116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Orchestra Iowa is ready to light the candles on its centennial birthday cake — with a fire extinguisher close by to handle the heat.
From the Old World creatures of “Jurassic Park” to Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Bernstein to the Beatles and Sondheim to Stravinsky, the orchestra is pulling out all the stops for its 2022-23 celebration.
“Our 100th anniversary season is our biggest and most diverse lineup of concerts in our history,” Orchestra Iowa CEO Jeff Collier said in a prepared statement.
“Reaching this magical milestone serves as an extraordinary testament to the enduring power of music in this community and to the generations of musicians and supporters who have worked together to make this moment possible.”
Orchestra Iowa held its first concert as the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra on April 13, 1923 in Sinclair Chapel at Coe College, under the direction of Joseph Kitchin. Since that time, the ensemble has grown into one of the state’s premier orchestras, presenting a full slate of masterworks, pops and chamber concerts each season, with collaborations that bring ballet, opera, jazz and more to the Corridor.
The celebration starts with one of the community’s favorite annual events, Brucemorchestra, at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 on the front lawn at Brucemore mansion. Broadway star Melissa Errico will join the party to celebrate the life and legacy of Stephen Sondheim.
Other party favors include the Maestro’s Birthday Bash on Nov. 7; a Community Holiday Celebration on Dec. 4; a Centennial Gala on April 22; and a Paramount Theatre concert by the world-famous Branford Marsalis Quartet on June 3, 2023.
The upcoming season will feature six Masterworks concerts performed at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, as well as venues in Iowa City and Coralville.
World-renowned talent, including violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Garrick Ohlsson will be featured guests, along with Iowa City-native pianist Conor Hanick; emerging percussion talent Britton-Rene Collins; and the cutting-edge Harlem Quartet.
The Orchestra Masterworks programs will feature newly-commissioned works for Orchestra Iowa by Jerry Owen, Michael Gilbertson and Nancy Hill Cobb, all Iowa-native or Iowa-based composers.
Major orchestral works planned include Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances” from “West Side Story,” Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” and Verdi’s Requiem, with soloists Elaine Alvarez, Deborah Nansteel, Ben Gulley and Donovan Singletary.
Three Masterworks performances also will be held at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City and two at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts.
The Pops season for Orchestra Iowa’s season highlights world-class artists as well. Ann Hampton Callaway, most famous for singing the theme song to the hit TV series “The Nanny,” will be the featured guest artist for the Orchestra’s annual Holiday Spectacular.
Classical Mystery Tour returns for an all-Beatles program, and Havana Nights will heat up the night with appearances by the Mambo Kings and soprano Camille Zamora.
A recent highlight of each Pops series is a movie presented with live orchestra, so get ready for the prehistoric thrills of “Jurassic Park,” featuring one of John Williams’ most recognizable film scores.
Ballet Quad Cities returns for two performances of the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker.” And families can come together to discover the magic of Mozart’s music with "Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage.“
The Shuttleworth Chamber Series will again highlight the talents of Orchestra Iowa musicians with three diverse chamber music concerts at Opus Concert Cafe and the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts.
Subscriptions are on sale now, offering a variety of options and prices, including a “compose your own” series, Masterworks, Pops and Chamber packages. For details, go to artsiowa.com/orchestra-iowa/2022-2023-season-announcement/
Individual event tickets will go on sale July 20.