Julie Fox Henson
  • Instrument Associate Concertmaster, First Violin

Julie Fox Henson is the Associate Concertmaster of the Des Moines Symphony, violinist for the Willis Broadway Series and soloist and chamber musician throughout the area. Ms. Henson enjoys a successful teaching studio in the Ames/Des Moines area and was voted the 2010 Leopold LaFosse Studio Teacher of the Year by the Iowa String Teachers Association. Since the summer of 2001, she has been a member of the Belin String Quartet, which has a summer concert series in Des Moines and performs concerts and educational programs throughout the year. Ms. Henson performed throughout the U.S. and parts of Europe and South America from 1982 to 1992 as the first violinist of the Montclaire String Quartet. The ensemble won first place in the Coleman and Monterey Chamber Music Competitions in California, and a prize at the Evian String Quartet Competition in France. She has held the position of Concertmaster for the West Virginia Symphony and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony.

Member of the Orchestra since

I first subbed with the DMSO in 1989 when I was living in Waterloo, as a member of the Montclaire String Quartet, which was in residence with UNI and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony. I became a member of the DMSO first violin section in 1997.

Most memorable experience with the Orchestra

My most memorable performance with the DMSO has to be when I played Bach's Double Concerto with Jonathan Sturm and the string section. It was really fun to perform such a beautiful and familiar piece and to get all dressed up! I also have to mention the concert when we played the music from the Lord of the Rings with the huge choir, boy soprano and young soprano soloist, not to mention the sold-out audience!

How I got started playing my instrument

I started playing the violin when a Suzuki teacher came to my classroom and asked, “Who wants to play the violin?” I remember thinking about all the Jascha Heifetz recordings my dad listened to and that my sisters played the violin. I raised my hand, thinking, “Of course I’ll learn to play the violin!"

Favorite composer

I honestly don’t have a favorite composer. I like Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Prokofiev, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Saint-Seans.

Favorite solo piece

There are so many pieces of music I adore. Probably one that rises to the top is the Schubert's Cello Quintet in C by Schubert. The second theme in the first movement is worthy of a tombstone! (Someone has already done that.)  It was so very rewarding to perform this movement on the first Des Moines Symphony Spotlight at the Temple concert with my colleagues.


I love to hike in the mountains of New Hampshire when I am out there for the music festival in the summers. I also love running, swimming, and game night with my two wonderful boys.

Other than classical music _____ is on my iPod

I have lots of light jazz, some Elton John, and a few great country songs. After our 2011 New Year's Eve Pops concert with Spectrum, I had to download Rubberband Man!