I listen as I write to the radio broadcast of the final concert of the Orchestra Iowa season.
What a season it was, full of distinctive, even unique, programming. With Ballet Quad Cities, the orchestra built upon the Nutcracker tradition in December and then just about made history in the spring with the production of both The Firebird and Petrushka. Alongside the 2014 presentation of The Rite of Spring, we had all three major Stravinsky ballets, right here in Cedar Rapids. That’s a major undertaking for any orchestra or ballet, but more so here because they were not big-city imports but new productions. They were conceived by Eastern Iowa artistic directors and scaled for the producing organizations. Let us hope they have life ahead as presented by other small companies across the country.
In May, Orchestra Iowa performed Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, again a rare treat, and everything conductor Tim Hankewich had promised.
And on the radio in the background to my typing is the final concert featuring Wagner, Sibelius, Dvorák and Strauss. This is a huge orchestra requiring added players and unusual instruments. We don’t get to see or hear this very often because of those additions — which in this concert were put to wonderful use.
All this is meant as a reminder of what a fine resource we have here, homegrown in Cedar Rapids and reaching out across the state. I’m looking forward to next season — Bach, Branford Marsalis, and in just two months, Brucemorchestra! Bravo, Orchestra Iowa.