Des Moines Symphony Announces 2018-2019 Season

March 24, 2018

The Des Moines Symphony is pleased to announce its 81st Anniversary Season: Giunta Celebrates Bernstein.

The 2018-2019 season marks Maestro Joseph Giunta’s thirtieth year as Music Director & Conductor of the Des Moines Symphony. This year, Maestro Giunta has chosen music that celebrates the centennial of legendary American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. From On the Town to West Side Story; Candide to Chichester Psalms – Bernstein’s creative energy bursts forth from every concert in the 2018-2019 Season.

This season also highlights some of Maestro Giunta’s personal favorites from his thirty years with the Des Moines Symphony. The 81st Season begins in September with the music that first launched Maestro Giunta’s career at the Des Moines Symphony: Mahler’s virtuosic ‘Titan’ Symphony. In November, the Symphony recreates the famous 1943 broadcast that launched Bernstein’s career. The Orchestra plays Dvořák’s famed New World Symphony in March, and Iowa’s own esteemed Simon Estes joins the Orchestra for Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess in April. The season concludes in May with Bernstein’s iconic, beloved West Side Story.

The Symphony’s three-concert Pops series is back for another year of exciting performances. This season’s unforgettable experiences include the iconic music of Led Zeppelin in October, New Year’s Eve with the iconic sounds of Broadway from West Side Story to Wicked, and Broadway stars Brian Stokes Mitchell and Megan Hilty in May.

“Bernstein inspired me as a young musician, and I hope you’ll discover similar inspiration in the season-long celebration we’ve planned,” said Music Director and Conductor Joseph Giunta. “We are thrilled to bring you this season of exhilarating, beloved music.”

2018-2019 Masterworks Season:

  • Season Debut: Beethoven & Mahler’s ‘Titan’ Joseph Giunta’s 30th Anniversary Season opens with Mahler’s virtuosic “Titan” Symphony — plus, Inon Barnatan plays Beethoven’s iconic “Emperor” Concerto. (Sep 22 & 23, 2018)
  • On the Town Bernstein’s valentine to New York comes to life in a colorful, jazz-inflected concert showcasing the musicians of the Des Moines Symphony (Oct 27 & 28, 2018)
  • Bernstein’s Famous 1943 Broadcast Hear the concert that launched the career of America’s most famous classical musician – featuring the Des Moines Symphony and virtuoso cellist Julian Schwarz (Nov 17 & 18, 2018)
  • Nelson Conducts Bernstein Celebrated conductor John Nelson leads the orchestra in Bernstein’s Divertimento – plus, experience Roman Rabinovich’s bravura performance of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto (Feb 16 & 17, 2019)
  • Ellis Island / The New World Experience Dvorak’s famed Ninth Symphony in an inspiring celebration of the New World – plus, Anne-Marie McDermott plays Gershwin’s Concerto in F (Mar 16 & 17, 2019)
  • Simon Sings Porgy & Bess Simon Estes sings selections from Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, plus hear Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms featuring Luther College’s celebrated Nordic Choir (Apr 27 & 28, 2019)
  • Season Finale: Bernstein’s West Side Story Bernstein’s iconic, beloved West Side Story, plus Respighi’s Pines of Rome raises the roof in a stunning blaze of brass (May 18 & 19, 2019)

2018-2019 Pops Season

  • The Music of Led Zeppelin Celebrate the iconic music of Led Zeppelin with the Des Moines Symphony! Amplified by a blazing hot rock band and screaming vocals, the Orchestra captures Led Zeppelin’s sheer blast and power, riff for riff. You’ll hear all your favorite Zeppelin tunes, from “Stairway to Heaven” to “Whole Lotta Love,” “Kashmir,” and much more. (Oct 13, 2018)
  • New Year’s Eve Pops: From West Side Story to Wicked Ring in the New Year with the soaring sounds of Broadway featuring the Tony®-nominated Callaway Sisters! You’ll hear showstoppers from West Side Story, Chicago, Funny Girl, Carousel, Wicked and more – all backed by the full orchestral power of your Des Moines Symphony. (Dec 31, 2018)
  • Brian Stokes Mitchell & Megan Hilty in Concert with the Des Moines Symphony With stunning voices and booming Broadway careers, award-winning Broadway superstars Megan Hilty and Brian Stokes Mitchell bring fresh insight to a program of classic hits and unforgettable songs, including music from Cole Porter, George Gershwin and more. Don’t miss this unforgettable evening with two of Broadway’s brightest stars! (May 11, 2019 – in Collaboration with Des Moines Performing Arts)


Subscriptions may be purchased online, by calling 515.246.2300, or in person 9am-5pm at the Civic Center Ticket Office (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines) beginning at 9am Monday, March 26 and at any remaining concerts of the 2017-2018 season. Single tickets will go on sale Wednesday, August 1.

2018-2019 Masterworks concerts take place 7:30 p.m. Saturdays & 2:30 p.m. Sundays at the Des Moines Civic Center (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines IA, 50309).