IPR Music

Jeff Gerew

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features The Des Moines Symphony and their Season Finale, “Bernstein’s West Side Story.”

The Des Moines Symphony wrapped up their 81st season celebrating Leonard Bernstein by performing his Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. For Maestro Giunta, this is a “personal tribute” to Bernstein, as it was one of the pieces he studied with Bernstein when the two worked together.

The program opens with Rossini’s Overture to Italian in Algiers.

Susan Bender

The American Gothic Performing Arts Festival will be performing Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land this Friday, June 7, 2019 at 8 p.m. This performance is the opening event of their two-week performing arts festival. Due to the weather, the production will be held at the Temple of Creative Arts, formerly known as the B'nai Jacob Synagogue, located at 529 E. Main Street in Ottumwa.

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.


Brooklyn, New York based Big Thief recorded their third album "U.F.O.F." in rural western Washington.  The band set up in a large cabin-like room at Bear Creek Studios.  It's the kind of environment that seems an integral part of the recordings that make up the new record.

ChamberFest Dubuque

ChamberFest Dubuque’s 11th annual festival kicks off the month of June! As part of the Northeast Iowa School of Music (NISOM), ChamberFest Dubuque features a workshop and a concert. The group performing at the concert is an ensemble of world-class performers, hand-picked by Michael Gilbertson, that exist together only at this year’s ChamberFest.

Courtesy Heartland Marimba Ensemble

Five talented Heartland Marimba Ensemble performers will bring their marimba magnificence to IPR’s Cedar Falls Studios! Wednesday at noon, they will perform music by Gershwin, McCartney, Joplin, Green, Ravel, Coley, and Rossini. The performance is free and open to the public. Tune in to IPR Classical on your favorite device or stop by IPR’s Cedar Falls Studios this Wednesday at noon for this magical live Performance Iowa broadcast!

Matt Sieren / Iowa Public Radio

When the Iowa City band Flash in a Pan formed in 2012, lead man Blake Daly thought the band would be just that -- a flash in a pan, here one moment and gone the next. Two albums and nearly seven years later, the band might have picked a different name. 

Anna Steenson

The Zenith Chamber Music Festival is back once again. The annual concert series in Des Moines highlights “national and international guest artists as well as local artists.”

Kate Payne / Iowa Public Radio

When a temporary flood barrier broke along the Mississippi River in Davenport on April 30, parts of downtown flooded, and the river crested at its highest record on level. 

Rick Palmer, executive director of the RiverCenter Adler Theater, says that when the water breached the barrier, the scene was unruly.  

Turkish Delight

May 29, 2019
Blake Argotsinger

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features the wcfsymphony and their “Turkish Delight” concert.

The wcfsymphony provided an opportunity to hear their winds in a very intimate and unique setting, “just the way Mozart’s audience would have.”

The program includes a “wind arrangement of Mozart’s opera Abduction from the Seraglio, along with other party delights from Vienna’s 18th-century Turkish craze.”


For their fourth album, "Father Of The Bride," Vampire Weekend come across as a more mature band.  The record seems a bit more Americana and a bit less indie rock. 

Madeleine King / Iowa Public Radio

With great live music happening every weekend, it can be hard to plan your summers accordingly. Luckily, we're here to guide you through it.

Courtesy Orchestra Iowa

Orchestra Iowa’s “German Requiem” concert will be featured on this week’s Symphonies of Iowa broadcast.

Alisabeth Von Presley

Chaplin is the showbiz musical about the silent film legend the world couldn’t stop talking about.”

The original Broadway musical was written by Christopher Curtis, with help from Thomas Meehan. The musical depicts the life of legendary silent film star Charlie Chaplin.

Revival Theatre Company is one of only two theatres in the United States that will be producing the musical before it “hits the London stage with a new world premiere in 2019.”

Charlie Chaplin is the “undeniable genius that forever changed the way America went to the movies.”

Raelyn Ramey / Special to Iowa Public Radio

EleanorGrace self-debuted her first recordings after taping a few tracks in her bedroom and posting them online when she was 13.


Tacocat is a quartet that makes fun music.  With a band name that's a palindrome, how could they not?  But making danceable punky pop music does not preclude them from delivering thoughtful lyrics that comment on our culture and world.

Courtesy DSM Magazine

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features Iowa native and internationally-renowned bass-baritone Simon Estes taking the stage with the Des Moines Symphony for their “Simon Sings Porgy & Bess” concert.

Simon Estes joined the Des Moines Symphony along with Janice Chandler-Eteme, “one of the world’s foremost lyric sopranos,” to perform selections from Gershwin’s “beloved” Porgy & Bess.

Simon Estes “has filled opera houses from New York City to Paris and beyond.”

Jeff Gerew

The Des Moines Symphony wraps up their 81st season celebrating Leonard Bernstein this weekend playing Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. For Maestro Giunta, this is a “personal tribute” to Bernstein, as it was one of the pieces he studied with Bernstein when the two worked together.

The program opens with Rossini’s Overture to Italian in Algiers.

This year, I was blown away by the Tiny Desk Contest entries I saw. We received over 6,000 entries from all across the country. We saw tiny desks up on rooftops and down on a subway platform; tucked into treetops, pickup trucks and laundromats. We heard songs about the situations that make life difficult and the people that make life worth living.

IPR's Jacqueline Halbloom

This week, the Iowa Arts Showcase heads back to the St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Dubuque for their upcoming Aldersgate Heritage service on Sunday, May 26th at 10 a.m.

On Sunday, May 26th, 2019 at 10 a.m., St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Dubuque will host a special service in honor of Aldersgate Day.


After album themes that have included Goths, professional wrestling, fictional tarot cards and more, Mountain Goats songwriter and frontman John Darnielle now turns his attention to a Dungeons & Dragons inspired fantasy world.

IPR/Madeleine King

Des Moines' Parranderos Latin Combo pride themselves on helping to keep Latin music alive and diverse in Iowa and beyond.  Exploring musical styles such as salsa, cumbia and samba, PLC is a true crowd-pleaser.  The multi-member group made a return visit to Studio One Underground for a couple of sets in The Basement of the Des Moines Social Club on May 2, 2019.

Listen to the infectious music of Parranderos Latin Combo right here! 


This weekend, the wcfsymphony presents their “Turkish Delight” concert on Saturday, May 11th at 4 and 7 p.m.

This weekend, the wcfsymphony is providing an opportunity to hear their winds in a very intimate and unique setting, “just the way Mozart’s audience would have.” They will perform two concerts in the Brown Derby Ballroom in Waterloo.

The program will include “Mozart’s own wind arrangement of his opera Abduction from the Seraglio, along with other party delights from Vienna’s 18th-century Turkish craze.”

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features the Dubuque Symphony and their “On Earth” concert.

The performance was the Dubuque Symphony’s first concert of their 60th Anniversary Concert Season.

IPR/Tony Dehner

The last time we had the band perform live on Studio One, John June Year were about to release their EP "Pop Sucker."  This time the band came to perform songs from their debut full-length album "Modern Motives."


South Carolina's Shovels & Rope take a giant step forward on their new album "By Blood."  Built upon the duo's strong Americana foundation, it's a thoroughly satisfying contemporary rock and roll record.

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.

LYRA, a vocal group from Russia, is currently touring the Midwest and will be in Iowa on May 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th.

LYRA is “a vocal ensemble from St. Petersburg. All singers are professional musicians, singing in different churches of St. Petersburg. Some of them are also soloists at musical theatres of the city. Through their performances, they want to introduce enormous musical heritage of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as traditions of Russian folk music to all people taking great interest in Russia, its history and its culture.”

Courtesy Stephen Hamilton

An internationally famous organist and a Noack pipe organ are all the buzz for this week’s Iowa Arts Showcase.

St. Anthony's Church in Davenport is hosting a concert featuring Iowa native, organist Stephen Hamilton, on Sunday, May 5th at 3 PM.

Courtesy wcfsymphony

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features the wcfsymphony and their “To the New World” concert.

A great portion of Dvořák’s music was inspired by what he experienced here in America – including his time in Iowa. Dvořák’s music and Gary Kelley’s artwork meld together in an amazing concert experience.