Iowa ensembles

Des Moines Metro Opera

Iowa Public Radio’s Arias in April returns once again to showcase Opera performances in Iowa. The series kicks off with presentations of the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 42nd Festival Season on Saturday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 5 at 10:00 p.m. 

Des Moines Metro Opera

Iowa Public Radio’s Arias in April program is back with a month of exciting Iowa-produced operas. Our series features the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2014 summer season and productions by Luther College Opera and the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. 

Iowa State Center

Updated 1/30/2015: André Watts, interviewed prior to his planned performance with the Des Moines Civic Music Association, will be unable to perform on the 31st due to a sudden illness. The Civic Music Association is coordinating further details. The original post continues below.

Ring in the New Year with a host of Iowa arts events around the state. The January Iowa Arts Showcase features:

  • Dr. Don Simonson, ISU’s Professor of Music and Voice Division Chair, and Sara Compton, the Outreach Coordinator for Iowa State Center, talking about the Metropolitan Opera National Council Iowa District Auditions
  • Captain Jason Plosch, Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America from the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, discussing upcoming Iowa concerts featuring the Midwest Winds Woodwind Quintet
  • Operatic star Sydney Mancasola, sharing details about her career and her January 11th recital hosted by the Des Moines Metro Opera Guild
  • Internationally acclaimed pianist, André Watts, outlining his upcoming January performance celebrating  the 90th Anniversary of the Des Moines Civic Music Association
  • And William Ferrara, the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s guest stage director, revealing details about the CROT’s January production of Mozart’s, Don Giovanni.

Des Moines Metro Opera

This Christmas Eve, settle in with a cup of egg nog or hot chocolate as Iowa Public Radio brings you a holiday classic, Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. Performed by the Des Moines Metro Opera and recorded in December of 2013. This one act opera depicts the three Wise Men stopping for shelter at the home of a poor mother and her crippled son, Amahl, as they journey to find the newborn Child. Soprano Julie Makerov performs the role of the mother, and middle school boy soprano Pierce Mansfield portrays her son, Amahl. Bass-baritone W.

Orchestra Iowa

Don’t forget to include Iowa Public Radio Classical in your Thanksgiving celebration this year, as we present a rebroadcast of Orchestra Iowa’s 2014 Brucemorchestra concert. Our Performance Iowa broadcast will air on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

Fan of classical music? Most likely, the answer is no. Pianist George Lepauw is trying to change that.

Des Moines Metro Opera

This week on Iowa Public Radio’s Opera in October, the Des Moines Metro Opera provides glorious singing and musical mayhem with Rossini’s comedic Le Comte Ory. Their 42nd Festival Season production of Le Comte Ory will air at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 18 and 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 19.

Des Moines Metro Opera

This summer the Des Moines Metro Opera presented their 42nd Festival Season at Blank Center for the Performing Arts on the Simpson College campus in Indianola. The mainstage performances included Verdi’s La Traviata, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Rossini’s Le Comte Ory. Heggie’s work, based on the book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, tells the story of a nun acting as a spiritual guide to a death-row inmate who was found guilty of murder. It offers a haunting inside look at capital punishment in America. Here is what Opera News and Opera Today had to say about the Des Moines Metro Opera's production:

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. 

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

One week from today (Sept. 12), a commemoration begins for the song most-identified with America. It’s the bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner and Iowans are getting ready for the nationwide observance. IPR’s Rick Fredericksen has the story, with a technical assist from John Pemble.

Carl Bromberg / Visions Photography

Live from the front lawn of Brucemore mansion in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa is pleased to bring you Orchestra Iowa’s Brucemorchestra! An American Salute concert on Sunday, September 7 at 7:00 p.m. 

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.  

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!

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):

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.

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. 

 

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:

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.

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.

Iowa's orchestras are commissioning works about Iowa; but how can music without words convey anything about a place? Some examples:

Mitch Huang

Iowa Public Radio presents the Symphonies of Iowa series, this week, Sunday, March 16, 2014 at noon and Monday, March 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.,  presenting Orchestra Iowa’s Showcase Chamber Concert entitled Ice Fishing. Opening this concert is a piece by Iowa’s own Michael Gilbertson, Fold by Fold for Piano, Violin, and Cello. This ballet premiered at the Julliard School with seven dancers along with the musicians. Crusell’s Quartet No. 1 in E-flat Major for Clarinet, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op.

Orchestra Iowa

Join us Sunday at noon or Monday at 7PM as Orchestra Iowa performs "the apotheosis of the dance" - Beethoven's wildly inspired Seventh Symphony - preceded by two neglected Italian masterpieces. Nino Rota is best known for his film scores for Fellini and Coppola, but was even more important as a concert composer, and double-bass virtuoso Volkan Orhon shows what we've been missing in the Divertimento Concertante. And Giuseppe Martucci's Nocturne is an inexplicably neglected beauty, as Tim Hankewich and the orchestra demonstrate in this concert recorded at the Paramount in Cedar Rapids.

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