Ongoing Coverage:

Composers

Classical
2:58 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Opera in October 2014 Kicks Off with Des Moines Metro Opera and Verdi's La Traviata

The cast of the Des Moines Metro Opera's production of Verdi's La Traviata.
Credit Des Moines Metro Opera

Iowa Public Radio’s Opera in October continues for its third year showcasing Opera performances in Iowa. The series kicks off with presentations of the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 42nd Festival Season on Saturday, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 5 at 8:00 p.m. 

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Classical
4:56 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

National Broadcast of "Rock Island Line" Friday

Composer Jacob Bancks of Augustana College, whose "Rock Island Line" will be broadcast nationally with the Quad City Symphony.

Earlier this year I posted about "Iowa orchestras making music about Iowa " - and one work discussed was Rock Island Line by Jacob Bancks, commissioned and premiered by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and broadcast on IPR's Symphonies of Iowa. Bancks, who teaches at Augustana College, told me that

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Classical
7:26 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

September IAS Features Symphony Seasons, Iowa Composers Forum Concert, Documentary Series, and more!

Maestro Joseph Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra.
Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

As summer winds down, Iowa’s arts scene is gearing up for another year of unforgettable performances. The September Iowa Arts Showcase outlines:

  • The Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 season, with Maestro Joseph Giunta
  •  The Iowa Composers Forum’s Fall Festival Concert on October 4, with ICF President and Luther College Resident Composer Brooke Joyce
  • The Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s 100th Anniversary Season, with executive director Ben Loeb
  • UNI’s William and Stephanie Clohesy Documentary Film Series, with acclaimed director and guest Lucy Walker
  • Hancher Auditorium’s 2014-15 season, with executive director Chuck Swanson

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Classical
11:07 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

Which IPR Stream Would Beethoven Listen To?

He would have cranked up his radio louder and louder as his hearing got worse, but there's no doubt that if public radio had existed, Beethoven would have been an addict. And according to Jan Swafford, "People who knew Beethoven said politics was his favorite subject." So in addition to IPR Classical, I'd bet LvB would have had a preset for IPR's News/Talk stream. Do you seriously think this man would have missed an episode of All Things Considered?

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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
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
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
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
10:00 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Mozart Soiree from WCFSO @7 PM

Travel back in time tonight to hear the WCFSymphony's re-creation of  a Mozart soiree, recorded live at Waterloo’s newly-restored Brown Derby Ballroom. The elegant interior was the perfect setting for an array of Mozartian gems, culminating in the Symphony no. 40. Soloists included soprano Suzanne Lommler and Artistic Director Jason Weinberger on clarinet. Jacqueline Halbloom hosts this Symphonies of Iowa broadcast.

Classical
3:43 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Happy Bach's sort-of Birthday!

It's Bach's Birthday! - or is it? The calendars in Eisenach on the day of his birth read March 21st, but back in 1685 Thuringians were  still using the Julian calendar, so our equivalent date is "March 31st," ("equivalent" in being about ten days after the vernal equinox). But old habits die hard, especially addictive ones, and Bach is by far my primary addiction. How about if we just party for ten days?

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Classical
11:08 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Hadelich Overcomes Injury, Attains Greatness

Violinist Augustin Hadelich in his new home city.
Credit Schmidt Artists

Doctors told 15-year-old violin prodigy Augustin Hadelich he would never play again. A tractor fire at his family's farm had badly burned his upper body, including his bowing arm. But after many months of physical therapy Hadelich came back - and now, at age 29, he has won top international awards, been entrusted with two consecutive Stradivarius violins, and earned praise from critics like Alex Ross, who wrote in The New Yorker that Hadelich has not only "fast-fingered brilliance" but also "the musicality and freewheeling fantasy that...

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Classical
6:40 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Renee's Rusalka (& O Say Was That 4/4?)

Renee Fleming as Rusalka in Dvorak's opera at the Metropolitan Opera
Credit Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

How do you top a Super Bowl triumph? Renee Fleming does it by returning to a signature role - the love-struck sprite Rusalka in Dvorak's beautiful opera. Saturday at noon you can hear it live from the Metropolitan Opera on IPR  - OR watch it live in HD video in theaters in Ames, Cedar Falls, Davenport, Dubuque, Des Moines, Grinnell, and Iowa City.

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Classical Music
5:18 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Iowa Symphonies Evolve to Survive

Orchestra Iowa

When Barney Sherman started planning his career in classical music, his supervisor told him, “Don’t even think about it, classical music is dying…the stations are closing, everyone’s looking for another career, it’s over.” But, 23 years later, Sherman is a Senior Music Producer at Iowa Public Radio, and Iowa’s classical industry is thriving.

Not that Iowa’s symphonies have not gone through some evolution.

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Classical
5:43 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

"Opal" Sneak Preview Live @Noon Today!

Pages from the diary of Opal Whitely, used as the basis of Robert Lindsey-Nassif's award-winning musical "Opal

Join us at noon for a live sneak preview of Opal, by Iowa’s own Robert Lindsey-Nassif - who has composed eight new songs  for his acclaimed musical and re-orchestrated it for its Midwest premiere (at CSPS in Cedar Rapids). Jacqueline Halbloom will host Robert and members of the cast; they'll perform selections and tell us more about the story of Opal Whitely, who was orphaned in a shipwreck and raised in an Oregon lumber camp, and grew up to be a well-known nature writer.

Symphonies of Iowa
6:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Symphonies of Iowa presents Orchestra Iowa's "Bachtoberfest"

Credit Orchestra Iowa

Join us Monday at 7PM as the 2013-2014 Symphonies of Iowa season opens with Orchestra Iowa's "Bachtoberfest." The concert, which pays tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach, opens with his Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, originally for organ but orchestrated by Lucien Cailliet. It is followed by a  tribute to the master by Timothy Kramer, BACH meets EsCHer. It closes with Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major and Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, the"Reformation," which was strongly influenced by that composer's love of Bach. 

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Classical
9:36 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Blechacz Featured on Performance Today

Rafał Blechacz, the 28-year-old Polish pianist who was just named the 2014 Gilmore Artist.
Credit Felix Broede via Deutsche Grammophon

Tune in at 5 PM Tuesday to hear the pianist everyone is talking about playing Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven - and to learn how to pronounce his name! Rafal Blechacz (who won all five first prizes at the International Chopin Competion in 2005) was just named the 2014 Gilmore Artist. What's unique about this $300,000 award, given every four years, is that recipients don't even know they are under consideration until they win. Also, in the second hour of PT, hear Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra perform Beethoven's Second Symphony at Carnegie Hall.

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Classical
7:13 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

New Met "Fledermaus" (Klimt meets Shtick!)

Susanna Phillips and Christopher Maltman in the new Met production of Johann Strauss, Jr.'s 'Die Fledermaus.'
Credit Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Join us Saturday at noon to hear the Met production everyone's talking about: a Klimt-inspired update of Johann Strauss Jr.'s screwball farce "Die Fledermaus." A new English translation features jokey rhymes and topical swipes, and Broadway's Danny Burstein brings on the shtick as Frosch, the tipsy jailer. This being the Met, you can count on glorious voices and, from the orchestra, a "honeyed tone" (New York Times).

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Classical
3:42 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

"American Gothic" World Premiere Monday

Credit Orchestra Iowa

Tune in Monday at 7PM to hear a musical high point of 2013: Orchestra Iowa's world premiere of "American Gothic," which it commissioned from composer Michael Daugherty. A Cedar Rapids native who has won international fame and multiple Grammy awards, Daugherty took his inspiration from the art of another Cedar Rapids native, Grant Wood. Orchestra Iowa is just now releasing a CD of the work, but you can re-audition the concert premiere on this Symphonies of Iowa rebroadcast, which also includes the Dvorak 7th Symphony and Rachmaninoff's The Rock. 

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Classical
11:22 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Taymor/ Glover "Magic Flute" from Met

Conductor Jane Glover
Credit Music of the Baroque

Tune in Saturday at noon as Julie Taymor's innovative production of "The Magic Flute" returns to the Met - conducted by master Mozartian Jane Glover in her Met debut. (She is only the third woman to conduct there.)

Classical
1:19 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Boston Baroque's Bach New Year at 2PM

Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman, and singers.
Credit Julian Bullitt c/o Boston Baroque

Continue New Year's festivities at 2PM on IPR Classical with Boston Baroque's annual Bach New Year concert from Cambridge, MA. The music this year includes the Brandenburg Concertos no. 3 and 4, plus the lovely Wedding Cantata and the delightful Coffee Cantata. (Spoiler alert: the father relents and gives his daughter permission to drink this radical new beverage!) Martin Pearlman conducts the ensemble he founded 40 years ago.

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Classical
11:09 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Britten Serenade, Spring Symphony from NY

Benjamin Britten
Credit wikipedia

Join us Thursday at 7PM as the New York Philharmonic performs two masterpieces of Benjamin Britten to honor his centennial. In both works, Britten took his texts from great English poets: Tennyson, Keats, Blake and others in the Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, and Milton, Blake, Spenser, Auden among others in the Spring Symphony. Alan Gilbert conducts, and the soloists include soprano Kate Royal and tenor Paul Appleby (fresh from his success at the Met in Nico Muhly's Two Boys).

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Classical
9:42 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

St. Olaf, Stile Antico, Handel, and more!

The St. Olaf Viking Chorus at the St. Olaf Christmas Concert
Credit American Public Media

The perfect Christmas music continues December 25th  on IPR Classical with: Chanticleer at 8AM; the St. Olaf Christmas Festival at 9AM; Stile Antico singing luminous Elizabethan music of Thomas Tallis and Willian Byrd at 11, followed by Chicago’s Music of the Baroque at noon with glorious music not just from the Baroque but also from modern Estonia and England. Then, at 2PM, hear a complete Handel “Messiah” from Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society led by Harry Christophers.

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Classical
5:16 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

"Nutcracker," Bach, Handel & More Monday!

Ballet Quad Cities performing the Nutcracker.
Credit Orchestraiowa.com

Join us Monday at 7PM to hear Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, recorded earlier this month in Cedar Rapids, featuring Orchestra Iowa in collaboration with Ballet Quad Cities. Earlier, at 3 PM, tune in for "A Carol Festival" from Valparaiso University, followed at 4 by "Glad Tidings of Great Joy," with music of Bach, Purcell, and others from Medieval Germany through Baroque Germany, all performed by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis and the Early Music Institute of the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, directed by Paul Elliott.

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Classical Music in the Afternoon
4:13 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Favorite Classical CDs of 2013

When I spoke with Charity Nebbe about favorite classical CDs of 2013, time was short, so I cut my list to 10 that I thought might appeal to the widest range of listeners. But my actual list is much longer.

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Classical
10:26 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

"Excellent" Handel "Messiah" from NY

Handel, about 22 years before he composed Messiah
Credit wikipedia

Tune in Thursday at 7PM for the first of several "Messiahs" this month on IPR - this one a highly praised concert by the New York Philharmonic under Gary Thor Wedow. The New York Times called it "excellent, with "a fleet, lithe orchestral performance, aptly complemented by the buoyant singing of the chorus." The Times also raved about some of the soloists, and said that "the audience, standing for the Hallelujah Chorus, applauded and cheered at the end of that section."

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Classical
2:40 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Bach, Handel & more: wcfso Xmas Concert

Jason Weinberger and the wfcsymphony in rehearsal
Credit Noah Henscheid, from wcfso.org

Join us Monday at 7PM as Jason Weinberger and the wcfsymphony perform Christmas (and other) music of Bach, Handel, and Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The Bach includes selections from his cantatas and his Christmas Oratorio, plus the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 with Kathleen Sihler and Ute Brandenburg on violas. Music from Handel's Messiah and Charpentier's Noëls round out the festivities. Guest vocalists include Jeff Brich, Elizabeth Bieber, and Kaethe Henning.

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Classical
8:30 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Verdi's Falstaff with Met/Levine, Carsen

"Everyone plays the fool, and he who laughs last laughs best" - the final chorus of Verdi's Falstaff from the Met's new production
Credit Photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera

Tune in at noon to hear how Verdi improves on Shakespeare in the comic masterpiece Falstaff,  premiered when the composer was 80.  James Levine conducts Falstaff better than anyone else, and Robert Carsen's new Met production (updating the action to postwar England) is winning raves, as is Ambrogio Maestri - the 6' 5" Italian baritone who, says, the New York Times, "simply owns the role of Falstaff."

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Classical
9:45 am
Wed December 11, 2013

2013's Top Classical CD's: Barney Talks w. Charity

Dawn Upshaw and Maria Schneider, "Winter Morning Walks" - one of our choices for best CDs of 2013.

Its' been a great year for classical CDs! At 10:30, Barney Sherman will share ten (plus one) of his picks of the year with Charity Nebbe on Talk of Iowa - and playing many more than ten on his show every afternoon. If you have any particular favorite classical CDs of the year, please let us know!

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Classical
5:07 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

"The Nutcracker": Join Us Behind the Scenes

Credit Michael O'Brien Photography from flickr.com

Join us Monday at 7PM for "A Journey Through the Nutcracker." James David Jacobs goes behind the scenes of Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker, uncovering the secrets of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece with conductor Jonathan McPhee, cast members, and the audience at the Boston Opera House.

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