University of Northern Iowa

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

The University of Northern Iowa is going to bankruptcy  court to try to get money back from the now defunct Cedar Falls-based investment fund  Peregrine Financial  group.   The firm’s CEO Russell Wasendorf, Sr. is serving a 50-year prison term for defrauding investors of more than 200 million dollars. 

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

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.

The Iowa Board of Regents has adopted a plan to change how state funding is allocated to Iowa's three Regents' universities.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with IPR's Dean Borg about the factors that will be used to set future funding levels, including numbers of in-state students and graduation rates.

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.

University Relations / University of Northern Iowa

Twenty-six young, world-class pianists from across the globe have been competing this week in the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition. Iowa Public Radio speaks with the founders of the competition, 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. 

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.  

As you dust off your gardening gloves for some May planting, let Iowa Public Radio sow a few upcoming arts-event seeds on the Iowa Arts Showcase. May’s line-up includes:

· UNI’s Assistant Professor of Piano Dmitri Vorobiev and Associate Professor of Piano Sean Botkin as they discuss the inaugural Midwest International Piano Competition

Valentine S.H.O.P.

Feb 10, 2014
IPR's Pat Blank

S.H.O.P. (the Super Hardcore Overtone Project) is a barbershop quartet on the University of Northern Iowa campus established in the fall of 2011. Members include Colby Campbell, Ben Owen, Brandon Schneider, and Austin Nolan. All four are music majors at UNI, though the quartet is entirely extracurricular and self-standing.  

The group is performing  singing Valentines (for a small fee) from Thursday, February 13th through Sunday the 16th. Their first solo show will be held Saturday night, February 15th at St. John's Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls at 7 p.m.

Barney Sherman

Tune in now to hear "Violins of Hope" - the story of a man's quest to restore violins played by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps - followed at 3 by a LIVE broadcast of the Kristallnacht commemoration in Cedar Falls, with Jason Weinberger leading the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and a number of other participants telling the tale of the pogrom that initiated the Final Solution. Jacqueline Halbloom hosts.

The Princess Diana Exhibition

Iowa Public Radio’s next Iowa Arts Showcase broadcast will air Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Join us as Iowa Public Radio’s Jacqueline Halbloom interviews Kim Findlay, director of Davenport’s Putnam museum. Findlay will discuss the museum’s current and upcoming exhibits with special attention to the current Princess Diana exhibition. Jacqueline and Findlay will explore details about Princess Diana’s wedding dress and diamond tiara displayed in the exhibition.

On Monday, October 14, 2014 at 7 p.m. Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa presents an encore broadcast of the Waterloo0-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, narrator Scott Cawelti, and the Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra performance. Commissioned by the Blanden Memorial Art Museum and the Fort Dodge Area Symphony, Jonathan Chenette’s Rural Symphony is a three-movement work inspired by photographs of daily life in rural Iowa.

IPR's Dean Borg

William N. Ruud has been officially installed as the University of Northern Iowa's tenth president. He replaces Ben Allen who retired earlier this year. Ruud is in the process of winning over a campus community facing declining enrollment, cuts to academic programs and the closure of a laboratory school.

Orchestra Iowa

Iowa Public Radio's next Iowa Arts Showcase broadcast will air Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Join us as Iowa Public Radio's Jacqueline Halbloom interviews Jeff Fleming, Executive Director at the Des Moines Art Center. Fleming will discuss the upcoming exhibition: Gravity and Grace

Iowa State University Facebook page

Iowa State University is reporting more students on campus this fall than ever before.  The University of Northern Iowa has more students than expected. And the University of Iowa reports its fall enrollment held steady.

Reporting to the State Board of Regents meeting in Cedar Falls, Iowa State President Steven Leath said ISU’s enrollment of 33, 241 students is 7 percent more than last year’

Joe Burbank / AP

 Dr. Michael Blackwell, the University of Northern Iowa's Director for Multicultural Education, joins IPR's Sarah McCammon to preview a panel discussion at UNI on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.

UNI Opera Theatre

Tune in Saturday at 7 PM for the UNI Opera Theatre's irresistible production of Johann Strauss Jr's witty, melodious  "Die Fledermaus." It's performed in communicative English and led by Jonathan Girard.  The broadcast is part of our "Arias in April" series. (Bonus: watch the rehearsal of the overture:

Ruud named to lead UNI

Feb 7, 2013
IPR's Dean Borg

The State Board of Regents today announced the selection of William N. Ruud (ROOD), as the 10th president of the University of Northern Iowa. Ruud currently serves as president of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Ruud will assume the duties of UNI president on June 1 and will be paid an annual salary of $340,000. The date for an official welcoming on the UNI campus will be announced later.  Ruud was one of two finalists for the job. The other was Indiana University-Purdue University Chancellor Emeritus Michael Wartell.

Jeffrey Copeland's Shell Games: The Life and Times of Pearl McGill, Industrial Spy and Pioneer Labor Activist is a true story told in the voices of people who lived the events. The story has murder, mystery, mayhem - all important pieces of American history - and a good love story as well. Copeland is the Head of the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Northern Iowa.

University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen has announced plans to retire "no later than July 1, 2013."  Iowa Public Radio's Pat Blank reports.

Iowa public universities continue to face difficult decisions such as financial backing and enrollment. IPR’s Dean Borg talks with Iowa State University President Steven Leath and President Ben Allen from the University of Northern Iowa about challenges they face including program closings, financial backing, and future plans for their schools.

 Tuesday’s Wisconsin recall election revealed Scott Walker will retain his seat as governor. IPR’s Dean Borg talks with political scientists from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa about what Scott Walker’s success in overcoming a recall election means for Democrats and Republicans. Later, Dean also analyzes the races in Iowa’s Congressional districts now that the general election ballot is set.

Shell Games

Apr 8, 2012

Jeffrey Copeland's Shell Games: The Life and Times of Pearl McGill, Industrial Spy and Pioneer Labor Activist is a true story told in the voices of people who lived the events. The story has murder, mystery, mayhem - all important pieces of American history - and a good love story as well. Copeland is the Head of the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Northern Iowa.

Kindergarten today is not just about snacks, rest time and recess. Kids are expected to arrive ready to learn...a lot. On today's Talk of Iowa, we'll discuss getting ready for kindergarten. We’ll talk about early childhood education, how to prepare your child for kindergarten and we'll hear from a kindergarten teacher what she expects her students to know when they walk in the door for the first day of school. Guests are kindergarten teacher Michelle Anderson-Kunz of Des Moines; Alison Bell of the Iowa Parent Information Resource Center; Dr.