Classical

Iowa State University

While we may need to wait a little longer for spring, this month’s Iowa Arts Showcase includes plenty of events to get you through the last weeks of winter. The March showcase includes:

  • Chuck Ginnever’s traveling “Rashomon” sculpture collection, currently located in the courtyard of Iowa State University’s Food Science Building, with Iowa State’s Campus Outreach and Exhibition Coordinator, Kate Greder and ISU’s Museum Interpretation Specialist Dave Faux
  • Pianist Joel Fan, sharing details about his upcoming performances with the Quad City Symphony
  • The 2015 Iowa Composers Forum Spring New Music Festival, with UNI Theory and Composition Professors Alan Schmitz and Jonathan Schwabe coordinated with a visit by internationally acclaimed composer Jake Heggie
  • Jerry Owen, Coe College Professor of Music Emeritus, touting his 70th Birthday Celebration Concert
  • And the 10th Annual Mission Creek Festival, with co-founder and director Andre Perry

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Today at 2PM you have a rare chance to experience a live performance of Handel's great oratorio, "Esther." Then, stay after for a reception and meet IPR's  Jacqueline Halbloom and Curt Snook. In "Esther," Handel wrote some of his most inspiring music to tell the story of the Jewish Queen of Persia whose courageous action saved her people from genocide.

Orchestra Iowa

Featured members of Orchestra Iowa perform chamber pieces on this week’s Symphonies of Iowa broadcast. The concert opens with Prokofiev’s lyrical Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 56 featuring Madeline Capistran and Anita Tucker. 

Francaix’s contrastingly witty and sweet Quartet for English Horn, Violin, Viola, and Cello, with Jillian Camwell on English Horn, Capistran again on the violin, Lisa Ponton on the viola, and Carey Bostian on Cello. The concert concludes with Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3 “Rasumovsky.”

Do classical players focus too much on the written notes for the good of the music? Simone Dinnerstein explained why she thinks so when we talked last week.

Roland Ferrie / UNI University Relations

Instead of disclosing their program in advance, the wcfsymphony shook things up in their “Surprise” concert by presenting a blank program and revealing their musical selections from the stage. The opening work by Ted Hearne was described as a “rambunctious piece…based entirely on a surprise musical trick,” later revealed as his Erasure Scherzo

MolinaVisuals

This week on Symphonies of Iowa, the Des Moines Symphony presents their “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons”all-Italian concert. Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino kicks off the concert with a powerful flourish. 

Chad Johnston

This week's Symphonies of Iowa broadcast features Orchestra Iowa’s “Symphonie Fantastique” concert. The concert opens with Schumann’s Manfred Overture, the incidental music to the poem Manfred by Lord Byron. 

Tony Dehner

The United States Air Force Midwest Winds Woodwind Quintet visited Studio One for a special live broadcast on Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at noon. Comprised of members of the USAF Band of Mid-America, the ensemble features Senior Airman Rachel Maclary, flute; Staff Sergeant Jennifer Kost, oboe; Senior Airman Craig Buying, clarinet; Senior Airman Sara Garing, bassoon; and Master Sergeant Peter Hensel, French Horn. 

Simpson College Opera

February brings more than just Valentine’s Day this year, with a medley of arts events across the state. This month’s Iowa Arts Showcase features:

  • Simpson College Opera’s Spring production of “La Calisto” with Simpson’s Assistant Professor of Music, Dr. Bernard McDonald and Simpson Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Jennifer Williams Brown
  • University of Northern Iowa’s Tallcorn Jazz Festival and 64th Annual Sinfonian Dimension in Jazz Concert, with UNI Director of Jazz Studies, Chris Merz, and Tallcorn Jazz Festival Chairman, Paul Lichty
  • Des Moines Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Fine Arts Series, featuring Katori Hall’s play “The Mountaintop” produced by John Cook, Minister of Music and Fine Arts
  • The new Iowa-based non-profit musical consortium, ConcertIA, and their performances of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” with artistic director Shari Rhoads
  • And the upcoming State Symphony of Mexico concert presented by Iowa State Center with Sara Compton, Iowa State Center Outreach Coordinator, and Karl Gwiasda, President of the Ames International Orchestra Festival Association board

Noah Henscheid

The wcfsymphony shares their Sounds American Festival with an exciting concert featuring a wide array of American musical styles. The program begins with Adam Schoenberg’s American Symphony, which was inspired by the world’s hope for a brighter future during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. 

Julia Wesely

Join Iowa Public Radio and the Des Moines Symphony in kicking off their 2015 broadcast season of Symphonies of Iowa with the DMSO’s “Masterworks 1: Season Debut—The Firebird” concert. 

operaomnia

[UPDATED Jan 18: Expanded to include 36 publications and over 100 critics - yielding some new rankings:] What were the best classical releases of 2014? Don't ask me!- or any one person alone. After all, thousands of releases came out last year, and nobody had the time or money to listen to every contender. Besides, we're more likely to hear about artists from our own necks of the woods. And that neck is defined not only geographically but also musically, since most critics have specialized tastes and expertise. 

Nicholas Carlo

Iowa Public Radio’s Studio One presented a sneak peek on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 of the upcoming Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s weekend performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Nicholas Carlo

Iowa Public Radio is pleased to bring you a live broadcast of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The opera revolves around the womanizing scoundrel Don Giovanni (fashioned after the legendary Don Juan). The performance, under the baton of the CROT’s founder and artistic director Daniel Kleinknecht, along with University of Oklahoma professor and guest director William Ferrara, provides a mixture of comedy and tragedy. 

Editor's note: it's a pleasure to offer another in our series of classical reviews by IPR's panel of guest experts - this one by Dubuque native, cellist, author, and Boston Public Radio producer Will Roseliep (see below for his bio and links).

Another new year means another excellent season of Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa. Tune in on Sundays at 4 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m. to hear Iowa’s symphonies performing spectacular concerts with a diverse repertoire. Check IPR’s Symphonies of Iowa page each week to read an overview of that week’s concert. Please see the list below and mark your calendars with all of Iowa Public Radio’s 2015 Symphonies of Iowa broadcasts.

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Jean Sibelius "created Finnish national identity in music." Asked to characterize their culture, Finns "invariably mention… ‘our Sibelius.’” But

Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre

Iowa Public Radio is pleased to bring you two special live broadcasts this January featuring the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The first broadcast showcases several cast members in a snapshot Studio One performance on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at noon. The second is Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa live broadcast of the opera from the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

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.
Indiana University School of Music

Where can you hear a full hour of Baroque Christmas music by Manuel de Sumaya - the greatest Mexican composer of the era? And the St. Olaf Christmas Festival? And Handel's Messiah led by one America's foremost choral conductors, Betsy Burleigh? (That's her picture.) You got it - on IPR Classical! Here's our Christmas Day classical schedule:

Christoph Müller-Girod / Chor.com via Flickr

After wcfso's Messiah and the live Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, IPR Classical's Christmas Eve programming continues all day and evening with everything from Brubeck to Whitacre - including some outstanding Iowa events!

 

Since 1918 - a month after the Armistice - King's College, Cambridge has celebrated Christmas Eve with "A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols." And since 1928  - even during World War II, when the stained glass windows had to be removed for safety - the event has been broadcast live. You can hear the 2014 Festival as it happens on (what for us is ) Wednesday at 9 AM on IPR Classical. The Festival was meant to be innovative, so every year , in addition to old favorites, the choir commissions a new choral piece.

wcfsymphony

IPR's Holiday programming continues with two homegrown Iowa classics: from Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Handel's Messiah with the wcfso and Metropolitan Choir (at 7 PM), and from Decorah, this year's "Christmas at Luther" broadcast, titled "And on Earth, Peace" (at 8 PM).  The Messiah excerpts were recorded at a community sing held at the Gallagher-Bluedorn last weekend - join us for the highlights at 7!

wikipedia

I was working on a post about a fascinating footnote to American cultural history: that half of our popular Christmas songs were written by my people, the Jews.  Before I'd made it through the first draft, I tuned to Iowa Public Radio and discovered that I'd been scooped by Here & Now, to which I can only say, "Phew!" Here is their "A Goyische Christmas to You," about a show done annually by pianist/vocal coach extraordinaire Steven Blier.

Orchestra Iowa

Join Iowa Public Radio and Orchestra Iowa in celebrating this year's winter celebrations with Orchestra Iowa's 2013 Holiday Spectacular concert on Saturday, December 20 at 4 p.m., Sunday, December 21 at 3 p.m., and again on Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. Orchestra Iowa performs holiday favorites including Carol of the Bells, Leroy Anderson's A Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride, and carols like The First Noel, Angels We Have Heard on High, and Deck the Halls.

wcfsymphony

      Please join Iowa Public Radio Classical as they ring in the holidays with selections from Handel’s famous oratorio, The Messiah. The wcfsymphony and Metropolitan Chorale joined forces to present their SING concert, which was led by the wcfsymphony’s Artistic Director and Conductor Jason Weinberger. This concert was to commemorate the Metropolitan Chorale’s 60th Anniversary and the wcfsymphony’s 85th. Guest soloists for the program were Leia Lensing and Megan Grey, University of Northern Iowa students.

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.

Antonio Stradivari, the master violin maker whose instruments sell for millions of dollars today, has been dead for nearly three centuries. Only 650 of his instruments are estimated to survive.

But the forest where the luthier got his lumber is alive and well. And thanks to the surprising teamwork of modern instrument makers and forest rangers, Stradivari's trees are doing better than ever.

Iowa Public Radio is pleased to present the final Symphonies of Iowa broadcast for 2014. The encore broadcast will feature the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks 7: Season Finale – Brahms, Grosvenor & Afternoon of a Faun performance. This statewide broadcast can be heard Monday, December 8 at 7 p.m.  Tune in to hear The Des Moines Symphony’s triumphant final concert of their 2013-2014 season. The program opens with Roman Carnival Overture.

Margareta Mitchell

In 2014, two American composers whose name begin with "John" and end with "Adams" were surprised to find themselves in front-page headlines. One of them,  John Luther Adams, says he never imagined that he'd win the Pulitzer Prize - but it was bestowed in April on his orchestral work Become Ocean (here's the All Things Considered story).

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