Classical

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 June 10, 2014 8:53 am

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: on IPR Tonight

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 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.

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Classical
10:16 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Bach's Passions: Guides from NPR & More

John Butt, OBE, Gardiner Chair of Music at the University of Glasgow and Music Director of the Dunedin Consort
Credit www.dunedin-consort.org

Careful writers think twice before using superlatives, but it's safe to say that Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is the greatest musical work ever written for Good Friday services. It is sometimes called “the opera Bach never wrote,” but I doubt it,  in part because Bach calibrated it for use in Leipzig’s liturgy, and in part because, as musicologist/performer John Butt once told me, it goes far beyond Baroque opera in its musical, dramatic and psychological complexity. 

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Classical
9:12 am
Sun April 13, 2014

Sirota+Brahms from wcfso, Monday 7 PM

Violist Nadia Sirota
Credit 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. 

 

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Classical
10:05 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Trio 826 Residency: the IPR Studio Session

Trio 826 in IPR's Studio One in Cedar Falls, Nov. 13, 2013
Credit Barney's phone

What led three awesome soloists - Julia Bullard (viola), Hannah Holman (cello), and Susanna Klein (violin) -  to form an ensemble, and why did they call it "Trio 826"? Hear the answers, and examples of their superb playing, in the live session they broadcast from IPR's studio last fall.

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Classical
10:26 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Concert review: wcfsymphony takes us there...

Composer Brooke Joyce of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
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Classical
10:31 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Art Joins Science in "Crossroads Project"

Composer Laura Kaminsky

Tonight at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, the award-winning composer Laura Kaminsky, painter Rebecca Allen, physicist Robert Davies, and The Fry Street Quartet will join forces for an interdisciplinary exploration of climate change called The Crossroads Project. It's part of a

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Classical
5:30 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Play It Again And Again, Sam

Rick Blaine, the sentimental tough guy in Casablanca, pined for "As Time Goes By."
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 7:57 am

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Classical
12:51 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

OI Shines in LvB, Dmitri, Barber & Mozart

Luke Witchger, the violin soloist in the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, K. 362
Credit 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:

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Classical
10:57 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Is This London (or Paris)? No, It's Iowa!

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:

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Classical
10:44 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Eyes & Ears on Osmo: Sibelius 5 tonight @6

Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska with the Minnesota Orchestra
Credit Greg Helgerson

When someone shouted "Osmo, come home,” it touched off "five minutes of clamorous applause, which quickly turned rhythmic." That demonstration was in Minneapolis this weekend, says the New York Times, which adds: "since management lifted its 16-month lockout of the players" of the Minnesota Orchestra "over a contract dispute, in January, the musicians have typically been greeted as conquering if

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Classical
9:49 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Symphonies of Iowa presents Des Moines Symphony Orchestra and Pianist Joyce Yang

Joyce Yang
Credit 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.

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