Iowa Public Radio’s Opera in October series comes to a dramatic close with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s thrilling performance of Bizet’s Carmen. Their production, originally broadcast in January of this year at the Parmount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, will air at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 1st and 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 2nd on IPR Classical.

Luther College

Opera in October features a Puccini double header this weekend with Opera at Luther’s productions of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, airing on Saturday, October 25 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 26 at 8:00 p.m.

Steve Bowbrick via

His series on the 50 greatest symphonies is unsurpassed; his guide to contemporary music is unequaled; his book on conductors, Music as Alchemy, is the best of its genre. Tom Service is among the finest music writers

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

This week’s Opera in October features the Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, performed by the Des Moines Metro Opera as part of their 42nd Festival Season, airing at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 11 and 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 12.

When the Folias Duo came to Iowa, the husband-wife pair's first stop was Cedar Falls, where they played a live set in IPR Classical's Studio Two. They'd been on the road for seven hours, but their zest was irresistible. Try it: here's a video of their IPR performance of Cumparsita Vals,  a waltz-time reimagining of the classic tango La Cumparsita by Argentine composer Pablo Aslan:

Sunday Baroque

Every Sunday morning  Suzanne Bona brings us gems from before Mozart on  Sunday Baroque and Barney Sherman follows with four hours of great music.

Jamie Horter

All the fall arts events are in full swing this month as we bring you another edition of the Iowa Arts Showcase on Iowa Public Radio Classical. October features:

  • Carl Homstad, artist and participant in the Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour
  • Patrick Hicks, author and guest of the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education
  • Bernard McDonald and Jennifer Nostrala, directors of Simpson College’s production of “Carousel”
  • Van Cliburn Silver Medalist Beatrice Rana
  • Steve Carignan, executive director of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center

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. 

Sheila Rock for EMI Classics

Last year the Qatar Philharmonic made headlines when it hired Han-Na Chang to be its music director. The South Korean woman raised the ensemble to international standards, and its London debut earlier this month got rave reviews. Then, hours afterwards, Chang quit, citing “persistent administrative difficulties and irreconcilable artistic differences with the management.” You can hear the concert that won over London tonight at 7 on IPRClassical.

Iowa's orchestras, choirs, bands, & operas are awesome, but let's not forget our chamber music! Tune in 7AM Saturday or 8PM Sunday to hear two recent highlight from the Ames Town & Gown Chamber Music Association, now in its 65th season.

Stephen Danelian

Join Krista Tippett at this link to hear Yo-Yo Ma "share his philosophy of curiosity about life and of performance as hospitality." This episode of On Being is a must for every music lover!

Presidential hopefuls need to clear all kinds of hurdles. Some are unique to politics, but one is familiar to every Iowan: getting our state's place-names right. While some of them (like Atlantic) are clear from the spelling, others trip newbies up. Louisa County? Not like my cousin's first name. Madrid? Not like the city in Spain. Nevada? Not like that state out west. You can’t take anything for granted. But you're not on your own - Iowa Public Radio has you covered. Below is our handy audio guide to pronouncing Iowa place names.

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

In what ways could music relate to the human voice without Auto-Tune or even, necessarily, language - or, for that matter, even singing? New classical CDs are exploring a fascinating range of possibilities, and several are either by or about Iowans. In reverse chronological order, here are five standouts:

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

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?

In May, Simon Estes came to IPR to talk about his life and work, and one hour seemed way too short! His history is extraordinary: his grandparents were slaves, his father was a miner in Centerville, IA , then a major coal town, and he grew up to become one of the world's greatest opera singers. He broke many color barriers, including becoming the first black man to sing lead roles at the Bayreuth Festival (founded by Richard Wagner to showcase his operas). Dr.

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.

Ellen Macdonald

Tune in to Iowa Public Radio Classical as you pack the van for this summer’s music festival offerings. Arts events featured on this month’s Iowa Arts Showcase include: 

  • Nordic Fest, with Martha Griesheimer and Randy Schissel
  • Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, with Hunter Cappoccioni
  • University of Iowa Summer Opera’s production of “Patience,” with Nicholas Wuehrmann
  • And Sleepy Bones Allison, aspiring middle school blues guitarist

In my post Is Parity Time Here for the Classical Violin? I mention a list I put together of classical solo violinists born after 1970, which I said illustrates my thesis that the field has attained gender parity. I mentioned, however, that the list is provisional - the best I could come up with from my perch in northeast Iowa - and that I welcome your input. Let me know what I missed, but meanwhile, here's the list:

To paraphrase my previous post, if you think women have it bad in classical music, take a look at supposedly contemporary arts like film, literature, rock, jazz, blues, and country

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

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.

Congratulations to Margaryta Golovko, winner of the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition! After competing this past week with nineteen other pianists in the senior division from eleven different countries, Margaryta is the winner of a $10,000 cash prize, a CD recording with the Blue Griffin label, a concerto performance with the wcfsymphony on November 1, 2014, and an optional 2-year professional management contract with Heartland Concert Artists.

While sixteen of the greatest young senior division pianists from around the world begin to pack their bags, Elina Akselrud, Tomer Gewirtzman, and Margaryta Golovko are preparing for the final round of the senior division of the Midwest International Piano Competition, and the chance to win $10,000. Iowa Public Radio speaks with Midwest International Piano Competition founders Dmitri Vorobiev and Sean Botkin. Hear the two University of Northern Iowa Piano Professors describe the origins of this inaugural event as they give us a peek behind the scenes.