Barney Sherman

Classical Music Host

Barney Sherman joined Iowa Public Radio member station KSUI in fall 2001 as Classical music host. In his role with Iowa Public Radio, Barney hosts weekday and Sunday afternoon Classical programs. He has written about music in books for Oxford and Cambridge University Presses and in articles for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music, and many other publications. Another topic he has written about is Iowa, for The Atlantic (and for Iowa Public Radio!).

PersianDutchNetwork / Creative Commons

How can today's artists say something new and helpful about the Holocaust? For Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus and poet Michael Dennis Brown, the key was to focus on children.

In their multimedia oratorio “To Be Certain Of The Dawn,” the pair took inspiration from Roman Vishniac's photographs of Jewish children in pre-Shoah Europe. Brown, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, says the “children’s faces are the sun, moon and stars of this work.”

Drake University Choirs

For her farewell concert, Drake University choral director Aimee Beckmann-Collier commissioned five new works - and we've got a first listen to one of them. It's a setting of a Rabindranath Tagore poem by the renowned Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds.

Jackie Blake Jensen

"Bach is the father, we are the kids,” said Mozart, maybe. The quote was reported 40 years after Mozart’s death by someone known to make stuff up and otherwise fall short of NPR sourcing standards. But even if it’s apocryphal, what makes it interesting is not who said it but which Bach he had in mind: not Johann Sebastian, but his second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Let's call him CPE (1714-1788).

Barney Sherman

Tune in this afternoon at 1 to hear a live preview of the 2019 ChamberFest Dubuque - including music by founder Michael Gilbertson that the Pulitzer Prize committee praised for its "rare capacity to stir the heart."  Ten years ago, Michael invited some musical friends to join him in his hometown to play a benefit for his alma mater, the Northeast Iowa School of Music. It worked - the School is going strong - and the concert has evolved into the annual ChamberFest, which still benefits community music education in Iowa.

Drake University Choirs

Aimee Beckmann-Collier jokes that she “had a plan for every minute of her life since junior high.” By age seven she knew she would be a teacher, and by age thirteen she was sure her focus would be high-school choirs. But plans can lead to unexpected vistas.

johnrommereim.com

 

It's good to have many skills, but even better when they synergize. At Grinnell College, John Rommereim conducts choirs, writes music, teaches composition and theory, plays keyboards, and researches musicology. The strands are varied but they weave together into something more than their sum. What connects them, Rommereim told me, is imagination. He explains in this short interview: 

Chorus America/ University of Iowa

In the last two months of 2018, Iowans gave 100 choral concerts (we listed them!). But if December is "peak choral," the singing returns in February and especially in March and April. We won’t create another “big list” of every event, but will try to keep you updated with brief, occasional posts. As usual, let me know what I’m missing! Here’s a start:

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TUESDAY, MARCH 5th

RNZ Music / Stan Alley https://www.radionz.co.nz/collections/u/music-festivals-and-events/womad/audio/201815807/interview-ladysmith-black-mambazo-womad-2016

Albert Mazibuko grew up on a farm in South Africa then found work at an asbestos factory. But since childhood he'd dreamed of singing with an innovative local ensemble, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In 1969, he was invited to join the group, and half a century later he has lost none of his enthusiasm.

Haley Gibbons

 UPDATE: Tonight at 6:30 PM*, Vocalese will sing at St. John's Lutheran Church in Des Moines, as will the Urbandale Singers and Iowa State Singers. It's a "bon voyage" concert before the three groups sing at the American Choral Directors Association national convention in Kansas City - an honor mentioned in the original post below. The Iowa State Singers will also perform their program on Sunday, Feb 24th 1:30 at ISU Music Hall in Ames:

St. Olaf College

A Long Island teenager had a ticket to a Moody Blues concert, but his mother insisted he go instead to hear a college choir visiting from Minnesota. Eighteen years later, that young man, Anton Armstrong, became the conductor of that ensemble, the St. Olaf Choir - and as you can imagine, the details make quite a story. You can hear it from Dr. Armstrong himself in the clip below.

Wartburg Marketing and Communications

A Choral Iowa post: Supermarkets began piping in holiday tunes in November, so you've probably heard all the standards just in the course of buying groceries. But below is a gem for which you need a choral group. Called Estampie Natalis, it reflects two of the enthusiasms of its Czech-born composer, Vaclav Nelhybel.

Heartland Youth Choir, http://joinhyc.org/

It's the perfect month for a choral concert, and Iowa's artists have been hard at work preparing. From university concerts to madrigal dinners to Handel in Clinton and Cedar Rapids and an Iowa premiere in Grinnell, here's what I hope will become a complete list.  I'm sure I've missed things, so please let me know of omissions or corrections (at choraliowa@iowapublicradio.org). The goal is to include everyone!

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Elaine Hagenberg

When Des Moines resident Elaine Hagenberg graduated from Drake in 2002, her degree was in music education. How did she go on to become an internationally admired choral composer, with works published by Oxford University Press and performances in London, Melbourne, and New York? She talks about it briefly in this interview with IPR's Jacqueline Halbloom.

“I shouldn’t tell you this, but she advocates dirty books… Chaucer… Rabelais... BALZAC!” It’s a laugh line that never falls flat, and it advances the plot of The Music Man. Broadway convention meant that Harold Hill and Marian Paroo must end up together, so Meredith Willson needed another dramatic tension, and he found it in priggish opposition to the library. And what bluenoses could be more hilarious - or more believable - than the mayor's wife and her cronies?

  

Barney Sherman

On April 16th, Dubuque’s Michael Gilbertson taught a class at San Francisco Conservatory, joined a colleague for a lunch meeting, then saw a warm but puzzling text message. It said "Congratulations!" He wondered "For what?" The texts and calls kept coming, and the reason became clear. The Pulitzer committee had awarded its annual prize for "a distinguished [musical composition] by an American," and Michael was one of the three finalists. He'd had no idea he was under consideration. Nobody did, to be sure, except the Pulitzer panel.

Wikipedia Creative Commons

She doesn't mind being asked about women in conducting - I'm glad I did! But her work has made the term "woman conductor" obsolete.

When pianist/ composer Nathan Carterette plays the Goldberg Variations in our Cedar Falls studio on Tuesday, March 13th, you can listen on-air, or stream the video at our Facebook page. Carterette has performed the Goldbergs live on radio before (using Mr. Rogers' old piano at Pittsburgh's WQED), but this is the first time you can watch if you choose.

If you listen to my daily program, you might notice that I can't resist English pastoral music. You might not guess that I once thought of it as an indulgence, a guilty pleasure like gooey brownies or, more to the point, sticky toffee pudding. I learned early on to equate "greatness" in music with Germanic thoroughness and "significance" with cutting-edge spikiness. Musicology back then wrote off the English pastoral style as "a reactionary mishmash of escapism, sentimentality and nostalgia—a refuge for dead-enders and also-rans."

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode – cropping and lighting changes made
Peter Shanks

As you ponder what to give as gifts for the music-lovers in your life, consider the expertise of some Iowa Public Radio music hosts. In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hears about the notable releases and recordings of 2017 from the host of IPR's The Folk Tree Karen Impola, as well as classical music host Barney Sherman.

Karen Impola's top folk music picks for 2017

1. Catfish Keith – "Shake Sugaree" – Mississippi River Blues

2. Al Murphy – "Steamboat Quickstep" – Hogs in the Cornfield

Lisa-Maria Mazzucco courtesy www.chiaraquartet.net

Tune in at 7PM tonight (Oct. 4th) for IPR's first live broadcast from the beautiful new Voxman Music Building in Iowa City.  You'll hear the renowned Chiara String Quartet, known for such innovations as performing masterpieces from memory. They'll be going their separate ways next September, so now's the time to catch them at their peak!

-A-       -B-       -C-       -D-       -E-

Adel: Ay- DELL

-F-       -G-       -H-       -I-       -J-

Festina: Fes-TIE-nuh

Froelich: FRAY-lick

-K-       -L-       -M-       -N-       -O-

Kamrar: KAAM - rahr

-P-       -Q-       -R-       -S-       -T-

Palo: PAY-low

-U-       -V-       -W-       -X-       -Y-       -Z-

Vining: VINE – ing

Peter Seymour at http://www.projecttrio.com/press-photo-gallery

Join us Wednesday, Sept. 6, at noon - in person, on air, or with video on Facebook Live - for a performance by the uniquely innovative Project Trio. Be part of the studio audience, OR listen on-air, OR watch online at IPR's Facebook page! Gramophone wrote that Project Trio is "willing and able to touch on the gamut of musical bases ranging from Baroque to nu-Metal," and the New York Times called flutist Greg Pattillo “the best in the world at what he does.” Intrigued?

Jamie Arrigo, 2017

Tune in for tonight's LA Philharmonic broadcast to hear Brahms, Ravel - and James Matheson. Born in Des Moines in 1970, Matheson has become one of America's most honored and widely performed composers. From 2009-2015 he also served as director of the LA Philharmonic's Composer Fellowship Program, and tonight at 7 that orchestra plays the premiere of his latest tone poem, Unchained. Also on the program is Helene Grimaud playing the epic Piano Concerto no. 2 of Brahms, a composer this French pianist is especially identified with.

Chris Wahlberg, courtesy San Francisco Symphony

When the San Francisco Symphony appointed the American conductor, composer, and pianist Michael Tilson Thomas as its music director, the chemistry was perfect from the start. The orchestra and "MTT" inspired each other creatively, and conveyed the artistic excitement to listeners. That was in 1995, and since then the orchestra has gained even more international renown than it already had, winning the most prestigious international prizes, including the Gramophone Award, France's Grand Prix du Disque, Japan's Record Academy, and no fewer than 11 Grammy Awards.

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