Little Johnny & Papa Haydn tells the story of the most famous movie composer of our time, John Williams, and the “father of string quartets,” Joseph Haydn. Their stories come together in an original concert that will dazzle the imagination through imagery, narration, and a string quartet performance by Des Moines Symphony musicians Julie Fox Henson, Linda Pfund Swanson, Nathalie Cruden, and Mary Pshonik.

Sensory-friendly concerts are designed for audiences of all ages and abilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum and those with sensory sensitivities. These concerts take place in a relaxed concert atmosphere with a variety of seating options where audience members are welcome to be who they are and enjoy music together with family and friends.

A limited number of tickets will be available for this concert in order to ensure accessibility to those with sensory sensitivities. A “Quiet Zone” with bean bag chairs, fidgets, coloring pages, and blankets will be available so that guests may step in and out of the Grand Hall as needed. Guests are also welcome to bring their own comfort items, fidgets, and noise-cancelling headphones.

General admission tickets are $10 and are available online through and will be available for purchase at the door.

Prior to the concert, the Des Moines Symphony will host an open house in partnership with other organizations in the Des Moines metro area who offer sensory-friendly opportunities. The Open House will begin at 2:00pm and will take place in the Recital Hall, next door to the Grand Hall.

Participating organizations include:

  • Adventures in Social Drama
  • Des Moines Art Center
  • Music Speaks
  • Science Center of Iowa
  • Get Air – Trampoline Park
  • Des Moines Playhouse
  • Spirit Taekwando
  • Des Moines Performing Arts
  • Monkey Joe’s
  • Blank Park Zoo