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.

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

Ways To Connect

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:

KT Kim / www.pianistjoyceyang.com

Back by popular demand from last season, Iowa Public Radio presents the Symphonies of Iowa series, showcasing the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s Grieg Piano Concerto and Mahler 5 concert on Sunday, March 30 at noon and Monday, March 31 at 2 p.m. On this program, the Des Moines Symphony presents one of the most beloved and recognizable works of all time, Greig’s Piano Concerto, performed by guest artist and Van Cliburn Silver Medalist Joyce Yang.

Travel back in time tonight to hear the WCFSymphony's re-creation of  a Mozart soiree, recorded live at Waterloo’s newly-restored Brown Derby Ballroom. The elegant interior was the perfect setting for an array of Mozartian gems, culminating in the Symphony no. 40. Soloists included soprano Suzanne Lommler and Artistic Director Jason Weinberger on clarinet. Jacqueline Halbloom hosts this Symphonies of Iowa broadcast.

Iowa's orchestras are commissioning works about Iowa; but how can music without words convey anything about a place? Some examples:

Mitch Huang

Iowa Public Radio presents the Symphonies of Iowa series, this week, Sunday, March 16, 2014 at noon and Monday, March 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.,  presenting Orchestra Iowa’s Showcase Chamber Concert entitled Ice Fishing. Opening this concert is a piece by Iowa’s own Michael Gilbertson, Fold by Fold for Piano, Violin, and Cello. This ballet premiered at the Julliard School with seven dancers along with the musicians. Crusell’s Quartet No. 1 in E-flat Major for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op.

Rob Mercier

  Join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for Orchestra Iowa’s Beauty and Beethoven concert from their 2013-2014 season Sunday, March 2, 2014 at noon and Monday, March 3, 2014 at 7 p.m. This performance includes Italian composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher, Giuseppe Martucci’s Notturno, Op. 70. Also performed is Rota’s virtuosic double bass work entitled Divertimento Concertante with internationally acclaimed Volkan Orhon soloing. Polishing off the concert is Beethoven’s Symphony No.

wcfsymphony

Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa presents a collaborative performance spearheaded by the wcfsymphony and the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at noon and Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7 p.m. Jason Weinberger, wcfsymphony’s artistic director and CEO, shares the stories about his two sets of grandparents and their survivals in Nazi camps during the Holocaust and his deep interest in music connected to those unspeakable times.

S. Takehana

  Join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s performance with Fumiaki Miura, a young Japanese violinist as he makes his debut with the Des Moines Symphony.  Miuara, winner of the international Joseph Joachim Violin Competition will join the symphony for an inspiring performance of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. Also included on this program is Strauss’s romantic Suite from Der Rosenkavalier.

Featuring:
Joseph Giunta, conductor
Fumiaki Miura, guest violin

Wikipedia

Join us tonight at 7 to hear Orchestra Iowa principal players delight with masterpieces for horn by Haydn and Mozart and a supreme works for string by Brahms. Principal horn Andy Harris shines in a Divertimento by Haydn and the Horn Quintet by Mozart; he's joined by the orchestra's new concertmaster Luke Witchger and by Karla Galva,  violist Lisa Ponton, cellist Carey Bostian, and double-bassist Volkon Orhan. Then five strings players come together for the masterpiece that Brahms meant to be his final work - his  String Quintet no. 2.

Orchestra Iowa

The first Orchestra Iowa Chamber concert of the 2013-2014 season, entitled Fall Romance, includes the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Brahms. This program features violinists Luke Witchger and Karla Galva, violists Lisa Ponton and Amanda Grimm, cellist Carey Bostian, bass Volkan Orhon, and Charles Harris on horn. Please join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for our broadcast of Orchestra Iowa’s Showcase Chamber Fall Romance performance.

Josh Wool

The wcfsymphony takes the stage with flair in this week's Symphonies of Iowa on Iowa Public Radio. Special guest pianist and Iowa native Conor Hanick joins the orchestra to perform John Adams Century Rolls. Inspired by the edgy and rhythmic sound of piano rolls on a player-piano, the piano concerto quotes composers such as Ravel, Debussy, Gershwin, and Fats Waller amidst the musical image of an orchestra "aligned amongst the cogs and wheels of a bustling rhythmic machine." 

This week on Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa, internationally renowned pianist Ilya Yakushev takes the stage with Maestro Joseph Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony in their 76th season debut program, From Russia With Ilya

Orchestra Iowa

Join us Monday at 7PM as the 2013-2014 Symphonies of Iowa season opens with Orchestra Iowa's "Bachtoberfest." The concert, which pays tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach, opens with his Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, originally for organ but orchestrated by Lucien Cailliet. It is followed by a  tribute to the master by Timothy Kramer, BACH meets EsCHer. It closes with Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major and Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, the"Reformation," which was strongly influenced by that composer's love of Bach. 

Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

Concluding the encore portion of Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa 2013-2014 season on Monday, January 14, 2014 at 7 p.m., the Des Moines Symphony presents one of the most beloved and recognizable works of all time, Greig’s Piano Concerto, performed by guest artist Joyce Yang. As a Van Cliburn Silver Medalist, Ms. Yang’s performances capture audiences and leave them breathless. Also included on this program is the famous tone poem Finlandia, by Sibelius and Mahler’s poetic Symphony No. 5.

  Featuring:

Wikipedia (Google Art Project)

On Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa series’ encore broadcast Monday, January 6, 2014 at 7 p.m., Orchestra Iowa concludes their 2012-2013 symphonic season with the world-premiere of Michael Daugherty’s American Gothic. Michael Daugherty is a Cedar Rapids native and multiple Grammy-award winner. Orchestra Iowa commissioned this work, which was inspired by one of Grant Wood’s best-known paintings. Rachmaninov’s The Rock and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7 complete the program.

  Featuring:

Timothy Hankewich, music director

Quad City Symphony Orchestra's Facebook page

On Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa series’ encore broadcast Monday, December 30, 2013 at 7 p.m., Maestro Mark Russell Smith leads the Quad City Symphony in the 100th anniversary performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, which was first performed in 1913. This completes Maestro Smith’s cycle of Stravinsky ballets, which included Petrushka in 2009 and the Firebird in 2010. They also perform Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Featuring:

Mark Russell Smith, music director

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra

Featured on Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa series broadcast Monday, December 2, 2013 at 7 p.m. is the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra’s encore Classics 5 Russia’s Greatest performance. This performance includes music from three of Russia’s greatest composers. Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor has been praised for its robust melodies, and the Russian Easter Festival Overture and Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov are filled with joy and orchestral color.

O'Neil Arnold

On Monday, November 25, 2013 at 7 p.m. Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa series’ presents an encore broadcast of the wcfsymphony collaboration with artist Gary Kelley from the closer of their 2012-2013 season. Kelley’s original The Planets was created in 2007. The symphony brings a new light to Kelley’s project through their performance of Holst’s The Planets. Kelley also discusses his creative process.

Featuring:

Jason Weinberger, Artistic Director and CEO
Gary Kelley, artist 

Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

Featured on Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa series broadcast Monday, November 18, 2013 at 7 p.m. is an encore performance by the Des Moines Symphony as they celebrate and honor their partnership and history with Drake University. The symphony began in 1937 as the Drake/Des Moines Symphony. Choirs from Drake University join with the Des Moines Symphony in this celebration of 75 years of rich music making.

Featuring:

Orchestra Iowa

On Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7 p.m., Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa presents an encore broadcast featuring Orchestra Iowa. 

On this performance Maestro Hankewich completes Orchestra Iowa’s Symphony cycle of the four symphonies by Brahms, which began in 2007. He programs his favorite symphony, Symphony No. 3. Roger Oyster, principal trombonist in the Kansas City Symphony, performs on the euphonium with Orchestra Iowa to present a concertino by Weber. The program opens with Sir Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

On Monday, October 14, 2014 at 7 p.m. Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa presents an encore broadcast of the Waterloo0-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, narrator Scott Cawelti, and the Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra performance. Commissioned by the Blanden Memorial Art Museum and the Fort Dodge Area Symphony, Jonathan Chenette’s Rural Symphony is a three-movement work inspired by photographs of daily life in rural Iowa.

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