Des Moines Symphony Announces 2017-2018 Season: Music in Motion

April 1, 2017

The Des Moines Symphony is pleased to announce its 80th Anniversary Season: Music in Motion.

From Slavonic folk dance to Russian ballet and Spanish flamenco, the Symphony’s 2017-2018 Season takes its inspiration from music written for the dance. The Symphony’s seven-concert Masterworks series highlights Tchaikovsky’s masterful 19th-century ballet music, Johann Strauss, Jr.’s whirling waltzes, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, his “Apotheosis of the Dance” – and so much more. In November, the Des Moines Symphony presents the Iowa premiere of Siudy Flamenco Dance Theater’s electrifying one-act ballet, El amor brujo (‘Love, the Magician’), in a Spanish-influenced concert bursting with Andalusian rhythms and folk melodies. Finally, the Symphony’s exhilarating 80th Season closes in May with George Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue.

The Symphony’s three-concert Pops series is back for its third year of exciting performances. This season’s unforgettable experiences include the iconic music of Queen, the classic sounds of Motown, and Tony Award-winning star of the original Broadway cast of Hamilton, Leslie Odom, Jr.

“From the opening notes of Weber’s Invitation to the Dance to the closing strains of Ravel’s La Valse, our 80th Season features some of classical music’s most beloved orchestral pieces,” said Music Director and Conductor Joseph Giunta. “We are very excited to perform this exhilarating season, and we look forward to celebrating ‘Music in Motion’ with you.”

Masterworks season highlights:

  • Our 80th Season, ‘Music in Motion,’ opens with Weber’s Invitation to the Dance and two-time GRAMMY nominee Jennifer Frautschi performing Bruch’s beloved First Violin Concerto. Rachmaninoff’s final work, the brilliantly scored Symphonic Dances, ends our Season Debut in a blaze of whirling melodies. (Sep 23 & 24)
  • Listen as the Des Moines Symphony plays Wagner’s mythic Overture to Tannhäuser followed by Richard Strauss’s dazzling, celestial Death and Transfiguration. Finally, the elegant, sweeping melodies of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake glide and whirl in this salute to the master of 19th Century dance music. (Oct 21 & 22)
  • In November, join us for Ritual Fire Dance. Hear Rodrigo’s beautiful Concierto de Aranjuez played by Jose Luis de la Paz – then Falla’s flamenco-inspired masterpiece, El amor brujo, is brought to rhythmic, vivid life in the Iowa premiere of the one-act ballet featuring internationally acclaimed Venezuelan dancer Siudy Garrido and her electrifying flamenco dance company. (Nov 18 & 19)
  • At the invitation of Joseph Giunta, renowned English conductor Christopher Seaman leads the Symphony in Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, the historic collaboration between Stravinsky and Diaghilev at the Ballet Russes. But first, violinist Simone Porter returns to Des Moines by popular demand to play Sibelius’s brilliant, impassioned Violin Concerto. (Feb 10 & 11)
  • In March, join us for Beethoven 7: Apotheosis of the Dance. Pianist and host of NPR’s ‘From the Top’ Christopher O’Riley returns to Des Moines for a bravura performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto. Then, experience the sheer joy and rhythmic energy of Beethoven’s celebratory Seventh Symphony – “the apotheosis of the dance.” (Mar 24 & 25)
  • In April, go Beyond the Score in our eighth annual collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. English composer Edward Elgar wrote his much-loved Enigma Variations to depict “friends pictured within,” but the titular enigma is an unplayed “theme” that Elgar often hinted at but never revealed. (Apr 28 & 29)
  • Our Season Finale begins with the swirling music of the waltz king, Johann Strauss, Jr., and ends with Ravel’s brilliantly colored take on the music of Strauss, La Valse. But first, award-winning pianist Charlie Albright returns to play George Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue. (May 19 & 20)

Pops Season highlights:

  • The Des Moines Symphony “will rock you” with The Music of Queenin November. Amplified with a full rock band and soaring vocals, the ensemble captures Queen’s distinct sound from “Somebody to Love” to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and more. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind tribute to one of the most iconic bands in history! (Nov 11)
  • Ring in the New Year with award-winning vocal group Spectrum at the Symphony’s Annual New Year’s Eve Pops: The Classic Hits of Motown. You’ll hear all your favorite Motown hits – from “Under the Boardwalk” to “Soul Man” and more – backed by the full orchestral power of your Des Moines Symphony. (Dec 31)
  • Leslie Odom, Jr. took the Broadway world by storm when he originated the role of Aaron Burr in the blockbuster musical Hamilton and won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Don’t miss Leslie Odom, Jr. in Concert – one night only! (May 12 – in Collaboration with Des Moines Performing Arts)


 2017-2018 subscription packages guarantee the best seats at the lowest available prices. Subscriptions may be purchased at, by calling 515.246.2300, or in person 9am-5pm at the Civic Center Ticket Office (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines) beginning Monday, April 3 and at any remaining concerts of the 2016-2017 season. An on-sale date for remaining tickets will be announced in late summer 2017.

2017-2018 Masterworks concerts, 7:30 p.m. Saturdays & 2:30 p.m. Sundays at the Des Moines Civic Center (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines IA, 50309). For complete program details, please use the links below:

2017-2018 Pops concerts at the Des Moines Civic Center (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines IA, 50309):

Visit for complete season details.