Iowa orchestras cater to baby boomers with symphonic rock

Posted on: January 15, 2010

In Wednesday’s (1/13) Des Moines Register (Iowa), Michael Morain writes, “In the next few months Iowa’s finest orchestras will perform music by Stravinsky, Sibelius and Brahms. Oh, and ABBA. And the Eagles. And Queen. ‘There’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” of course, but my secret guilty pleasure is “Fat Bottomed Girls,” ’ said Orchestra Iowa music director Timothy Hankewich, who plans to conduct ‘Queen: A Rock and Symphonic Spectacular’ on April 10 in Cedar Rapids. Rock impersonators were around even before Elvis died, but classical tributes to classic rock are a fairly new phenomenon. They’re catching on around the country as orchestras try to cater to Baby Boomer tastes. … Orchestra Iowa (formerly the Cedar Rapids Symphony) has already built concerts around the music of the Beatles and Elton John. Last May they played a program called ‘Take It to the Limit: The Music of the Eagles’ before a baseball game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.” Although the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s Led Zeppelin concert “did little to boost attendance at the orchestra’s traditional concerts—Led Zeppelin fans don’t automatically spring for tickets to hear Vivaldi—it helped the orchestra market itself to a wider community. On that score, the event was so popular that the orchestra has invited the same guest conductor and arranger, Brent Havens, and his band back to help perform Eagles tunes on June 5, and there are plans in the works for 2011.”

Posted January 15, 2010