What We’re Doing in September and October

Pianist Charlie Albright


The Des Moines Symphony’s season is starting with two concerts we’ve had on our calendar since they were announced. The season debut Sept. 27-26, “Gershwin, Rodrigo & Ravel,” stars multiple Grammy-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin. Called the “Monet of the guitar” by one critic, Isbin will perform “Affinity,” which Christopher Brubeck wrote to honor his late father, jazz legend Dave Brubeck, and composed for Isbin to perform. She’ll also play Rodrigo’s “Fantasia para un gentilhombre.”

Then on Oct. 23-24, internationally award-winning pianist, composer and improviser Charlie Albright will join the orchestra to perform Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” The concert also will include Stravinsky’s famous “Firebird Suite,” and we have no doubt the performance will, as the symphony promises, “raise the rafters of the Civic Center.”

Both concerts are at the Des Moines Civic Center. Visit dsmsymphony.com or dmpa.org for times and tickets.


Ballet Des Moines continues to impress with its run of new works. “Salem,” a contemporary ballet created by Tom Mattingly, the company’s artistic director, will explore the infamous story of the 17th-century witch trials and illustrate the devastating consequences of mistaking “different” for “dangerous.” A world premiere, the show will run Oct. 20-29 in the Des Moines Civic Center’s Stoner Theater. Visit balletdesmoines.org for more details.


Originally planned for last spring but delayed because of COVID, Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat” will be performed Sept. 16-25 in Stoner Theater at the Des Moines Civic Center. Presented by Iowa Stage Theatre Company, the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama follows the story of friends who work together on a factory floor but turn against one another as they struggle with a labor strike, racial tensions and the desperation of trying to stay financially afloat. For tickets and more info, go to dmpa.org or iowastagetheater.org.

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