Classical

Classical
3:52 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

August IAS brings in "Hollywood in the Heartland" exhibit, wcfsymphony, C.Y. Stephens, OI, and more!

A still from "The Music Man," featured in the "Hollywood in the Heartland" exhibit.
State Historical Museum of Iowa

With the new school year and opening artist series performances gracing stages all across the state, Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase wants you to be in the right place at the right time. This month’s features include:

  • Iowa State Historical Society’s “Hollywood in the Heartland” exhibit, with curator Leo Landis
  • The wcfsymphony’s upcoming 2014-15 concerts, with their conductor Jason Weinberger;
  • The Silver Anniversary of the Hearst Center for the Arts, with UNI Professor Emeritus, Dr. George F. Day chatting about poet James Hearst;
  • C.Y. Stephens’ Artist Series for their 2014-15 season, with Patti Cotter,  Development and Sponsorship Manager, and Sara Compton, Programming Outreach Coordinator;
  • And Orchestra Iowa’s upcoming 2014-15 season, with their music director Tim Hankewich.
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Classical
12:57 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Iowa's Symphonies Make Their Own Music This Season With New Commissions

Composer Steve Heitzeg with Maestro Joseph Giunta after the Des Moines Symphony premiers Heitzeg’s work “Symphony In Sculpture”. The Des Moines Symphony has commissioned Heitzeg to compose a sequel to that work this season.

Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa showcases an encore broadcast of the wcfsymphony’s “Spaces: Mahler 1 and World Premiere” concert this week. The program, which includes two Canzon by Gabrieli and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 also features the world premiere of a new work by composer Brooke Joyce called Une Cité Moderne. Brooke currently serves as the Composer-in-Residence at Luther College and is the newly elected president of the Iowa Composers Forum.

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Classical
1:51 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

July IAS spotlights Nordic Fest, Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, UI Summer Opera, and more!

Decorah's junior "Nordic Dancers" taking part in the Grand Parade at Nordic Fest
Ellen Macdonald

Tune in to Iowa Public Radio Classical as you pack the van for this summer’s music festival offerings. Arts events featured on this month’s Iowa Arts Showcase include: 

  • Nordic Fest, with Martha Griesheimer and Randy Schissel
  • Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, with Hunter Cappoccioni
  • University of Iowa Summer Opera’s production of “Patience,” with Nicholas Wuehrmann
  • And Sleepy Bones Allison, aspiring middle school blues guitarist

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Classical
6:42 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Notable Classical Violinists Under 45: A List

In my post Is Parity Time Here for the Classical Violin? I mention a list I put together of classical solo violinists born after 1970, which I said illustrates my thesis that the field has attained gender parity. I mentioned, however, that the list is provisional - the best I could come up with from my perch in northeast Iowa - and that I welcome your input. Let me know what I missed, but meanwhile, here's the list:

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Classical
6:41 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Is Parity Time Here for the Classical Violin?

Midori Goto, born in Japan in 1971, one of the women who has reached the pinnacle of today's violin profession. (She also does serious educational outreach work, as in this picture.)
Credit http://www.midoriandfriends.org/

To paraphrase my previous post, if you think women have it bad in classical music, take a look at supposedly contemporary arts like film, literature, rock, jazz, and country.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:51 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Rafael Fruhbeck De Burgos, Versatile Spanish Conductor, Dies At 80

The versatile Spanish conductor Rafael Frübeck de Burgos.
Morten Abrahamsen

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 11:44 am

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Classical
3:49 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

HEAR: ChamberFest Dubuque Live IPR Set!

Michael Gilbertson, the award-winning Dubuque-raised composer.
Credit michaelgilbertson.net

Listen below to a podcast of a live set from our studio Monday featuring four stellar young musicians from ChamberFest Dubuque.  Dubuque native Michael Gilbertson founded the festival in 2009; since then his compositions have won the Israel Prize and major awards from ASCAP and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and have been performed by the Washington National Opera, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, a

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Classical
4:26 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Live Broadcast of Des Moines Symphony's annual Yankee Doodle Pops

Maestro Joseph Giunta conducts the Des Moines Symphony on the West Terrace of the Iowa State Capitol.
Credit Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

Live from the West Terrace of Iowa’s State Capitol, Iowa Public Radio Classical is pleased to present the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s 21st annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert on Thursday, July 3, 2014.

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Classical
10:22 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

Ukrainian Pianist Margaryta Golovko Wins First Prize in Midwest International Piano Competition

First place winner Margaryta Golovko smiles to the audience after accepting her award in the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition.

Congratulations to Margaryta Golovko, winner of the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition! After competing this past week with nineteen other pianists in the senior division from eleven different countries, Margaryta is the winner of a $10,000 cash prize, a CD recording with the Blue Griffin label, a concerto performance with the wcfsymphony on November 1, 2014, and an optional 2-year professional management contract with Heartland Concert Artists.

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Classical
10:13 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Three Finalists Face Off this Saturday for $10,000 in Midwest International Piano Competition

Midwest International Piano Competition founders stand with the three finalists of the senior division. (Back row, L to R: Tomer Gewirtzman, Israel; Dmitri Vorobiev, founder; Sean Botkin, founder; Margaryta Golovko, Ukraine. Front row: Elina Akselrud, Ukraine)

While sixteen of the greatest young senior division pianists from around the world begin to pack their bags, Elina Akselrud, Tomer Gewirtzman, and Margaryta Golovko are preparing for the final round of the senior division of the Midwest International Piano Competition, and the chance to win $10,000. Iowa Public Radio speaks with Midwest International Piano Competition founders Dmitri Vorobiev and Sean Botkin. Hear the two University of Northern Iowa Piano Professors describe the origins of this inaugural event as they give us a peek behind the scenes.

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Classical
12:59 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Junior Division Finalists Selected in the Midwest International Piano Competition

Midwest International Piano Competition founders Dmitri Vorobiev (at podium, L) and Sean Botkin (R) stand amongst the competitors at the opening ceremony last Sunday.
Credit University Relations / University of Northern Iowa

Twenty-six young, world-class pianists from across the globe have been competing this week in the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition. Iowa Public Radio speaks with the founders of the competition, Dmitri Vorobiev and Sean Botkin. Hear the two University of Northern Iowa Piano Professors describe the origins of this inaugural event as they give us a peek behind the scenes. 

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Classical
6:00 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Mikado Mayhem: Live from Studio One with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre!

Cast members of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre swing by Studio One: (from L to R) pianist Tony Nickle, Lauren Henderson-Turner, Arthur Beutel, Jessica Pray, Robin Bradley, Heather Youngquist, Daniel Lopez, and director John Hollins.

Iowa Public Radio Classical recently headed to Studio One with singers from the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s Mikado production. The Young Artist cast, along with conductor John Hollins and pianist Tony Nickle, performed selections from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta while giving us a glimpse behind the scenes of their upcoming performances at the historic Brucemore Mansion in Cedar Rapids. 

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Classical
4:45 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Performs Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with Dubuque Symphony Orchestra

Jon Nakamatsu, 1997 Van Cliburn Gold Medalist, performs Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra on Iowa Public Radio's Symphonies of Iowa.
Credit 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.

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Classical
9:35 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Beethoven, Brahms, & 'Rock Island Line" from QCSO

Composer Jacob Bancks of Augustana College

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.

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Classical
12:50 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Live Broadcast of Top Notch Pianists in Midwest International Piano Competition Finals, June 7 at 5

Three of the world’s best young pianists will be competing in the finals for the first ever Midwest International Piano Competition, hosted by the University of Northern Iowa’s School of Music at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 7.  Iowa Public Radio’s Jacqueline Halbloom and Al Schares will host a live Performance Iowa broadcast, presenting taped interviews with the finalists and commentary from the competition founders, UNI’s Assistant Professor of Piano Dmitri Vorobiev and Associate Professor of Piano Sean Botkin between the concerts.  

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Deceptive Cadence
4:35 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

How Do You Get Latino Kids Into Classical Music? Bring The Parents

The 85 musicians in the Santa Cecilia Orchestra are paid professionals who play with other symphonies and in Hollywood studios.
Courtesy of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 7:37 pm

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

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Classical
3:20 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

June Showcase Hosts Sister Prejean and Jake Heggie, CROT's "Mikado", the 5 Seasons Chamber, & more!

An instructor works with a group of harpists in a workshop at the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival

School is out for the summer with just enough time to catch up on arts events across the state on Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase. Our June edition features:

  • Sister Helen Prejean, humanitarian, author, and activist, discussing the evolution of her “Dead Man Walking,”
  • Michael Gilbertson, Artistic Director of ChamberFest Dubuque, discussing the evolution of his “Juilliard in June” program into the new multiple concert series and workshop event.
  • Daniel Kleinknecht, artistic director of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, talking about the CROT’s“Mikado”  production,
  • Stephanie Wagor, festival artistic director, and Jason Weinberger, conductor and chamber music coach, sharing details about the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival
  • And composer Jake Heggie, talking about the unusual circumstances of his first opera based on Sister Helen Prejean’s book.
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Classical
11:21 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

How Exceptional IS Classical's Woman Problem? Pt. 1

Call me George: the woman who wrote Middlemarch.

NPR’s Anastasia Tsioulcas just wrote a scathingly brilliant post about the “fat-shaming” of the gifted Irish mezzo Tara Erraught by a plague of British critics, who sounded like teenage boys as they dissed not Erraught's singing but the supposed flaws of her body.

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Classical
8:11 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Jets, Sharks, & Historical Performance Now

Period instruments or modern - why not both? Violinist Rachel Barton Pine
Credit Andrew Eccles

When sworn enemies shrug and say, “What was THAT about?” it’s worth noticing, especially when they add, “You know, you’re making some good points.”  Something like that may be happening in classical music performance.

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Classical
6:00 am
Sun May 11, 2014

From Beethoven to Prairie Home, Bella does it all

Violinist and Des Moines Symphony guest soloist Bella Hristova.
Credit 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.

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Classical
1:38 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

One of Frank Lloyd Wright's, and Iowa's, Best-Kept Secrets

Cedar Rock house
Credit Iowa Department of Natural Resources

In 1950 famed architect Franck Lloyd Wright completed constructing one of his most comprehensive Usonian-styled homes called Cedar Rock. The house, perched high above the Wapsipinicon River is located in the Cedar Rock State Park outside of Quasqueton. Agnes and Lowell Walter, former owners of the Iowa Road Building Company, commissioned Wright to build a “modest home to be designed and built on a limestone bluff” on the Wapsi River. Lowell wanted to show that a beautiful house could be constructed in his home town without having to go to Florida or California.

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Classical
11:41 pm
Sat May 3, 2014

Hear as the WCFSymphony "takes us there"

Composer Brooke Joyce of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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!

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Classical
7:57 pm
Sat May 3, 2014

Hear: Vedenyapin Sings Yiddish Songs at IPR

Yuri Vedenyapin of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard, where he lectures on Yiddish folklore and culture.
Credit Yuri Vedenyapin

Before there was "Who's on first?" there was the similar routine, "Weinstein? Einstein!" by the Yiddish standup team Dzigan & Schumacher.

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Classical
7:54 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Russian-Yiddish In-Studio Set at IPR @2:30 PM

Singer Yuri Vedenyapin, who teaches Yiddish language and culture at Harvard's Davis Center, and has also taught at Columbia, Moscow State University, and the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA. He studied in Moscow at the Schepkin School of Acting and the Maimonides Jewish Academy; his doctoral thesis is on Yiddish stand-up comedy.
Credit Yuri Vedenyapin

Russian-born singer/scholar Yuri Vedenyapin - a renowned expert in Yiddish folklore - will be in our studios Wednesday with Russian-guitar virtuoso Oleg Timofeyev to introduce us to the little-known repertory of Russian songs in Yiddish.

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Classical
4:11 pm
Sat April 26, 2014

May IAS features Midwest International Piano Competition, Lowell Walter house, DMMO, and more!

UNI piano professors Dmitri Vorobiev and Sean Botkin host the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition

As you dust off your gardening gloves for some May planting, let Iowa Public Radio sow a few upcoming arts-event seeds on the Iowa Arts Showcase. May’s line-up includes:

· UNI’s Assistant Professor of Piano Dmitri Vorobiev and Associate Professor of Piano Sean Botkin as they discuss the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition

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Classical
9:18 am
Sat April 26, 2014

From Bach to "Teeth," Amazing Iowa Weekend

Roomful of Teeth's Caroline Shaw and Virginia Warnken. Shaw's "Partita," written for the group, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in music.
Credit David Andrako

Even I am a little stunned by how exciting, original - and abundant - the classical concerts are in Iowa this weekend. Here's a list (and please let me know if I've missed something! I'll add it - bsherman at iowapublicradio.org):

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Classical
10:48 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Vanska's Back in Minnesota

Osmo Vanska, the once and present music director of the Minnesota Orchestra
Credit Greg Helgerson

When the 16-month lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra ended in January, the orchestra had no conductor. Music director Osmo Vanska,  whose conducting had propelled the orchestra to international fame, resigned last year in support of the musicians, and without him... well, what exactly was Plan B?

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Classical
8:33 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

What's YOUR Favorite Shakespeare Music?

William Blake's 1786 painting of Oberon, Titania, and Puck - painted before Mendelssohn defined them musically!
Credit wikipedia

It MAY be SHAKEspeare's BIRTHday, SO they SAY, and WHAT muSIcian can reFRAIN from PLAY? That is (to drop the iambic pentameter) from the fun of listing favorite Shakespeare-inspired classical works? Below are a couple of lists from other sources, followed by my own additions and comments. What would make YOUR list? Let us know on our Facebook page or on twitter @IPRClassical, or by email (bsherman@iowapublicradio.org)  - and whatever you choose, Happy Shakespeare Day!

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Classical
4:09 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Simon Estes Live: Today at 2:00 pm

Simon Estes

Join us Thursday afternoon to hear one of the great musicians of our time, Simon Estes, as he tells us about his extraordinary work as a musician, humanitarian, and educator. Born in Centerville, IA, where his father worked as a coal miner, Estes was the first black male artist ever to appear at the Bayreuth Festival (he is one of the rare singers  to triumph in all of Wagner's major operas) and has sung lead roles with all of the world's great opera houses and orchestras.

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Classical
11:43 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Mighty Wurlitzer Returns to CR in Mahler, Walton

The "Mighty Wurlitzer" at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, newly restored after extensive damage in the flood of 2008.
Credit Orchestra Iowa

The 2008 Cedar Rapids flood badly damaged the Wurlitzer organ at the Paramount Theatre, but it is now fully restored, and this March was unveiled in concert. For its victorious return, Orchestra Iowa chose two masterpieces that need a huge organ: Walton’s splendid Te Deum and Mahler’s “Resurrection” symphony. With two choruses, two soloists and full orchestra, this colossal performance brought together the largest ensemble ever to appear at the Paramount. Jacqueline Halbloom produced and hosts IPR's broadcast as part of our Symphonies of Iowa series.

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