Classical

Tune in at 3pm for a live in-studio concert of Renaissance music by the NY-based group Fathom.  Its six members, including two Iowans, have distinguished careers in early music (and in some cases, new music as well). They are:

Rob Mercier

  Join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for Orchestra Iowa’s Beauty and Beethoven concert from their 2013-2014 season Sunday, March 2, 2014 at noon and Monday, March 3, 2014 at 7 p.m. This performance includes Italian composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher, Giuseppe Martucci’s Notturno, Op. 70. Also performed is Rota’s virtuosic double bass work entitled Divertimento Concertante with internationally acclaimed Volkan Orhon soloing. Polishing off the concert is Beethoven’s Symphony No.

nadiasirota.com

At 4 PM Tuesday, go behind the scenes at Iowa Public Radio's studios on the UNI campus for a live taping with wcfsymphony soloist and musical explorer Nadia Sirota. IPR on-air personalities will lead you on a tour of the recently renovated studios, followed by a talk-and-play taping with Nadia (to be broadcast later). Sirota is a leading new music advocate, who next weekend will perform “beautiful music of a higher order than anything else you will hear this year,” with the wcfsymphony.

Orchestra Iowa

If you missed wcfsymphony’s deeply moving commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the pogrom that marked the beginning of the Final Solution, join us for a rebroadcast Monday night. On the broadcast, music director Jason Weinberger (who conceived of and organized the event) tells Jacqueline Halbloom about his grandparents, all four of whom survived Nazi camps.

wcfsymphony

Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa presents a collaborative performance spearheaded by the wcfsymphony and the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at noon and Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7 p.m. Jason Weinberger, wcfsymphony’s artistic director and CEO, shares the stories about his two sets of grandparents and their survivals in Nazi camps during the Holocaust and his deep interest in music connected to those unspeakable times.

Quick: define “classical music.”  It may sound easy, but most of my attempts have been dead ends. They don't get you to much of the music. Later I’ll discuss a definition that I think works - it covers everything, and helps explain why classical music matters to us. But first let me give you a tour of some of the blind alleys.

Des Moines Symphony

Hear Joe Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony in Ralph Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and a lesser-known gem, based on Scottish folk melodies, Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. The soloist in the Bruch is the award-winning young Japanese violinist Fumiaki Miura. Also on the program: Wagner's Rienzi Overture and Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier suite. The broadcast, on Sunday at 12 noon and Monday at 7PM, is part of our Symphonies of Iowa series, produced and hosted by Jacqueline Halbloom.

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Richard Strauss scored "Die Frau ohne Schatten" for, count 'em, 164 instruments; the percussion alone include "glass harmonica, 4 timpani, 5 Chinese gongs, cymbals, snare drum, rute, sleigh bells, bass drum, tenor drum, big field drum, triangle, tambourine, 2 castanets, tamtam, whip (slapstick), xylophone, glockenspiel, bells, 2 celestas." Budgets alone would make performance rare, as do scenery challenges (like a golden waterfall and, we're not making this up, children singing out of a frying pan).

S. Takehana

  Join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra’s performance with Fumiaki Miura, a young Japanese violinist as he makes his debut with the Des Moines Symphony.  Miuara, winner of the international Joseph Joachim Violin Competition will join the symphony for an inspiring performance of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. Also included on this program is Strauss’s romantic Suite from Der Rosenkavalier.

Featuring:
Joseph Giunta, conductor
Fumiaki Miura, guest violin

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...

Wikipedia

Join us tonight at 7 to hear Orchestra Iowa principal players delight with masterpieces for horn by Haydn and Mozart and a supreme works for string by Brahms. Principal horn Andy Harris shines in a Divertimento by Haydn and the Horn Quintet by Mozart; he's joined by the orchestra's new concertmaster Luke Witchger and by Karla Galva,  violist Lisa Ponton, cellist Carey Bostian, and double-bassist Volkon Orhan. Then five strings players come together for the masterpiece that Brahms meant to be his final work - his  String Quintet no. 2.

October-December 2014 SYMPHONIES OF IOWA Broadcasts:

October 6, 2014: Broadcast of Orchestra Iowa's "Resurrection." Recorded March 8, 2014.

October 13, 2014: Broadcast of the Des Moines Symphony's "The Moldau & Dvorak." Recorded March 15 and 16, 2014.

October 20, 2014: Broadcast of the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony's "Spaces: Mahler 1 and World Premiere." Recorded April 5, 2014.

October 27, 2014: Broadcast of the Des Moines Symphony's "Giunta Conducts Beethoven: 'Eroica.'" Recorded April 12 and 13, 2014.

Orchestra Iowa

Tune in Sunday at noon or Monday at 7PM as four Orchestra Iowa members perform overlooked gems by Mozart, Schubert and Faure. They start with an unfinished String Trio by the teenage Schubert, continue with a Piano Trio in C major that Mozart wrote while working on his "Jupiter" Symphony, then come together for a powerful Piano Quartet in G Minor by Faure, his second. The four superb soloists -  violinist Xian Meng, violist Lisa Ponton, cellist Carey Bostian, and pianist Miko Kominami  - were recorded last September as part of IPR's Symphonies of Iowa series.

Heartland Concert Artists

Join Jacqueline Halbloom at 5PM as Iowa Arts Showcase finds out about the Tallcorn Jazz Festival, a Kurt Weill show with poetry by Langston Hughes, and more.  We'll hear about the festival from a headliner, Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera, and from Chris Merz, UNI's Director of Jazz Studies. Celeste Bembry of UNI (who toured worldwide with the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers) fills us in on Black History Month, and Bernard McDonald of Simpson tells us about their upcoming production of Weill's Street Scene.

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.

Photo by Ciuin Ferrin; used with permission

With all eyes on Sochi, here's a little IPR extra for the ears: two masters of the Russian 7-string guitar, Oleg Timofeyev and Vadim Kolpakov, who came into our studios last November to play original and traditional music. They told me about composing Roma music in Moscow, performing with Eugene Hutz at Madonna's birthday party, and reading a scene in Dostoevsky that connects Roma and Klezmer musicians. And they demonstrated the special sound and style of their instruments.

Orchestra Iowa

The first Orchestra Iowa Chamber concert of the 2013-2014 season, entitled Fall Romance, includes the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Brahms. This program features violinists Luke Witchger and Karla Galva, violists Lisa Ponton and Amanda Grimm, cellist Carey Bostian, bass Volkan Orhon, and Charles Harris on horn. Please join Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa for our broadcast of Orchestra Iowa’s Showcase Chamber Fall Romance performance.

Dennis Callahan

Last year,  Jeremy Denk won a MacArthur "Genius" fellowship, published a memoir in the New Yorker, signed a contract with Random House to expand that article into a book,  and - oh, yes - won a place on IPR's "Favorite Classical CDs of 2013" list for his recording of Bach's "Goldberg Variations." All of this makes us eager to hear him play one of Mozart's most celebrated piano concertos, no. 25 in C major.

Heartland Concert Artists

Iowa Public Radio’s February Edition of the Iowa Arts Showcase provides a front row seat to the University of Northern Iowa’s Tallcorn Jazz Festival and Sinfonian Dimensions in Jazz with guest artist Nachito Herrera. Iowa Public Radio’s Jacqueline Halbloom sits down with Herrera to discuss his early introduction to the world of classical and jazz piano along with his experience as an educator.  

The wcfsymphony took risks in this year's season opener - and they worked! Hear the result as conductor Jason Weinberger solos on clarinet in Steve Reich’s pulsating New York Counterpoint, Iowa-born pianist Conor Hanick plays John Adams’ Century Rolls, and the orchestra rocks Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory and Ravel’s Bolero. Hear the concert Monday at 7PM on Symphonies of Iowa, hosted by Jacqueline Halbloom.

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Anthony Minghella, after directing "The English Patient" and "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," turned his talents to Puccini's "Madame Butterfly"  - that "cross-cultural tragedy" of "devotion and irresponsibility and misunderstandings willful and innocent." Few operas are as difficult to bring off and Minghella's spare production made it "take wing." Hear it from the Met today at noon.

Andy Doe, properdiscord.com

Last month on Talk of Iowa, IPR’s Charity Nebbe hosted four Iowa music directors–

Josh Wool

The wcfsymphony takes the stage with flair in this week's Symphonies of Iowa on Iowa Public Radio. Special guest pianist and Iowa native Conor Hanick joins the orchestra to perform John Adams Century Rolls. Inspired by the edgy and rhythmic sound of piano rolls on a player-piano, the piano concerto quotes composers such as Ravel, Debussy, Gershwin, and Fats Waller amidst the musical image of an orchestra "aligned amongst the cogs and wheels of a bustling rhythmic machine." 

94 Years After Death, Maud Powell Wins Grammy

Jan 26, 2014
Maud Powell Society

This year at the Grammy Awards, Lifetime Achievement awards are going to bands like The Beatles and The Isley Brothers — long overdue, you could say. But they look like young punks next to another Lifetime Achievement recipient: Maud Powell.

Courtesy the artist

Join us tonight at 7 PM as Joseph Giunta begins his 25th season leading the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra with an all-Russian program. It features his favorite post-Romantic symphony - Rachmaninov's Second- plus the return to Des Moines of  Ilya Yakushev, a prize-winning Russian pianist, who plays Prokofiev's scintillating Third Concerto. The broadcast is part of our Symphonies of Iowa series, produced and hosted by Jacqueline Halbloom.

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Flu kept Russian mega-diva Anna Netrebko from opening the Met's "Elixir of Love" earlier this month - but she's back, and, says the New York Times, she's "right in the zone, singing with plushness, brilliance and spontaneity. She truly inhabited the role of Adina." And Netrebko's ex, bass-baritone Erwin Schrott, "stole every scene he was in" as the quack doctor who tries to peddle snake oil in her little town.

This week on Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa, internationally renowned pianist Ilya Yakushev takes the stage with Maestro Joseph Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony in their 76th season debut program, From Russia With Ilya

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.

In Iowa Public Radio's Studio One, Robert Lindsey-Nassif and members of the CSPS Opal cast along with Iowa Public Radio’s Jacqueline Halbloom explore Lindsey Nassif’s critically-acclaimed musical, Opal. Iowa native Lindsey-Nassif, the composer, librettist, and director shares the background behind this unique riches-to-rags story of Opal Whiteley, a seven-year-old girl orphaned in a ship wreck and raised in an Oregon lumber camp. 

Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre

Join us Sunday to hear Bizet's Carmen in the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre's new production live from the Paramount. Iowa native Janara Kellerman sings the title role of the gypsy seductress, Alok Kumar plays the love-struck Don José, and baritone Philip Torre appears as the toreador Escamillo. Music director Daniel Kleinknecht conducts Orchestra Iowa, and Jacqueline Halbloom hosts this live Performance Iowa special. 

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