Theme Nights at the Symphony

Feb 19, 2018

Many symphony orchestras are branching out in an effort to attract new music fans. Even if someone has never been to a orchestra concert before, they might want to go to Harry Potter Night at the Des Moines Symphony or enjoy an evening of “A Night of Symphonic Rock” as interpreted by Orchestra Iowa.

“I think it’s wonderful,” says Des Moines Symphony music director Joseph Giunta. “I think it’s a great way to expand audiences, and I think it’s a great way to stay in touch with your community.”

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sits down with Giunta and Tim Hankewich, music director of Orchestra Iowa, to discuss how symphony orchestras are getting creative to get younger fans into the audience.

Music from movies and video games is getting the full orchestral treatment, says Hankewich.

“This is primarily, in my view, what symphony orchestras are being used for today, and I think it only makes sense that we can turn that around into a concert experience with live score with film, or video game music. In fact, we did that when Comic-Con was in the area, and a whole different segment of society came out," he says.

“This is sort of the wonderful, final frontier in audience development, in finding and reaching out to new audiences because they are bringing a totally different expectation to the concert hall—which can sometimes be refreshing to many of the musicians on stage.”