IPR Music

Nicolas Propes

This New Year’s Day at noon, Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa in collaboration with WVIK, presents a broadcast of the Quad City Symphony’s concert recorded on May 3rd of 2018 with world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell. Mr. Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards and is recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize.  Named the Music Director of the Academy of St.

Holiday Special

Dec 18, 2018
Randy Darst

Celebrate the holidays with Iowa Public Radio and the wcfsymphony chamber music group on December 22nd and 23rd performing the music of J.S. Bach.

The program, “A Baroque Holiday”, features music from the Baroque period written by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach spent many years of his life in Leipzig, Germany, where he composed incredible liturgical music for churches. At one point, he was composing a new cantata every week.


Rodney Crowell has been writing and recording in the Americana field for decades.  He released his debut album in 1978, and went on to have his greatest success in country music in the 1980s into the '90s.  He's still at the top of his game as a songwriter, with recent albums that have included two collaborations with Emmylou Harris.  Now Crowell has turned his skills to a holiday record, for the all-original Christmas Everywhere, with no versions of the familiar Yuletide standards to be found.  Like JD McPherson's Socks, it's a singer-songwriter/Americana record that just

Iowa City musician Charlie Cacciatore writes and performs his music under the name Good Morning Midnight, and 2018 saw the release of his second album, Both Neither and Both. The band performs live in various configurations: occasionally, Cacciatore will perform solo, and other times with a full band. We got to hear Good Morning Midnight as a power trio in our studios, and they played songs from the new album and some material that hasn't been recorded yet.

Close to Home

Dec 10, 2018
John Bloom, Summer Evening (detail), 1936, oil on Masonite, Private collection

John Bloom’s art is a celebration of Midwestern life. It also brought love into his life and an opportunity to study with Grant Wood.

The Figge Art Museum’s exhibit “John Bloom: Close to Home” showcases more than 60 works of art by the beloved local artist. Bloom grew up in small town DeWitt, Iowa. He briefly attended St. Ambrose College before enrolling in the Art Institute of Chicago, which eventually lead him to the Stone City Art Colony. There, he met his future wife Isabel and studied with Grant Wood. He also completed multiple mural commissions with Wood.


JD McPherson is a songwriter, vocalist and guitarist who specializes in a retro blend of classic rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and rockabilly.  McPherson and his band don't just play in imitation of those genres; they thoroughly inhabit them.  Since his debut album received wide release in 2012, McPherson has attracted legions of fans who quickly picked up on his authenticity.  His fourth record, Socks, is sure to continue that trend.  It's a fun listen from beginning to end, with the Oklahoma-born McPherson writing (sometimes co-writing) an album's worth of original Christmas s

Nuns and Nudes

Dec 4, 2018
Just to Live is Holy exhibition, Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa

It’s not every day that you see those two words together, but the Dubuque Museum of Art pulls it off with class.

Their exhibit “Just to Live is Holy” showcases works by internationally-known artists such as Sister Corita Kent, in addition to local artists such as Louise Kames, professor or art and Chair of the Art and Art History Department at Clarke University. Their art, along with the other artists, ranges from traditional to abstract, and in every medium imaginable.


Robbie Fulks was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Virginia and North Carolina, and has lived in Chicago since 1983.  He's a singer-songwriter completely comfortable in the realm of neo-traditionalist (or alt) country music.  Louisiana-born singer and pianist Linda Gail Lewis is currently based in Memphis. She's the younger sister of Jerry Lee Lewis, with a long recording career as a solo artist, and also in collaboration through the years with her brother and Van Morrison.  Fulks invited Linda Gail Lewis to Chicago to record Wild! Wild! Wild!

Randy Darst

The wcfsymphony brings cantatas and celebrates the holidays at Waterloo’s Brown Derby Ballroom this Saturday, December 8th.

Their show, “A Baroque Holiday”, features music from the Baroque period written by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach spent many years of his life in Leipzig, Germany, where he composed incredible music for churches in the city. At one point, he was composing a new cantata at a rate of one per week.

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!



IPR blasts off this holiday season with world-class performances from across the globe and next door! Celebrate everything from Hanukah to Christmas to New Year’s Day with Iowa Public Radio.

To see a full schedule of broadcasts, please visit http://www.iowapublicradio.org/ipr-holiday-schedule-2018#stream/0

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.


The shorthand take on J Mascis is that his solo albums are his more mellow side.  The less mellow side would be his work with the band that he co-founded in 1984, Dinosaur Jr.


Matthew Houck was born in Alabama, began performing as Phosphorescent in Athens, Georgia in 2001, and then later became a Brooklyn, NY-based artist.  His latest Phosphorescent project is titled C'est La Vie, recorded in his new hometown of Nashville, at a studio he built himself.  In the five years since the previous Phosphorescent album, Houck has also faced meningitis and became a father twice.  Considering that he named the new album C'est La Vie ("That's life"), it's no surprise that Houck is philosophical about it all.  As he says via his record company:  "These signi

IPR/Tony Dehner

Iowa City musician and songwriter Anthony Worden performed live in IPR's Cedar Falls studios on Nov. 15.  Worden brought his band, dubbed The Illiterati, for a live set that featured songs from his new album Slouching Towards Tomorrow- and more!

Enjoy music and conversation with Anthony Worden right here!

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, and thus began the 25-year-old’s journey of becoming one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.

On Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18, The Des Moines Symphony and Maestro Giunta recreate the concert that kick-started Bernstein’s career.

Duane Tinkey

Glory Denied is based on the true story of America’s longest-held prisoner of war, Vietnam veteran Colonel Jim Thompson. Colonel Thompson was captured when his plane was shot down in 1964 and endured extreme torture until his release in 1973. Colonel Thompson said the only thing that kept him going throughout those nine years were thoughts of his wife and children. However, his homecoming was not as he hoped.

Glory Denied “encapsulates something of the moral essence of the Vietnam War and the imperishable bitterness of its legacy.”

Orchestra Iowa

Cicadas and classical music – it doesn’t get much better than that – except for maybe turkey and classical music. On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, at 3 p.m., Iowa Public Radio will be broadcasting Orchestra Iowa’s “The American Rhapsody.” The concert took place on September 15, 2018.

Brucemorchestra celebrated its 11th Anniversary this year on the front lawn of Brucemore Mansion in Cedar Rapids, and it’s still a big hit.

Nicolas Propes

This Thanksgiving at 1 p.m., Iowa Public Radio’s Performance Iowa presents a broadcast of the Quad City Symphony’s concert recorded on May 3rd of 2018 with world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell. Mr. Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards and is recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize.  Named the Music Director of the Academy of St.


Elvis Costello arrived on the scene in 1977,  just as the new wave of music was breaking.  He had punk attitude, Buddy Holly glasses, and the audacity to appropriate the first name of the King.  Although his songwriting prowess was recognized from the very start, the depth and breadth of Elvis Costello's skill came to be revealed as he went on to explore many diverse musical genres.  The man even wrote songs with Burt Bacharach.  Bacharach is back for three co-writes on Look Now, the first Elvis Costello studio album in five years.  And old friends The Imposters are back t


The Des Moines band The Fuss stopped by IPR's Cedar Falls studios on Nov. 7 for a return appearance on Studio One Tracks.  The group had recently embarked on the tour they have dubbed "The Loving Family Show."  You'll find out all about that, and hear songs from The Fuss' forthcoming new EP during this live set.

Have a listen to The Fuss right here!

Minda Kuckuck

The Des Moines Symphony brings it all together with their 2018 “Yankee Doodle Pops” concert.

Iowa’s own internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Simon Estes thrills the crowd with musical favorites.

Governor Kim Reynolds narrates the Armed Forces Salute and the Oh Say, Can You Sing contest winner, Jennifer Senne, kicks off the show singing the Star Spangled Banner.

Join Iowa Public Radio as we honor the brave men and women who are serving or who have served and fought for our country.


Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George won a Pulitzer Prize and 10 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical. Brainchild James Lapine wrote the book.

Seurat’s masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte lays the groundwork for Sondheim’s musical, Sunday in the Park with George. Seurat’s new painting style and the simplicity of a Parisian Sunday afternoon magnified its popularity.

80 years ago on November 9th and 10th in Germany, Nazis raided, torched, and vandalized Jewish synagogues, homes, businesses, and schools. The result was the death of over 100 Jews and over 30,000 Jewish men arrested and sent to concentration camps. While the Nazis had been oppressing the Jews for years, “The night of broken glass” or “Kristallnacht” marks the beginning of the violent oppression.

IPR/Tony Dehner

Singer-songwriter Courtney Krause brought her ethereal sound and heartfelts songs to Studio One Underground in November. Backed by an all-star band of Des Moines musicians, and performing before an enthusiastic crowd at the Des Moines Social Club, we were treated to two amazing sets of songs from both of Courtney's albums. We also had a lot fun talking between songs, and our conversation touched on numerous subjects, including the first time Courtney heard one of her songs on IPR and a humorous incident at the 2016 80/35 Music Festival.


Philadelphia musician, vocalist and songwriter Kurt Vile was once in the band The War On Drugs, but he's more likely to be known these days for collaborating with Courtney Barnett.  That, plus his solo albums; Bottle It In is Vile's seventh studio release.  It's entirely fitting that Vile opened for Neil Young a while back, playing for 90,000 people in Quebec.  He's kind of a Neil-of-the-mid-70's type figure for the 21st century.  Like Young, Kurt Vile takes inspiration from Americana in its many forms, including country music.  He does a nice version of "Rolling With The

Rob Merritt

Puccini’s last opera, Turandot, revolves around the beautiful Princess Turandot and the charming Prince Calaf. Turandot is full of “blood, violence, and fear – but also love and hope.”

Princess Turandot declares that anyone who attempts to marry her and fails to answer three riddles correctly will be punished by death. Prince Calaf takes on the challenge. As the plot unfolds, sacrifices are made, hearts are broken, and blood is spilled, but love ultimately wins.

The Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s cast for Turandot includes:


Chan Marshall has a musical career that goes back to the early 1990s.   A Caterpillar trucker cap that said "Cat Diesel Power" inspired Marshall to name her first band Cat Power.  Before too long Cat Power became her own stage name.  The Atlanta-born musician, songwriter and soulful vocalist has now released her tenth album, Wanderer.  As Marshall explains via her record label, the title refers to "the course my life has taken in this journey- going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale; with reverence to the people who did this generations before me.  Folk singers, bl