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Dec. 7, 2007


Pinchas Zukerman, Israeli violinist and conductor and current music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, will perform with England's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra when it stops at Stephens Auditorium Jan. 20. Submitted photo by Paul Labelle.

England's orchestra comes to Stephens Jan. 20

by Erin Rosacker

The grand opening of Stephens Auditorium in 1969 featured five days of sold-out performances by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. This marked the beginning of the building's rich history of orchestra festivals and concerts -- a tradition that is being highlighted during ISU's sesquicentennial with a Jan. 20 performance by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

"This represents our time in ISU's history timeline -- what we brought to campus, students, the community and the state -- when Stephens was opened," said Angela Ossian, marketing director for the Iowa State Center. "We're highlighting the significance of that by designating the Royal Philharmonic as a signature event."

National tour

The orchestra makes a stop at Stephens as part of its 2008 U.S. tour. Guest conductors Pinchas Zukerman and Jean-Philippe Tremblay will accompany the orchestra's 88 musicians. In addition to being a respected conductor, Zukerman is a Grammy Award-winning soloist. He is scheduled to perform a violin solo during the second of the philharmonic's three-set concert.

"It's a rare opportunity to experience one of the world's most renowned symphonies," Ossian said. "It's for everybody. They'll just be captivated by the music."

Accompanying events

Audience members are invited to a Celebrity Café presentation preceding the concert. ISU music professor emeritus Carl Bleyle will discuss the concert and its highlights at 2:30 p.m. in the ground floor lobby of Stephens.

A benefit dinner at the Scheman Building will follow the 3 p.m. concert, with orchestra members attending as special guests. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the $40 buffet meal will conclude with the announcement of silent auction winners. Auction items range from a custom piano bench designed by Des Moines' Sticks Inc., to jewelry and ticket packages. Proceeds go to the Performing Arts Fund at Stephens.

Tickets for the performance, available from Ticketmaster and the Iowa State Center ticket office, are $52.50 or $62.50, with discounts for ISU students and youth. Tickets to the benefit dinner are sold separately.


Here's a breakdown of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's traveling troupe, by instrument:

  • First violins: 16
  • Second violins: 14
  • Violas: 12
  • Cellos: 10
  • Double basses: 8
  • Flutes: 3
  • Oboes: 3
  • Clarinets: 3
  • Bassoons: 3
  • French horns: 5
  • Trumpets: 3
  • Trombones: 3
  • Tuba: 1
  • Timpani: 1
  • Percussion: 3
  • Total: 88