Classical

Who was Frank Sinatra? One of America’s most treasured performers came from humble beginnings in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was the only son of Sicilian immigrant parents. His father was a city firefighter, and his mother was an amateur singer who often performed for social events. As Frank grew older, he became inspired by the likes of Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby, and decided to drop out of high school to become a singer himself. He sang in New Jersey night clubs and caught the attention of swing bandleaders.

Portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann

Though coffee consumption was illegal in much of Germany during his lifetime, the great composer Johann Sebastian Bach was a known frequenter of Leipzig’s many coffee houses. His famously exuberant personality could have easily been attributed to his avid coffee drinking. So enthusiastic was he about the beverage that he composed a secular cantata about it entitled “Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Be still, stop chattering)” better known as the Coffee Cantata.

Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic is second only to the Mona Lisa in terms of significance. The Iowan artist was extremely appreciative of Midwest traditions and culture, which he celebrated in 1930 through American Gothic and many other works. The painting is often understood as a satirical comment on the Midwestern character, and is now firmly fixated in the nation’s pop culture. Yet Wood intended it to be a positive statement about rural American values and an image of reassurance at a time of great dislocation and disillusionment.

Rachel Bearinger

The Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre invaded Iowa Public Radio! Listen below for our podcast of performances and interviews from noon on Tuesday, June 13th featuring adventurous arias from the CROT’s production of Michael Ching’s Speed Dating Tonight!. The CROT’s cast features Nicole Besa, Rebecca Buechel, Lincoln Ginsberg, Ian Butler, Erin Persick, Emma Dickinson, Mitchell Gage, Wesley Frye, Nate Hill, and Kellen Schrimper.

One of the world’s most celebrated violinists hails from our own state of Iowa.

Robert Zimansky received his first instruction from John Ferrell at the University of Iowa. He continued his studies with Sally Thomas and Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, Zimansky packed up his violin and moved to Europe, where he became first concertmaster in Spoleto, Munich, Stuttgart, the Lucerne Festival and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva.

Many years ago, the Persian King Shahryar was betrayed by his wife. In anger, he vowed to marry a new woman each day and have the previous one beheaded, so that she would have no chance of being unfaithful to him. A man of his word, he executed 1,000 women before being visited by the young Scheherazade.

In 1830, a young, dashing, rising star named Robert Schumann started studying piano in Leipzig with the well-known teacher, Friedrich Wieck, and moved into a room in his teacher’s house. Wieck’s 11-year-old daughter, Clara, was a gifted pianist and composer who was already giving concerts. The 20-year-old Robert became infatuated with her over time, and after intense opposition and legal battles with Clara’s father, the two were married in 1840 just before her 21st birthday.

Courtesy of Texas Tenors

Pack up the car, turn up your favorite public radio station, and set your GPS for these Iowa arts destinations on this summer’s road trip. The June and July Iowa Arts Showcase features:

·         Barbara Lounsberry and Mary Taylor, Steering Committee Members, reveling in this year’s Cedar Falls Authors Festival

·         Composer Michael Ching and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s Artistic Director Daniel Kleinknecht filling us in on the CROT’s upcoming production of Speed Dating Tonight!

Aladár Székely

Composer Zoltán Kodály was one of the world’s first ethnomusicologists. In 1905, he trekked across Hungary to secluded villages to collect folk songs sung by the villagers who lived there. He recorded them on an Edison phonograph, and as a result, preserved an entire culture. He then became fast friends with fellow composer Béla Bartók and shared his methods of song collection with him. The two set out on more musical road trips together, and were lifelong champions of each other’s music.

In the late-Romantic musical world, Wagner’s works dominated concert stages. His numerous operas exhibited a distinctly “German sound” and featured Aryan characters in their lead roles. French composer Erik Satie was one of the first to call for a change for music of the time period. He issued a challenge for a French approach to music, “without sauerkraut!” inspiring the French Six (Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, and Germaine Tailleferre) as well as Maurice Ravel.

Photograph of a painting by Ernst Hader

Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique set a new precedent for the symphony. Berlioz wrote his Symphonie to depict “the life of an artist” after he had fallen instantly and wildly in love with actress Harriet Smithson while seeing her in a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in London.

Chris Wahlberg, courtesy San Francisco Symphony

When the San Francisco Symphony appointed the American conductor, composer, and pianist Michael Tilson Thomas as its music director, the chemistry was perfect from the start. The orchestra and "MTT" inspired each other creatively, and conveyed the artistic excitement to listeners. That was in 1995, and since then the orchestra has gained even more international renown than it already had, winning the most prestigious international prizes, including the Gramophone Award, France's Grand Prix du Disque, Japan's Record Academy, and no fewer than 11 Grammy Awards.

Wolf Trap Opera

The Des Moines Metro Opera concludes Iowa Public Radio’s 2017 Arias in April series with a performance from their 44th Festival Season. IPR’s first DMMO broadcast features Verdi’s Falstaff on Saturday, May 6th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 7th at 11:00 p.m.

www.mayoclinicproceedings.org

May is flowering with a bountiful array of arts events around the state! This month’s Iowa Arts Showcase features:

•         Michael Egel, General and Artistic Director of the Des Moines Metro Opera, filling us in on their 45th festival season

•         Gail Naughton, President and CEO of the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, and Stephanie Kohn, Museum Curator, delving into the glass artist Dale Chihuly’s exhibit currently on display at the museum

Roger Thomas

Jazz and classical artist, Branford Marsalis, of the famed Marsalis musical family, has established a career as a performer of international renown, equally at home in both concert halls and jazz clubs. Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans as the oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. His first instrument, the clarinet, gave way to the alto and then the tenor and soprano saxophones when the teenage Branford began working in local bands.

jasonweinberger.com

Come join us this Thursday at Iowa Public Radio’s Annual Open House at our Cedar Falls studio! Music Director and Conductor of the wcfsymphony, Jason Weinberger, will make a guest appearance along with the symphony’s guest pianist extraordinaire, Mimi Solomon. Solomon, an American pianist, has been heard as recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral soloist in the United States as well as in China, Japan and Europe.

Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre

Iowa Public Radio’s 2017 Arias in April series continues with a brilliant January performance by the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. We’ll broadcast Verdi’s La Traviata on Saturday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 30 at 11:00 p.m.

robertthies.org

In 1995, pianist Robert Thies received worldwide recognition when he won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. No American pianist since Van Cliburn, who won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958 in Moscow, had accomplished such a feat.

Tim Schoon, University of Iowa

School is back, and so is IPR's monthly classical request show! The next edition goes live this Friday, August 25th from 2 PM - 4 PM. What pieces would you like to share with other IPR listeners? Send your requests to classical-request@iowapublicradio.org by Thursday, August 24th. Please ask for two pieces, in case one of your choices has been broadcast recently.

Iowa Public Radio’s 2017 Arias in April series this year includes the University of Northern Iowa Opera Theatre in concert. IPR’s broadcast will present the UNI Opera Theatre’s performance of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah on Saturday, April 22 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 23 at 11:00 p.m.

Christian Steiner

This week’s Symphony of Iowa features Orchestra Iowa’s Showcase Chamber “A Point of Departure” concert on Sunday, April 16 at 4 p.m. and Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m.

Claire McAdams

The third opera in Iowa Public Radio’s 2017 Arias in April series showcases the Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice. The opera, dating from 1762, will be broadcast on Saturday, April 15 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 16 at 11:00 p.m.

Barney Sherman

A number of you have asked about the Spring Silent Drive spot featuring some of IPR's youngest supporters:

wcfsymphony.org

This week’s Symphony of Iowa features the wcfsymphony’s “Four Seasons II” concert on Sunday, April 9 at 4 p.m. and Monday, April 10 at 7 p.m.

Ben Easter

Iowa Public Radio’s 2017 Arias in April series continues with a performance from the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 44th Festival opera season. This broadcast features Jules Massenet’s Manon on Saturday, April 8th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 9th at 11:00 p.m.

EUYO YEC 2015 (c) Peter Adamik.jpg at wikimedia.com

Join Barney from 2-4pm today (Friday) for the inaugural spin of IPR Classical's monthly request show. Your requests filled up the two-hour playlist quickly, with welcome favorites and neglected delights. Tune in to hear what you and other listeners chose!

Bill Adams

Let IPR’s Iowa Arts Showcase keep you in the loop during one of the busiest months of the year! This month’s Showcase features:

·         Timothy Shipe, curator of the International Dada Archive at University of Iowa Libraries, filling us in on the Dada exhibit at the UI Main Library Gallery in Iowa City

·         Dean of Iowa State’s College of Ag and Life Science, Wendy Wintersteen, and Lynette Pohlman, Director and Chief Curator of University Museums, sharing details about ISU’s portrait-painting sessions “Faces of Iowa State”

This week’s Symphony of Iowa features Orchestra Iowa’s “American Mystics” concert on Sunday, April 2 at 4 p.m. and Monday, April 3 at 7 p.m.

Peter Adamik By Euyo editor - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46860288

Is there a classical piece you'd love to share on Iowa's airwaves? Now you can. IPR's monthly classical request feature will debut on Barney's show on Friday, March 31st, from 2-4 PM, and it's easy to participate. Here's how:

 1.) Send your request by email to classical-request@iowapublicradio.org by midnight, Thursday, March 30th.

Claire McAdams

The lengthening days can only mean one thing: Spring has arrived, and with it comes Iowa Public Radio’s Arias in April series! For five weeks, listeners can tune in to enjoy opera productions from the Des Moines Metro Opera, UNI Opera Theatre, and Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.

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