IPR Music


Julia Jacklin wears her heart on her sleeve all through the ten tracks on "Crushing", her second full-length album.  Sure, that's a cliche, but it's such a fitting way to describe the Australian artist's approach to her songs, and why they are so compelling.  Jacklin writes about heartbreak and infatuation, and as her record company explains, she keeps "her storytelling centered on bodies and crossed boundries and smothering closeness."  Plus, Julia Jacklin has a wonderful voice to deliver the intimate indie pop songs she writes.    

Courtesy of St. Luke's United Methodist Church

Home of the 5th largest collection of Tiffany church windows in the United States, St. Luke’s has more Tiffany windows than any other church in the state of Iowa!

The church was built in 1896 and is called “one of the five finest Religious Tiffany collections in the world.” The Angel in the window of the “Angel Among the Lilies” is rumored to bear the likeness of the young deceased daughter of the people who had sponsored that window.

The church’s windows were created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York.

Ben VanHouten

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa show on IPR features The Des Moines Symphony and guest conductor Gerard Schwarz taking the stage, along with pianist Roman Rabinovich.

Stefan Cohen

The renowned San Francisco Symphony visits Iowa this Friday, March 29, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in Stephens Auditorium at Iowa State University. Three Iowa natives who are members of the symphony will be returning to their Iowa roots as they perform with the symphony.

The three members of the symphony with Iowa ties are Jacob Nissly, originally from Grimes, John Engelkes, originally from Parkersburg, and Linda Lukas, who studied at the University of Iowa.

IPR has a special treat on Wednesday, March 27th! Former classical music host for KUNI-FM, Peter Hamlin, will be on air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Peter is a composer who has written works for orchestra, band, choir, chamber ensembles, voice, music theater, and most recently, electronic media. He is also a music professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, teaching theory, electronic music, and composition. He previously taught at St. Olaf College. Peter worked as a radio producer/host at KPBS-FM in San Diego from 1974-1980 and at KUNI-FM in Cedar Falls from 1980-1990.

80/35 Facebook - Alyssa Leicht Photo

There are 40 acts playing in downtown Des Moines the weekend of July 12-13 including headliners Elle King and Portugal. The Man.

The Des Moines Music Coalition, which founded the festival in 2008, has curated a playlist of bands who are appearing at the festival this year. 

80/35 Facebook Page

Mark your calendars for July 12 and 13. 80/35 announced it's 2019 line-up today, and it boasts a wide variety of genres, including acts we've loved for years and some new ones we're excited about. 

New this year, the festival is adding a second stage inside the paid area.


If you saw Conor Oberst joining Phoebe Bridgers on stage last July at 80/35, maybe you thought it would be cool if those two were in a band together.  In that case, your wish has been granted in the form of Better Oblivion Community Center.  It's an unwieldy band name to be sure, and serves as the title of their debut album as well.  As a record, Better Oblivion Community Center loosely ties together ten songs having to do with a fictional dystopian wellness facility.  Oberst and Bridgers kept quiet about the album as they recorded it last year, surprise releasing it in early 2019.

Hungry to make your summer plans and decide which summer concerts to prioritize? Us too. Good news for your Monday: the line up for 80/35 2019 is being announced Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m.

Check back here to find out who's headlining and playing the smaller stages this summer over the weekend of July 12 and 13 in Des Moines at Western Gateway Park. 

IPR/Chris Fenton

The Cedar Rapids band In The Attic performed a live set in IPR's Cedar Falls studios on March 21.  The group talked about the various projects they are involved in, and played songs from their forthcoming new album.  With their two guitars, bass, drums plus electric violin lineup, In The Attic provided a great rock set for the Studio One Tracks audience.

You can hear the night's performance right here!

Iowa City's Mission Creek festival is coming up next week. This is a unique and annual spring event curated by a team of organizers and hosted in part by the 106-year-old Englert Theatre. The festival spans 6 days, and full festival passes are $250. Mission Creek also offers single show tickets. If you're making plans to attend or are thinking about it, here's who we wouldn't want to miss.

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection was organized by  the Richard H. Driehaus Museum  and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.
Photograph by John Faier. © 2013 The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

Davenport’s Figge Art Museum recently opened a new exhibit: Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Museum.

The show is a “lavish overview of Tiffany’s mastery of color and form in a wide range of materials and decorative styles.”

The Figge’s exhibit showcases 62 exemplary works of Tiffany’s, including small blown glass vases to stained-glass windows and a “spectacular selection of lamps.” The works are drawn from the collection of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago. The exhibit is on view now until May 19, 2019.

courtesy of wcfsymphony

Love is on the air for Symphonies of Iowa and the wcfsymphony’s “Valentine Attraction” concert.

Passionate music of star-crossed lovers is the theme.

Joachim Raff’s Orchestral Prelude to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet opens the concert with a “meltingly beautiful central "love" section.” Sibelius’ nine movement incidental music to Maeterlinck's Pelleas et Mélisande is one of his most popular concert works.


Bobbie Gentry had one huge hit song, and it was a good one.  The atmospheric and mysterious "Ode To Billie Joe" is fondly remembered to this day.  Gentry's follow-up to that song (and accompanying full-length LP) was her 1968 album The Delta Sweete, which expanded on "Ode" themes of Southern life and culture.  Fifty years later, The Delta Sweete had largely been forgotten.  Crate diving indie bands like upstate New York's Mercury Rev don't forget, however, and the group have recorded a brand new version of Gentry's song cycle.  Mercury Rev are joined by a roster of twelve

Courtesy of Ksenia Nosikova

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa show on IPR features Orchestra Iowa with Ksenia Nosikova on piano and their “Russian Festival” concert. The all-Russian program includes works by Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.

When Rachmaninoff was 17-years-old, he left the piano studio he was a part of in order to dedicate his life to composing. He became a major composer of the 20th century, performing his own concertos. At just 18-years-old, Rachmaninoff premiered his Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Moscow Conservatory in 1892.

Annabel Wimer

The Des Moines Symphony’s upcoming concert is a journey to the “New World”: America.

The program highlights an immigrant’s journey to America, featuring Gershwin’s Concerto in F, with Aaron Diehl at the keyboard, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” and Peter Boyer’s Suite from Ellis Island: The Dream of America.

The Ellis Island Honors Society recently announced that Peter Boyer will be among the recipients of the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. This award is “highly prestigious” and is officially recognized by the United States Congress.


California native Cass McCombs has been recording his own blend of folk-rocky alt country since 2002.  McCombs new album is Tip Of The Sphere, recorded quickly by McCombs and his core band in Brooklyn.  It's a compelling listen, with an immediacy that never seems to lag, despite a playing time of nearly an hour.  According to McCombs' label, ANTI- Records, the idea all along was to make a consistent statement.  The song "Sleeping Volcanoes" sits right in the middle of the record, and it's described as the thematic centerpiece of the album.  According to McCombs, the song is about "

IPR/Tony Dehner

The Candymakers have a brand new release titled Family Flowers, and the Iowa band brought those songs and more to the Basement of the Des Moines Social Club for two energetic sets.  The occasion was IPR's live broadcast of Studio One Underground.  The sweet sounds of The Candymakers are a confection made up of soul, funk and blues.

Have a listen to both sets from The Candymakers right here!   


The forces of writing and music come together as Chamber Music Quad Cities pairs up with novelist Nathan Hill.

Nathan Hill is an Iowa native whose writing skills came to national attention with The Nix, his “critically acclaimed novel spanning three generations of American life.” The novel is being translated into thirty languages and was named #1 book of the year by Audible and Entertainment Weekly.

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:



Bernstein Centennial Organization

75 years ago on November 14, 1943, Leonard Bernstein stepped in at the last minute to conduct the New York Philharmonic for Bruno Walter in Carnegie Hall. Bernstein was just 25-years-old when he successfully led the orchestra through its program.

The concert was broadcasted nationwide, and Bernstein became famous overnight. Thus began the 25-year-old’s journey of becoming one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.

The performance will feature guest soloist Julian Schwarz on cello and principal violist of the Des Moines Symphony, Yee Ling Elaine Ng.


Girlpool is the core duo of Cleo Tucker (guitar and vocals) and Harmony Tividad (bass and vocals).  The Los Angelenos met in November of 2013, each quitting the bands they were involved with at the time.  In just three months they had released their debut EP.  What Chaos Is Imaginary is the third full-length album from Girlpool.  Tucker and Tividad each write and arrange songs for the group.  Tividad claims the record's title track as her own, explaining:  "I was experiencing a lot of mental health issues.  That song comes from a place of being disconnected from reality.  The world

Melisa Walker

The Des Moines Art Center is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Fingerman Lecture with a series of lectures by leading museum directors around the nation.


Deerhunter (not to be confused with Deer Tick, who also have a new record, or Deerhoof, who do not) have a new album intriguingly titled Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?  It's the eighth full-length album from the band formed by Bradford Cox and Moses Archuleta in Atlanta, Georgia in 2001.  Fellow songwriter (with Cox), second guitarist, and sometime lead vocalist Lockett Pundt came aboard a few years later.  I fondly recall Deerhunter's set at 80/35 a few years ago.  Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?  finds Bradford Cox and the band in a more mature mod


This week’s Symphonies of Iowa features Orchestra Iowa and their “Jonathan Biss Plays Beethoven” concert, showcasing the amazing talent of American pianist Jonathan Biss.

The world-renowned pianist, Jonathan Biss, hopes to complete recording all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas by 2020. He also created a Beethoven/5 project, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and five living composers, each writing a concerto inspired by one of Beethoven’s five piano concertos.

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.