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.

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Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony – The Planets, Reimagined

Jason Weinberger, music director
Gary Kelley, artist

HOLST                                   The Planets

Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

Des Moines Symphony – Carmina Burana

Joseph Giunta, music director
Gregory Oakes & Clarence Padilla, clarinets
Carrie Ellen Giunta, soprano
Christopher Pfund, tenor
Robert Orth, baritone
The Drake Choir and Drake University/Community Chorus, directed by Aimee Beckmann-Collier
Drake University Orchestra, directed by Akira Mori

Orchestra Iowa

  

Orchestra Iowa Chamber: Concert 4

University of Northern Iowa Cantorei

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony – Bach at Easter

Jason Weinberger, music director
UNI Cantorei & John Len Wiles
WCFSO soloists

 

Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

Des Moines Symphony – Tchaikovsky 4

Joseph Giunta, music director

TCHAIKOVSKY                   Symphony No. 4 in F Minor

In collaboration with the Chicago Symphony for their third BEYOND THE SCORE presentation, the Des Moines Symphony presents Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F Minor. This beautiful and inspiring four movement piece has captivated listeners since its first performance in Moscow in 1878.

This concert was recorded March 16 and 17, 2013.

Orchestra Iowa

Orchestra Iowa – Brahms’ Third

Timothy Hankewich, music director
Roger Oyster, euphonium

ELGAR                                  Enigma Variations
WEBER                                Concertino
BRAHMS                             Symphony No. 3

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony – Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra

Jason Weinberger, music director
Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra

CHENETTE                          Rural Symphony
DVORAK                              Suite in A, Op. 98b
COPLAND                             Suite from The Tender Land

Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

Des Moines Symphony – Nadja Plays Mendelssohn

Joseph Giunta, music director
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin

WAGNER                               Music from Die Meistersinger
MENDELSSOHN                Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64.
FRANCK                                 Symphony in d Minor

Orchestra Iowa

Orchestra Iowa – Star-Crossed Lovers
Timothy Hankewich, music director
Frank Oden, actor

Hunter Capoccioni

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony – Past & Present, Hunter Capoccioni

Jason Weinberger, music director
Hunter
Capoccioni, bass

MOZART                              La Clemenza di Tito, K. 621, “March” and “Overture”
HARBISON                         Concerto for Bass Viol
BARBER                               Suite from Medea, Op. 23

Orchestra Iowa

Orchestra Iowa Chamber: Concert 3
LECLAIR                                 Sonata for 2 Violas, Op. 12 #2
BOCCHERINI                         Trio in D minor, Op. 54, No. 5
MENDELSSOHN                    Quintet No. 2 in Bb Major, Op. 87

Internationally-renowned pianist Jon Nakamatsu joins the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra for performances of Liszt’s first and second piano concertos. Nakamatsu, a Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalist, has performed at the Chopin Institute in Warsaw, the Beijing International Piano Festival and with jazz pianist David Benoit at the prestigious Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA. This program under Maestro Joseph Giunta opens with music from Engelbert Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera, Hansel and Gretel.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, led by music director Jason Weinberger, joins forces with the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival to bring audiences an eclectic array of American chamber music. Opening the concert is Walter Piston’s Divertimento, written for nine instruments and commissioned by the International Society for Contemporary Music in 1946. John Harbison’s North and South is a cycle of six settings of poems by Elizabeth Bishop, scored for mezzo-soprano, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and bass.

Orchestra Iowa triumphantly returns to the newly refurbished Paramount Theatre following the devastating flood of 2008. In this concert, Orchestra Iowa presents the orchestral suite from the romantically poignant opera, Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss. Der Rosenkavalier was an instant success following its Dresden premiere in January of 1911. The orchestra continues with Gunther Schuller’s most popular work, Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee.

The Des Moines Symphony, led by Maestro Joseph Giunta, performs Paul Dukas’ programmatic scherzo, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, based on a ballad by the German poet Goethe. Guest artist Benny Kim joins the orchestra for a performance of Bruch’s Violin Concerto. The concert closes with Berlioz’s monumental and programmatic  Symphonie Fantastique.

(Concert recorded Oct. 27 and 28, 2012)

Orchestra Iowa’s Chamber Players present their second concert of the season. Among the pieces performed is Bach’s Concerto for Violin, Viola and Continuo. The Chamber Players present Hurnik’s Sonata da Camera. Hurnik is known for his film scripts, radio plays and concerts for children. The music of Bach’s fifth child, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach graces the concert with the Duet for Flute and Violin. The concert continues with yet another work by Bach’s son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. W.F.

Kodály’s Variations on a Hungarian Folksong, sometimes referred to as the “Peacock Variations,” was commissioned in 1939 by the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. For the main thematic material, Kodály chose an ancient Hungarian folk song titled Fly, Peacock Fly, the text of which metaphorically advocated for political freedom. Pianist Dror Biran joins Jason Weinberger and the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony for a masterful performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto.

Members of Orchestra Iowa’s Chamber Players bring to life Schubert’s String Trio in Bb Major which Schubert wrote during a time when he was involved in informal chamber music performances. The Orchestra Iowa Chamber Players also present a lively rendition of Mozart’s Trio in C Major, written in the summer of 1788. Finally, the Chamber Players will fill the air with Faure’s Piano Quartet in G minor. This piece is known for its tranquil and harmonically rich melodies.

(Concert recorded Sept. 21 and Sept. 23, 2012)

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony’s opening concert of their eighty-third season begins with selections from Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, a semi-opera adapted from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Composer and singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane joins the WCFSO for a performance of his recent work for baritone and chamber orchestra, Crane Palimpest. The program closes with Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, which he summarizes in his autograph score:

Iowa Public Radio’s 2012-2013 Symphonies of Iowa season kicks off with Maestro Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony opening their seventy-fifth season with music from the Austrian film composer, Ernest Korngold.

Tchaikovsky Gold Medalist Barry Douglas makes his Iowa debut with the Des Moines Symphony playing Rachmaninoff’s blazing third piano concerto. The sultry Danzon by Marquez has become a DMSO audience favorite. The orchestra’s Spirit of America season concludes with perhaps the most quintessentially American work – Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.

(Concert recorded May 12-13, 2012)

Orchestra Iowa’s 2011-2012 season concludes with a program featuring the music of Dvořák, Bartok and Shostakovich. Dvořák’s Slavic Dance No. 8 is from a series of pieces inspired by Brahms’ Hungarian Dances. Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is truly a piece that is meant to be heard live, as the strings are divided into two groups and placed antiphonally on opposite sides of the stage. Following a series of works denounced by the Communist Party, Shostakovich delivered a rousing symphony that not only pleased critics, but audiences too.

Maestro Mark Russell Smith, Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, leads the orchestra in an international collaboration culminating in a large-scale performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. This epic masterwork combines a non-liturgical setting of the Requiem Mass with nine poems by English poet and fallen World War I soldier, Wilfred Owen.

Violinist Miriam Fried joins Maestro Intriligator and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra for a performance of the Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major. Written in 1878, the concerto features a rich thematic material, folk-like melodies and a fiery final movement. The DSO opens the concert with another dramatic favorite, Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni, followed by his Symphony No. 39.

(Concert recorded Feb. 11-12, 2012)

The Des Moines Symphony opens with one of Iowa’s most celebrated composers—the three-time Grammy-winner Michael Daugherty. His brilliant and fun Red Cape Tango celebrates a certain superhero from his Metropolis Symphony, and there is nothing more American than being “able to leap tall buildings!” The young American cellist Joshua Roman makes his Des Moines debut and Maestro Guinta conducts his favorite Dvořák symphony.

(Concert recorded April 14-15, 2012)

Select Orchestra Iowa wind players open this Chamber Showcase concert with Arnold Bax’s Elegiac Trio, inspired by Ireland’s 1919 Easter Rebellion. The brief but brilliant Entr’acte for Flute and Harp by French composer Jacques Ibert follows, and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A, abounding with Bohemian folk melodies, closes the program.

(Concert recorded April 14, 2012)

It caused a riot at its premiere and later, a battle of words between its composer and the Walt Disney Company. Now, nearly a century after its composition, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring still retains the capacity to shock and move us more than almost any other work in the orchestral repertoire. This third and most revolutionary of the ballet scores Stravinsky composed for the legendary impresario Serge Diaghilev, was written between 1911 and 1913.  The Rite of Spring may no longer set off riots, but it still packs quite a wallop.

Composed for Good Friday services during Bach’s first year at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, the St. John Passion is a dramatic representation of the Passion as told in the Gospel of John. The work is constructed of recitatives and choruses, reflective chorales and arias, and is framed by a two choruses, the second of which is followed by one final chorale. Luther College’s Nordic Choir joins Orchestra Iowa to present this monumental work.

(Concert recorded March 24-25, 2012)

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony performs Mussorgsky’s oft-arranged piano masterwork, Pictures at an Exhibition, in a rarely-heard version made just after the composer’s death. Michael Pawlak, the WCFSO’s principal percussionist, provides an unusual opportunity to hear a live performance of Joseph Schwantner’s celebrated Percussion Concerto.

(Concert recorded March 24, 2012)

Jennifer Frautschi, the Grammy-nominated and Avery Fisher Prize-winning American violinist, makes her Iowa debut collaborating with Maestro Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony in Barber’s tuneful and rhythmic Violin Concerto. The DMSO also performs Tchaikovsky’s great soul-searching last symphony, the “Pathetique.”

(Concert recorded March 10-11, 2012)

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