IPR Music

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Iowa City band Halfloves were our guests for our first Studio One live set of 2019. You may remember when they were known as The Olympics and joined us for one of our first Studio One Underground shows. Since then, they've changed their name and lineup, and the band's sound has evolved: atmospheric and moody, with plenty of head-bopping moments.

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.

Ben Easter

An “instant hit” on Broadway in 1944, Bernstein’s On the Town soon became a movie starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.

Known as his “valentine” to New York, Lenny’s On the Town is a Broadway musical about three sailors during World War II and their “amorous adventures on a 24-hour-shore leave in New York City.”

Courtesy of the Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra

It’s not every day that a premier symphony orchestra from China performs in Iowa.

On Friday, February 22, the Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra will be performing in the Great Hall of the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. IPR will be broadcasting the concert live at 7 p.m.

Natasha Komoda

IPR’s Studios will be experiencing some wind on Thursday – Volante Winds!

On Thursday, February 21, nationally recognized chamber music group, the Volante Winds, will be performing live in IPR’s studios. They were founded in 2016, out of a “desire to collaborate with inspiring and amicable colleagues in the pursuit of excellence in chamber music performance.” The group’s passions include pedagogy, musicians who engage with their community, and bringing music to underserved areas.


Chaz Bear (formerly Bundick) was born in Columbia, South Carolina.  In the Bundick household, Chaz heard music from many different genres, and he was already playing and recording original compositions in his preteen years.  He began forming bands in middle school.  Chaz had already released over ten albums as Toro Y Moi on his own before signing with Carpark Records in 2009.  His latest album for that label is Outer Peace, written and recorded in the Bay Area after Chaz's return from a one year stint in Portland.  The new record has elements of funk, Eurodance, hip hop, and ambien

Ben VanHouten

The Des Moines Symphony and guest conductor Gerard Schwarz take the stage this weekend for the DMSO’s Masterworks IV concert.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the wcfsymphony and their “Valentine Attraction” concert this weekend.

The program features “passionate music of star-crossed lovers by Debussy, Gershwin and others including a rarely-heard orchestral setting of Romeo and Juliet.”

Listen below as the wcfsymphony Artistic Director and Conductor Jason Weinberger shares special insight into Saturday’s performance.

For wcf tickets and more information, visit https://wcfsymphony.org/tickets-events/



This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features the wcfsymphony and their “Gala Season Opener” concert, with a special appearance from acclaimed American concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein.

Composer Philip Glass informed Simone Dinnerstein that he wanted to compose a piece specifically for her. She loved the idea and devised a plan to involve orchestras in the U.S. and Canada. Simone set forth to organize a consortium of orchestras, and the wcfsymphony was one of them.

Meche Kroop for Voce di Meche

Waterloo native MaKayla McDonald made Iowa proud when she sang the title role in the New York premiere of Thea Musgrave’s The Story of Harriet Tubman, put on by Utopia Opera in New York.


New Jersey native (currently based in Brooklyn) Sharon Van Etten self-released her music in the form of handmade CDs for a few years before her first actual studio album came out in 2009.  Van Etten is also an actor and (since 2017) a mother.  In fact, she was pregnant, going to school, and auditioning for an acting role while writing the songs for her new album Remind Me Tomorrow.  Van Etten says:  "I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school...and I feel like a mess, but I'm here.  Doing it.  This record is about pursuing your passions." 

Marco Borggreve

It’s cold and blistery outside during this month of February, but that means Iowa Public Radio Classical’s Symphonies of Iowa is back!

Join IPR this weekend as we kick off the 2018-2019 season of Symphonies of Iowa with the Des Moines Symphony’s “Beethoven and Mahler’s Titan” concert.

Des Moines Metro Opera

World-renowned soprano Sara Gartland’s career is soaring!

Ms. Gartland has performed leading roles with the Dallas, San Francisco, Austin Lyric, San Diego, and Des Moines Metro Operas to name a few. Last summer, Ms. Gartland sang the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka with the Des Moines Metro Opera. This summer, she returns to Des Moines to play the role of Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck.

Madeleine King / Iowa Public Radio

The Hinterland music festival in St. Charles is announcing its 2019 line up today, including a mix of Grammy nominated and Midwest-based acts. The festival will also expand to three days this summer.


David Bazan is the frontman of the Seattle-based band Pedro The Lion.  Even though the singer/songwriter also has a long and successful solo career, and his latest batch of songs reflect on his hometown and growing up there, Bazan decided to record these songs as a group project.  Phoenix is the first Pedro The Lion album in about 15 years.  Bazan's effectively delivers his heartfelt and detailed lyrics based on his memories of his youth in the desert city.  He plays bass, synth, and some guitar on Phoenix.  Erik Walters is the lead guitarist, and Sean Lane is the drummer.

Celeste Bembry

It’s time to celebrate people like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, Ella Fitzgerald, Oliver Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Jesse Owens – Black History Month is here!

Join IPR in celebrating this annual observance by tuning in on Friday, February 1st at noon and Saturday, February 16th at 8 pm for a special broadcast featuring the UNI Trombone Studio’s performances in IPR’s Studios, under the direction of UNI’s Dr. Anthony Williams.

Alejandro Cordón / flickr

Feeling chilly and wondering how to fill your time indoors today? We've got you covered. Check out our latest Spotify playlist featuring curated picks from our staff to get you through these sub-zero days. 

What are your favorite songs about the cold? Tweet us @iowapublicradio. 



The Well Pennies are a husband and wife duo- Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool.  They were each solo artists when they met in Boston, became a couple, and relocated to Los Angeles.  After eight years in California, and the release of an EP and their debut full-length album, The Well Pennies relocated again.  Their current home base is Des Moines, a place the duo says they chose in order to "...escape the chaos and desperation of Los Angeles and move somewhere where artists can afford to be artists."  With their home recording studio in place, and a batch of new songs inspired by heartland living,

The Film Lounge

“The Film Lounge” is a series that showcases short, independent films by Iowa artists. The series is a collaboration between The Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa, and IPTV.

The series is in its third season this year. The season features topics such as cowboys, astronauts, ballet companies, and music videos, and includes anything from documentary to experimental and narrative to animation.

The Texas Tenors return to America’s Got Talent and their “spin-off” show, “The Champions” this Monday, January 28 at 8/7C on NBC.

The trio rose to stardom in 2009 when they competed on the 4th America’s Got Talent season and made it to the finale. They are considered the most successful music group and the third highest selling artist in the history of America's Got Talent. The three-time Emmy Award Winners, JC Fisher, Marcus Collins, and John Hagen, “take pride in remaining the same self-managed and self-produced ‘three friends with a dream’.”

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:

Courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami © Xaviera Simmons

Grinnell College’s Faulconer Galleries are bursting with two powerful exhibitions.

Opening this Friday, January 25, is “Reckoning with The Incident: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural.” What started in 1952 with a single mural painted on an exterior wall of a building featuring twice-life size figures of a racial-terror lynching at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan is now a complete set of John Wilson’s works. The mural was so large that encountering it must have been very intense and visceral.


Foxwarren formed over ten years ago, with the group of siblings and childhood friends sharing the experience of growing up in different small towns across the Canadian prairies.  Andy Shauf (guitars/keys/vocals), Dallas Bryson (guitar/vocals) and brothers Darryl Kissick (bass) and Avery Kissick (drums and percussion) collectively became Foxwarren in Regina, Saskatchewan.  The band's name comes from the Kissick brothers' family home in Foxwarren, Manitoba.  As laid-back Canadians, Foxwarren took their time recording their self-titled debut full-length album, although the delay was also due t

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.

Jacqueline Halbloom

Whether January and February are the months you celebrate Valentine’s Day, American Heart Month, National Freedom Day, or Presidents Day, here at Iowa Public Radio, we’re celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.

Organizations and universities all across the state of Iowa are hosting events to celebrate the rich history of the nation’s African American community. Exhibitions, concerts, lectures, theater performances, festivals, and celebrations fill the months of January and February.


My Brightest Diamond is the project of Arkansas-born Shara Nova (Shara Worden until her 2016 divorce).  The songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist began performing and recording in the late 1990's while attending college in Denton, Texas.  A few years later she started using the name My Brightest Diamond, and began releasing albums and EPs with that band name.  The latest is A Million And One, with Nova taking her band in a more electronic direction, with her techno-pop tunes intended for dancing down at the club as much as listening in your headphones.


In mid-November of 2018, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy released his memoir Let's Go (So We Can Get Back).  The book was followed up a couple of weeks later by Tweedy's second solo album, WARM.  WARM consists of all new material, unlike his first solo album which found the songwriter revisiting some of his Wilco songs.  This is not to be confused with the all-original Sukerie album by the band Tweedy, which is pretty much just Jeff along with his son Spencer on drums.  Well, Spencer also plays drums on WARM...but no matter, fans love Jeff Tweedy for

IPR/Madeleine King

As hard as it may be to believe, IPR has now kicked off our fifth year of Studio One Underground! It's been an honor and a privilege to be able to do these LIVE shows from the Des Moines Social Club, and most importantly, it's been a lot of fun!


With a new year comes new adventures and new art and musical events across the state of Iowa! From symphony and chamber concerts, to jazz shows and theater performances, to operas and art exhibitions, Iowa has it all to kick off 2019. Tune in to IPR Classical on Friday, January 4th at noon or listen below to hear more details about these upcoming events.


The Fleet Foxes release First Collection 2006-2009 gathers together the Fleet Foxes songs that you know and love, plus the Fleet Foxes songs that you probably don't know, but will soon love.  The Sun Giant EP and the Seattle band's debut full-length album Fleet Foxes are of course included in this new set.  But of most interest to fans will be the barely-released 2006 EP titled The Fleet Foxes, and the B-Sides and rarities included in First Collection 2006-2009.