Russian Masters

Posted On by

Orchestra Iowa performs a concert of Russian masterpieces featuring Brian Lewis, violin


CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – April 2015 – Orchestra Iowa presents a concert full of Russian masterpieces showcasing the work of Tchaikovsky in his Violin Concerto featuring Brian Lewis, Glazunov’s The Spring and Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 on Friday, May 1, 7:30 PM at the Iowa City West High Auditorium and Saturday, May 2, 7:30 PM at the Cedar Rapids Paramount Theatre.

Perhaps the greatest violin concerto of all time, Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece highlights this performance of Russian musings. Featuring one of the most versatile and charismatic violinists on the current scene, Brian Lewis’ artistry has been heard and embraced around the world. This program offers audiences a rare opportunity to revel in the Romantic repertoire and experience the magnificence of composers Glazunov and Borodin.

Brian Lewis is one of the leading violinists of his generation. “The Tchaikovsky violin concerto is arguably the most difficult concerto in the repertoire,” says Maestro Hankewich. Tim and Brian first worked together in Kansas City over 10 years ago. “We immediately hit it off together, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to bring him here post-flood. This particular concerto not only features his considerable technical ability, but to perform it with somebody of such rare talent is a real privilege. The audience is sure to jump to its feet after they witness this incredible tour de force”.

The Violin Concerto in D major by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was sketched out in a mere 11 days and is now one of the most popular violin concertos in musical literature. Despite its popularity now, it was considered coarse when it was first performed in 1881. It’s hard to hear this vulgarity when the piece is full of a melodic unfolding that seems to pull one into the heart of Russia and brings everything Russian together in one piece.

Spring from Alexander Glazunov’s The Seasons was originally composed for ballet. It is a light-hearted number meant to evoke flowers, animals dancing and fly around the forest. The listener will be able to hear and enjoy these different characters enacting scenes of spring by Glazunov’s use of lively rhythms and colorful melodies.

Alexander Borodin’s Second Symphony in B minor brings to life images of old Russian scenes. This is one of Borodin’s few finished works and has a close connection to his unfinished opera Prince Igor. Each movement is quite different from the others and yet each adheres to a strong sense of Russian tradition creating a work with large magnitude and emotional depth.

Tickets for the performance range in price from $19-$49 and may be purchased online at or by calling 319.366.8203. Children 18 and under are eligible for half price tickets, college students are eligible for $10 tickets and group pricing is available. Tickets are also available through the Orchestra Iowa Ticket Office, 119 Third Avenue SE, Monday – Friday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Saturday, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.


Timothy Hankewich, Orchestra Iowa Music Director
Brian Lewis, violin


GLAZUNOV — The Spring
BORODIN — Symphony No. 2
TCHAIKOVSKY — Violin Concerto


Friday, May 1, 7:30 PM, Iowa City West High Auditorium
Saturday, May 2, 7:30 PM, Cedar Rapids Paramount Theatre


Orchestra Iowa is recognized as the state’s premier symphony orchestra, under the direction Timothy Hankewich, now in his ninth year as Music Director.

Founded in 1921, the mission of Orchestra Iowa is “to foster enjoyment of, and support for fine symphonic music through quality performances, education and community involvement”. Its 68 professional musicians perform more than 188 public and educational performances throughout the year, many of which can be heard on Iowa Public Radio and seen on Iowa Public Television. Orchestra Iowa showcases its artistic excellence each season through an accomplished array of classical, ballet, opera, popular and chamber performances, in addition to extensive community education and involvement.


Dee Bierschenk
Marketing Manager