Barney Sherman

Classical Music Host

Barney Sherman joined Iowa Public Radio member station KSUI in fall 2001 as Classical music host. In his role with Iowa Public Radio, Barney hosts weekday and Sunday afternoon Classical programs. He has written about music in books for Oxford and Cambridge University Presses and in articles for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music, and many other publications. Another topic he has written about is Iowa, for The Atlantic (and for Iowa Public Radio!).

Ways to Connect


Tune in every Saturday from 8 am to 10 AM for Concierto, hosted by Frank Dominguez in both Spanish and English. Frank pays special attention to the contributions of Latin-American and Spanish composers as well as to performances of core repertory by great musicians of Hispanic origin, such as Claudio Arrau, Martha Argerich, and Gustavo Dudamel. This week's show includes music of Smetana and Schubert  as well as Sojo, Blasco, Soler, and more, performed by a number of musicians including Daniel Barenboim and Mirian Conti.

Sydney Symphony Fellowship on

Tune in tonight at 7 to hear just how amazingly Chinese superstar Lang Lang is playing these days - he's no longer a wunderkind, but a major artist. Also, the young Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and his Los Angeles Philharmonic perform two great symphonies. The broadcast begins with Lang performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 1; then Dudamel conducts Carl Nielsen's Fourth (the "Inextinguishable") and Robert Schumann's Third (the "Rhenish"). The broadcast comes to us via SymphonyCast.

orchestra iowa

Tune in tonight at 7  to hear the Orchestra Iowa Chamber Players perform Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, Beethoven's String Trio in C Minor, and a work by Cedar Rapids-born composer Michael Daugherty, Diamonds in the Rough.  The performances, recorded at the inauguration of the Opus Concert Cafe in Cedar Rapids, feature Anita Tucker and Samuel Rudy on the violins, Lisa Ponton on viola, Cary Bostian on cello, Christine Bellomy on clarinet, and Tom Mackey on percussion. The concert is an IPR re-broadcast.

Robert Millard, courtesy of LA Opera

Plácido Domingo stars as a head of state desperate to protect his son - and himself - from ruthless enemies, as the LA Opera return to IPR with Verdi's "The Two Foscaris." The languid canals and boisterous festivals of 15th-century Venice conceal a deadly web of secret plots and vindictive rivalries. Caught up in forces beyond their control, the father and son struggle to reclaim honor in a city without mercy. The strong cast also includes Francesco Meli and Marina Poplavskaya.


Every four years the International Tchaikovsky Competition considers giving a pianist its First Prize. Some years it just doesn't. But in 2011 it gave Daniel Trifonov not only a First for piano, but also its overall Gold Medal. (He also took first at the Rubinstein Competition in Israel.) Hear him perform Prokofiev's marvelous Third Piano Concerto with the New York Philharmonic on Thurday night's concert broadcast. The orchestra also performs Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade under music director Alan Gilbert.


Tune in Wednesday at 7 PM to hear Dvorak's "New World" Symphony as conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini, Sir Colin Davis, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and then Mariss Jansons with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. Dvorak wrote the work in 1893 in the city once known as "New Amsterdam" - New York; the photograph shows him arriving there with his family.

Wikimedia Commons

Join us Tuesday at 7 PM as the Royal Concertgebouw, led by Pierre Boulez, performs Mahler's 7th Symphony in concert. The orchestra gave the work's second performance under Mahler's baton in 1909; Boulez is one of its noted interpreters. Mahler wrote the work, sometimes called "The Song of the Night," in his composition hut in the Austrian alps (pictured). Also on this SymphonyCast broadcast are Webern's Six Pieces for Orchestra.

Casey Turner

Tune in Monday at 7 PM to hear the 75th Season inaugural concert of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. Featured is a new work based on the art in Des Moines' Pappajohn Sculpture Park, written by Emmy Award-winning composer Steve Heitzig. Also on the program are Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Wagner’s Lohengrin preludes, and music from the score Erich Wolfgang Korngold wrote for the film Captain Blood. Music Director Joseph Giunta conducts.

Dan Rest, courtesy Lyric Opera of Chicago

The waving wheat will sure sound sweet when the Lyric Opera of Chicago performs Oklahoma! Saturday at noon. One critic calls the production "a joyous revelation, establishing beyond a doubt that Oklahoma! deserves this sort of stature and venue....  the score is is rich and lovely in its deceptively simple, thoroughly American-bred melodies. The beauty of the voices singing them is soon foretold when John Cudia begins 'Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’' in a baritone that one can’t get enough of...." Hear it for yourself on IPR Classical!

Penn State News via

Why is Yo-Yo Ma pointing to his recital buddy, Emmanuel Ax? Find out why Ax is IT this afternoon when Barney Sherman plays his new recording of Schumann's Symphonic Etudes, and again at 7PM, when Ax performs a Haydn concerto with the New York Philharmonic. As you'll hear, no pianist plays Schumann and Haydn better. Also on the New York Philharmonic program: Christopher Rouse's Symphony no. 3 (his take on Prokofiev), and music director Alan Gilbert's symphonic synthesis of music from Wagner's Ring Cycle.

Federico Soffici on

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven - each wrote a concerto for three instruments, and you can hear all three in outstanding performances on Barney Sherman's program Wednesday afternoon. Bach's Triple Concerto is for flute, violin, and harpsichord; Mozart's is for three pianos (and naturally, the three pianists you'll hear are all giants in their own right); and Beethoven's is for violin, cello, and piano. You'll hear Beethoven's Triple Concerto in a live concert recording led by Claudio Abbado, pictured.

copyright Matthias Creutziger, courtesy

Tune in tonight at 7 to hear the glorious Staatskapelle Dresden's recent Carnegie Hall appearance with their new music director, Christian Thielemann. The critics called their performance of Bruckner's  magnum opus, his Eighth Symphony, "mesmerizing" and "rapturous." Hear it for yourself on tonight's SymphonyCast.

Larry Ford from

Join us Sunday at noon or Monday at 7PM to hear the Grieg Concerto played by Joyce Yang (called "the most gifted young pianist of her generation") with the Des Moines Symphony. Yang, a winner of the prestigious Avery Fischer Career Grant, has performed recently with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Philadelphia Orchestra. The concert begins with Sibelius's stirring Finlandia and closes with Mahler's powerful Symphony no. 5 conducted by music director Joseph Giunta.

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Tune in Saturday at noon to hear Renee Fleming sing the role created for her  - Blanche Dubois in Andre Previn's "A Streetcar Named Desire," based on the Tennessee Williams play.  The broadcast, live from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, also features Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Stanley Kowalski.

mdurwin2 on

Hankering for the best in Independence Day classical music? Tune in to IPR's Classical stream. You'll hear favorites (and new delights) throughout the day, and on Performance Today at 5 PM (including "Shenandoah" sung by the St. Olaf Choir) and then a concert by the New York Philharmonic with a special guest appearance by the Jazz Knights from the West Point Band.

Christopher Maharry, courtesy Des Moines Symphony

Join us at 8 PM on Wednesday, July 3rd for this year's Yankee Doodle Pops concert - LIVE from Des Moines!   Jared McCarty, winner of the symphony’s “Oh Say, Can You Sing?” contest, will kick off the concert at 8:30 with the Star Spangled Banner. The Des Moines Symphony and Joseph Giunta will continue with favorites celebrating America's many facets, and the concert culminates with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with Howitzer canons provided by the Iowa National Guard.

Tune in this afternoon and evening to hear the glorious Gil Shaham on record and in concert. The Israel-born, Illinois-bred violinist leads the International Sejong Soloists in Mendelssohn's Octet - surely the greatest work ever written by a 16 year old - on Barney Sherman's show. Then, on Performance Today, he plays the Butterfly Lovers Concerto, written in China in 1959.  When a friend introduced him to the work a few years ago, his friend burst into tears because the music was so emotional.  Hear Shaham play it, and see if it moves you, too.

wikipedia (Google Art Project)

Join us Sunday at noon or Monday at 7 pm for the premiere of "American Gothic," composed for Orchestra Iowa by the multiple-Grammy winning Cedar Rapids native Michael Daugherty. It's inspired by the art of Grant Wood, who spent most of his life in Iowa. Also on the broadcast is Dvorak's 7th Symphony and music of Rachmaninov. Music director Tim Hankewich conducts.

Dan Rest, via Lyric Opera of Chicago

Giuseppe Filianoti is "the pre-eminent lyric tenor of his generation"; Željko Lučić has triumphed around the world in Verdi. Hear their interpretations of the jester-capped glory of the Verdi repertoire, Rigoletto, this Saturday. Of course, the treacherous triangle at Rigoletto’s core requires a heartrending soprano, and Lyric has one: the Uzbekistan-born, Tchaikovsky Gold Medal-winning Albina Shagimuratova, making her Lyric debut. 

Larry Fink from

Wait, where's the conductor? Not in front of the conductor-free Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Hear this virtuoso group in a recent Carnegie Hall appearance playing Schubert's Fourth Symphony, preceded by Elgar's Serenade for Strings and Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances. Thursday's Performance Today also brings us other talented artists playing Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg and more.

Larry Fink from

Wait, where's the conductor? Not in front of the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Hear this virtuoso group in a recent Carnegie Hall appearance playing Schubert's Fourth Symphony, preceded by Elgar's Serenade for Strings and Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances. Also on Thursday's Performance Today are other talented artists playing Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg and more.

Stephane de Bourgies, from Columbia Artists Management Inc.

American pianist Nicholas Angelich has been called "the finest Brahms player of his generation," and the brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon are renowned on violin and cello. Tune in this afternoon to hear the three perform a work of Brahms's youth that he rewrote in old age: his soaring, lyrically rich Piano Trio. no. 1.

Photo: Candace di Carlo from

Join us Tuesday at 7 for Copland's glorious Symphony no. 3 (with a finale based on "Fanfare for the Common Man"), Barber's Piano Concerto (played by Garrick Ohlsson), and Jennifer Higdon's "All Things Majestic." In this 2011 work, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Higdon explores the natural wonders of Grand Teton National Park. Robert Spano conducts the Cincinnati Symphony on this SymphonyCast broadcast.

Tune in this afternoon to hear a sample of the art of Jamie Barton - the Georgia farm girl who yesterday won the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World crown.

Quad City Symphony Orchestra Facebook page

2013 was the 100th anniversary of the riotous premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Join us Monday at 7 PM to hear the Quad City Symphony Orchestra perform it, and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, led by music director Mark Russell Smith. The concert was recorded at the Adler Theater in Davenport and is part of IPR's Symphonies of Iowa series.

Dan Rest, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Tune in Saturday for Wagner's comic masterpiece, "The Mastersingers of Nuremberg," in a production featuring some master singers, including Bo Skovhus as Beckmesser, Johann Botha as Walther, and the illustrious Wagnerian James Morris as Sachs (one of his signature roles). The Lyric Opera of Chicago production is conducted by music director Sir Andrew Davis.

Credit: Robert Schultze/ Mat Hennek/ DG from

When Hélène Grimaud isn't playing the piano, her passion is the wolf conservancy she co-founded. It liberated her, she writes: after conceiving of it, "I had become a wild woman." That wildness may be part of what make Grimaud a great Beethoven interpreter. Hear her in Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 5, (known as "The Emperor") Friday afternoon on Barney Sherman's program.

1982: Viktoria Mullova is the USSR's violin sensation, winning the gold in the Tchaikovsky Competition. I983: she puts her state-owned Stradivarius on her hotel bed in Finland, dons a blonde wig to fool her KGB minders, and escapes to Sweden. Since then, she's been on of the supreme violinists - and she regularly crosses artistic borders. She has just re-recorded the Bach concertos, and this time she plays a Baroque violin. Sparks fly. Hear one of the concertos - a reconstruction recorded for the first time - on Barney Sherman's program at around 3 this afternoon.


public domain

Tune in tonight at 7 to hear the legendary Carlos Kleiber conducting one of his signature works, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony live in concert with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The broadcast features other Concertgebouw legends in this composer: Eduard van Beinum, Mariss Jansons, Rafael Kubelik, and Riccardo Chailly each conducting one movement of the Second Symphony, and Mitsuko Uchida, Claudio Arrau, and Murray Perahia each playing one movement of the Third Piano Concerto.

Mikhail Ozerskiy on wikipedia commons

They seemed  opposite: Mstislav Rostropovich, the fiery Soviet cellist, Benjamin Britten  the cool-tempered English composer. But they shared uncompromising convictions about social issues and musical genius. On Wednesday's Performance Today Coleman Itzkoff, - PT"s Young Artist in Residence - brings to life music that Britten wrote for Rostropovich.