Orchestra Iowa, opera theater team up

Daniel Kleinknecht
Daniel Kleinknecht

CEDAR RAPIDS – Orchestra Iowa and the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre are teaming up.

Beginning in January, Orchestra Iowa will be the orchestra for Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre productions. Previously, the opera theater contracted freelance musicians.

In addition, Daniel Kleinknecht, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre conductor, has been named resident conductor of Orchestra Iowa. He occasionally will conduct the orchestra, beginning with the first half of the "Burana at Brucemore" season opener Sept. 12 at Brucemore. He also will participate in educational activities and will be first in line to fill in for Orchestra Iowa Maestro Timothy Hankewich in case of an emergency.

“Arts organizations across the country are being forced to explore new ways of operating,” said Robert Massey, Orchestra Iowa executive director. “Due to the 2008 flood, Cedar Rapids area organizations had a jump on thinking outside-the-box. Alternate venues and adaptive programming are the mainstay of artistic planning. So is collaboration, as arts organizations working together are much stronger than just the sum of their individual efforts. This partnership enhances each organization’s mission, sets a new standard for artistic collaboration and makes a lasting mark on Eastern Iowa’s cultural landscape.”

Founded in April 1921, Orchestra Iowa is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River. Its 82 professional musicians perform more than 120 public performances throughout Eastern Iowa each year, many of which can be heard on Iowa Public Radio and seen on Iowa Public Television.

Kleinknecht is founder, executive director and conductor of Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Under his leadership, the company has received five consecutive National Endowment for the Arts grants, has established a nationally recognized Young Artist Program and has built several endowments for the opera company. In its 10th anniversary season, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre received an Iowa Department of Education 2008 Governor’s Volunteer Award.

Kleinknecht is an associate professor of music at Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids.

 He has been a Conducting Fellow at the Aspen Music School and at Quebec’s Domaine Forget, and holds music degrees from Oberlin College, Indiana University and the University of Iowa where he conducted performances of the OperaTheatre and the Center for New Music.  

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