio; used by permission

This May, the Minnesota Orchestra became the first US orchestra to perform in Cuba since the normalization process began. Tonight you can hear the first concert they gave at 7PM when IPR Classical airs SymphonyCast (or you can stream the concert at Minnesota Public Radio).

 For three decades,  Curt Snook shared with Iowa the music he loves, plus a trove of fascinating facts, insights, ideas, and stories. Curt reached retirement on Tuesday, but after his last air shift stayed in the studio a little longer to chat with me (and all of us) about his life and career. What a pleasure it was!  To hear the audio, click on the arrow below.

Julia Wesely

Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa gives you one more chance to catch all of the fabulous concerts from Iowa’s 2014-2015 symphony season in its encore series. The series begins Monday, July 6 at 7:00 p.m. with the Des Moines Symphony’s “Masterworks 1: Season Debut—The Firebird” concert. 

Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

The Des Moines Symphony’s Yankee Doodle Pops concert returns to the West Terrace of the Iowa State Capitol again on Thursday, July 2 for its 22nd year. Iowa Public Radio Classical will be there broadcasting the concert live, with a pre-show hosted by IPR producers Jacqueline Halbloom and Karen Impola starting at 8:00 p.m. The event features rousing marches, as well as a mix of patriotic selections celebrating “Iowa: America’s Musical Heartland.”

Orchestra Iowa (Facebook page)

The final broadcast of the 2015 Symphonies of Iowa series begins with Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman, an opera based on the legendary accursed sea-captain, doomed to sail the seven seas until Judgment Day for his blasphemy. The overture is followed by Debussy’s Nocturnes, an impressionist work that experiments in musical color. The third movement, Sirènes, uses a wordless women’s chorus to portray the mythical Siren’s songs from the sea. 

Barney Sherman

In 2009, Michael Gilbertson - a young man from Dubuque who has become one of America's leading composers - wanted to raise funds for his alma mater, the Northeast Iowa School of Music.

Des Moines Symphony

The Des Moines Symphony’s Memorial Day Tribute Concert opens with three Copland classics: Fanfare for the Common Man, for brass and percussion; A Lincoln Portrait, featuring the reading of the past president’s famous words by a narrator; and Appalachian Spring, commissioned as a ballet with “an American theme” and later rearranged as an orchestral suite.