The Des Moines Symphony’s opening concert of the season features classical music’s greatest affirmation of the human spirit, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Its “Ode to Joy” finale has moved nations. The DMSO added Copland’s The Promise of Living and The Liberty Fanfare by John Williams to this program to commemorate the spirit of all Americans in recognition of the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.

(Concert recorded Sept. 17-18, 2011)

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)

Brahms’ melancholy Horn Trio for horn, piano and violin may have been written as a wordless requiem for his mother. The trio opens with a gentle Andante instead of the usual Allegro. Images of nature, represented by the horn, pervade the elegiac mood of the piece. Chamber works by J. S. Bach and Michael Haydn, the prolific younger brother of Franz Joseph, compliment the Horn Trio.

(Concert recorded Feb. 18, 2012)

Orchestra Iowa’s Season of Fifth Symphonies continues with Bruckner’s profound, mystical Fifth Symphony. Timothy Hankewich leads the orchestra in their performance of Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony - the aural equivalent of entering a great cathedral; some regard it as the Austrian master's greatest work. The Bruckner Society of America, formed in 1931, promotes the work of Bruckner and helped make this Orchestra Iowa concert possible.

Keeping with their Spirit of America season, Maestro Giunta invites Sarah Hicks, Resident Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, to conduct an American program with the Des Moines Symphony. The concert includes Barber’s Adagio for Strings, an inspirational work revered for its unsurpassed beauty, and Copland’s lively Billy the Kid.

Pianist and composer Timothy Andres gives listeners a glimpse into the creative process as he joins the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra to perform his own realization of Mozart’s unfinished piano concerto. The opening work Bathtub Shrine, originally commemorating the death of William Harwood, is an elegy composed by Andres for the Yale Symphony. The WCFSO also presents Schumann’s Symphony No.

Orchestra Iowa, led by Timothy Hankewich, warms the stage with the fiery fifth symphony of Sibelius. Pianist and Iowa-native Conor Hanick joins the orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s fifth and final piano concerto, the Emperor. This program both opens and closes with references to the Freemasons: Mozart’s dark and serious funeral music was composed in memory of two fellow Masons, and a signed original manuscript of Sibelius’ most famous work, Finlandia, is housed at the Masonic Library of Iowa in Cedar Rapids.

Internationally-acclaimed educator and pianist Chiu-Ling Lin comes together with the Des Moines Symphony for an exciting performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Maurice Ravel. Paired with Mussorgsky’s work is a selection from the Des Moines Symphony’s “Beethoven: One-to-Nine” CD set. This series commemorates the orchestra’s feat of performing all nine Beethoven symphonies during their 2003-2004 season.

Nokuthula Ngwenyama joins the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra in their performance of two epic works based on the life experiences of Hector Berlioz, the “bad boy” of 19th century music. Ngwenyama stars on Harold en Italie, a unique tone poem-concerto inspired by its composer’s stay in Rome. The Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony’s own virtuoso musicians are showcased in Berlioz’s brilliant Symphonie Fantastique.

(Concert recorded Nov. 5, 2011)

Iowa Public Radio’s Jacqueline Halbloom and co-host University of  Iowa’s professor of voice, Dr. Katherine Eberle, present Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa in a live broadcast of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s performance of La Boheme, on location from the newly restored Paramount Theatre. As one of Puccini’s most frequently performed operas, La Boheme tells the story of, love and youthful idealism touched with darker elements of poverty, illness and tragedy. Puccini based the opera on Henri Murger’s novel, La Vie de Boheme.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony presents a special holiday concert with global sensation, The Texas Tenors. Former finalists on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” the trio is comprised of tenors John Hagen, Marcus Collins and JC Fisher.

Joined by Ballet Quad Cities, Orchestra Iowa presents a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Nutracker ballet. Tchaikovsky’s final ballet, The Nutcracker was first staged at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on December 18, 1892. It is based on E.T.A.

Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa presents Orchestra Iowa Chamber Players’ Opus Inauguration Chamber Concert. Following the floods of 2008, the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa was closed due to severe damage. In restoration, teams worked to replicate the designs of the first Paramount built in 1920.

Iowa Public Radio Classical's Performance Iowa series presents encore broadcasts of Orchestra Iowa's 2012 Brucemorchestra! program. Recorded from the front lawn of the historic Brucemore Estate in Cedar Rapids, this year's Brucemorchestra! program featured the American music of Gershwin, Grofé and Copland. Gershwin's impressionistic An American in Paris portrays the story of a young American, absorbing the sounds of French culture as he strolls down the streets of Paris.

Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa presents a live broadcast of eighteen year old piano phenomenon, Conrad Tao’s performance at the Gallagher–Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. As a Chinese-American born in Urbana, Illinois, he was found playing children’s songs on the piano when he was only eighteen months old, and gave his first recital not long after at the age of four.

To celebrate Veteran’s Day, Iowa Public Radio Classical's Performance Iowa will present an encore broadcast of the Des Moines Symphony's 18th Annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert. Titled A John Williams American Spectacular, the concert features Maestro Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra performing patriotic favorites, opening with the National Anthem, sung by Leah McIntire-Barnett, the winner of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s 2012 "Oh Say Can You Sing?" competition.

Iowa Public Radio concludes their Performance Iowa’s Opera in October series with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s 2012 production of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow. A wealthy widow struggles with where to invest her money. Written in 1905 by Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow tells the comical story of the well-to-do widow Hanna, wooed by Prince Danilo from the fictional country of Ponteverdo in an effort to save the country’s failing economy. Lehar’s score is full of luscious waltzes, including “Vilia” and “The Merry Widow Waltz.” Executive director Dr.

Iowa Public Radio concludes their Performance Iowa’s Opera in October series with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s 2012 production of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow. A wealthy widow struggles with where to invest her money. Written in 1905 by Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow tells the comical story of the well-to-do widow Hanna, wooed by Prince Danilo from the fictional country of Ponteverdo in an effort to save the country’s failing economy. Lehar’s score is full of luscious waltzes, including “Vilia” and “The Merry Widow Waltz.” Executive director Dr.

Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa’s Opera in October series presents the University of Northern Iowa School of Music’s-Opera Theatre presentation of Die Fledermaus. This New Year’s Eve farce is filled with revenge, comedy, seduction, false identities, romance, and politics. UNI students excelled performing Strauss II’s operetta melodies and waltzes. Composed in only forty-two nights, this libretto has enraptured audiences since its debut in 1874.

(Recorded March 31, 2011)

Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa presents Opera in October with the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2012 Fortieth Anniversary Festival Season performance of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. This epic tale set from Pushkin’s novel in verse, tells the fateful story of youthful Tatiana falling in love with the mysterious and self-absorbed Onegin. Tchaikovsky’s irresistible melodies and trademark dances reflect the Russian atmosphere of his homeland. The Des Moines Metro Opera joins with Ballet Des Moines to bring this magnificent work to life.

Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa features the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2012 performance of La Rondine (The Swallow.) Des Moines Metro Opera chose to bring this opera to life once again for their Fortieth Anniversary season after also performing it in their first year. The cast includes Joyce El-Khoury as Magda de Civry, making her Des Moines Metro Opera debut after being featured in Opera News and John Viscardi performing the poet Prunier.