Articles and Reviews


DSM MAGAZINE May-June, 2014

Iowa City Press CitiZen - A Gannett Company

Celebrate Mother's Day with music

May 4, 2013 2:15 PM   |  

Let’s face it: Mother’s Day is the most universal holiday because everybody has a mother.

Celebrate this Mother’s Day by attending the Iowa City Community String Orchestra’s spring concert. The classical music tradition isn’t as long as the tradition of motherhood, but they have many things in common. To sustain either, one must care for one’s offspring so they may continue the tradition.

When planning our spring concert, I was aware that it would fall on Mother’s Day. Each piece on the program is significant because of a very special woman. Each represents our long tradition, and each is a gift to future generations.

The first work on the program is Grieg’s famous “Holberg Suite.” Often programmed by high school orchestras, this well-known work is a challenge both because of its greatness and its familiarity.

What I didn’t realize was how intimidated I would feel about conducting this work with one of my role models, Candace Wiebener, sitting on the first desk of violins. Candace taught the work to hundreds of students during her tenure as City High’s Orchestra Director. In rehearsals, I found myself thinking, “What would Candy do? How did she teach this?” I realize now that my respect for Candy as a teacher makes me want to please her, like a mother, and make her proud of both me and the many ICCSO members who were once her students.

The second work on the program is the new baby. Linda Robbins Coleman, a founding member of the Iowa Composer’s Forum, began working on “Suite Antique” in 1998.

The process was interrupted by her care giving for her elderly mother and it wasn’t until I asked her last year for a new piece that she got back to it and finished a remarkable five movement work that she says “looks back as it moves forward.”

Each movement is dedicated to someone special to her, but the heart of the piece, “Memoré,” is dedicated to her mother. It took Linda 15 years to complete this work, and now she will finally hear it in performance. The orchestra has worked very hard to bring this baby into the world.

The final work is the fourth violin concerto of Mozart. In 2005, the ICCSO started a cycle of all five Mozart concertos with the new UI faculty violinist, Katie Wolfe. This long-term project has been a wonderful experience for all of us, and each performance has been stronger and more mature. This performance will be no exception because of Katie’s beautiful playing and our collective experience. It is my hope that this project has enriched our community. Motherhood is a long-term commitment.

My own mother, who died two years ago, taught me something very important about being a parent, teacher and artist. She said, “Love what you do, and do what you do with your whole heart.” I can’t think of three people who embody this more than Candy, Linda and Katie or an orchestra that does this better than the ICCSO.

Come to the Englert at 3 p.m. May 12. If you are a kid, bring your mother, and if you are a mother, bring your kid. As always, admission is free.

Carey Bostian has been conductor of the ICCSO since 1998.

Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Independence Day Spectacular Concert at AACC

By Mary P. Johnson

    Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Independence Day concert was indeed spectacular in offering a brilliantly conceived program of great music.  An audience estimated at 8,000 by AACC was treated to a musical evening to remember.  No mere casual outdoor summer concert, this program celebrated freedom in music composed by 19th century European composers and by contemporary Americans to appeal to a wide audience.

    From young families with small children to retirees – everyone could enjoy this family friendly environment. A surprising majority seemed quietly attentive to the music. I met many friends from AACC continuing education courses and their grandchildren along with one special 2-year old attending her first concert – Madeline carried two balloons as she moved through the crowd like a big girl. Seated on the grass directly behind us a young father pointed out the various musical instruments to his children who listened intently. We also enjoyed observing the universal rhythmic appeal of the music so irresistible to toddlers and teens alike as they danced near the bandstand.

    After a stirring version of the National Anthem, the music brightened with an energetic piece that I mistakenly attributed to Leonard Bernstein to learn later from Jose-Luis Novo that it was composed by Linda Robbins Coleman, who lives in Iowa and whom he described as “one of a growing number of important contemporary women composers.”  This bright start augured well for the thoughtful program that followed including spirited music by 19th century French composer Hector Berlioz whose “Hungarian March” used a familiar folk theme to stir the passions of Hungarians oppressed by the Germans.  Maestro Novo commented that Iranians might need such a theme now.

    Tying to another news event, Maestro Novo suggested that one of the songs to be heard next be dedicated to the memory of superstar Michael Jackson who had died the previous day. Jackson could not have been honored more meaningfully than by African American composer George Walker’s “Four Spirituals for Orchestra” – two songs adding breadth and poignancy to the program. Uncannily at this concert many of us were introduced to the Washington, D.C. composer on his 87th birthday - George Walker was born in Washington on June 27, 1922.


    Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” honored the 200th birthday of our venerated 16th president Abraham Lincoln in this rich musical portrait that was well narrated by WBJC radio host Mark Malinowski.

    After this profound historical tribute - an appropriate leap to another all-American art form combining irresistible Broadway show tunes with classic jazz in a tribute to American icon Louis Armstrong in “Satchmo Suite” containing unforgettable tunes “What a Wonderful World,” “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Hello Dolly” all associated with the great Satchmo.

    Children under age 8 were invited to conduct along with Maestro Novo in John Philip Sousa’s “El Capitan March” – their shining colored batons raised to create an enchanting picture.

    Veterans in the audience were recognized in the “Armed Forces Medley” – rising for their particular service theme.  Some other selections came before Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” to signal the beginning of a spectacular fireworks display to end this special musical evening.



Features Desk

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:21 PM CDT

CCS Staff Writer

Seasons of Success

An artists colony of two enjoys

continuing success in the performing arts 

They said it wouldn’t last.

More than three decades ago everyone thought that William S. E. Coleman had lost his mind when he began dating Linda Robbins. Here he was a successful theatre arts professor at Drake University, an internationally recognized director, actor and playwright who had just returned from a year-long sabbatical in London with his two sons and a daughter-in-law. Linda was a young woman beginning a career in music, making her mark as a classical and jazz pianist, French horn and vibes player, completing her studies as a music education major at Drake, and starting up a business in piano tuning. When they met at a party, showing horror films no less, something clicked.

It made more sense that Linda was drawn to Bill. “I was always attracted to older men, having been brought up in a lively home with a father who was a half century older than I was. I found Bill to be the most interesting, creative, and intelligent man I had ever met. He was also divorced which meant he was available. At first my friends all thought I was crazy, even though they admired and respected him. I just thought I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time and that he saw something in me. We were meant to be.”

Unlikely as the pairing was, insane as it appeared to be, something about this couple seemed to work. They met on Labor Day, 1975, and married a year and a half later. She became Linda Robbins Coleman and they became a formidable team. “Most of our friends said it wouldn’t last six months,” they both agree, “but we proved all of them wrong.” In the following years “Doc and Linda” have been a driving force in Central Iowa culture both individually and as a team.

Together they collaborated on more than 30 productions at Drake; became the only foreigners allowed to observe rehearsals of the Greek National Theatre at Epidauros for eight years; founded the prototype of the Friends of Drake Arts; researched, wrote, proofed and edited the acclaimed book “Voices of Wounded Knee;” gave multi-media lectures about Buffalo Bill Cody both here and abroad; co-founded the Iowa Composers Forum and served as its home office for its first ten years; researched the assistance of the Danish people in helping to save the Jews during WWII; and supported each other’s creative potential. This is only a partial list and doesn’t even begin to include what they have accomplished individually, either. It is safe to say that no married couple in the arts in Iowa have had as many performances, awards, and productions on a national and international scale as Bill and Linda Coleman.


His “Golden Years” Are Truly Golden

Although he retired from Drake University in 2002, William refuses to slow down and accept the fact that he should act like an octogenarian.

“This year I turned 82. It’s been a great year for me as a writer. I doubt that many younger writers have had as good a 12 months as I have had.

Two of my full length comedies received major international awards - one included a production, another a pending Equity reading and an option. Eight of my plays received productions - three in Des Moines, two in Chicago, one in Florida, one Pennsylvania, and one in Sydney, Australia. Four were selected from an international call for plays.

My romantic comedy, ONE GOLDEN MOMENT (the basis of the screenplay “Kefi”), won the first place Grindstone Award in the Jennerstown (PA) Mountain Playhouse’s Annual International Comedy Competition. The award includes a cash prize, an Equity reading of the play in September, 2008, an all expenses trip for Linda and me to the reading, and an option for production through 2010.


This month I accepted an Option/Purchase Agreement from Los Angeles based Adventures in Film, Inc., a production company headed by Ira Besserman, for my romantic comedy, “Kefi.” My screenplay is based upon my full-length stage play, “One Golden Moment”, which won the Jennerstown Mountain Playhouse’s International Comedy Competition in July. The two events are not connected, but they are a wonderful coincidence. 

Besserman’s previous credits include “When a Man Falls in the Forest,” starring Sharon Stone and Timothy Hutton, and “Johnny Was,” which starred Patrick Bergin, Vinnie Jones, Eriq La Salle and Roger Daltry. Besserman also worked as an associate producer with Christopher Lloyd. If the film is realized, it will be shot entirely in Greece and mainly on a Cycladian island. 


These are the other productions and awards my plays received during the 2007-2008 season:

My one-act play “Twilight Time” was presented as part of a bill of 10 plays, Night Caps 2 from June 5 to June 15, 2008, at the Lincoln Square Theatre, Chicago.

In an international call for plays, a short version of my long one-act “Smith” was produced May 31, 2008, by Darknight Theatrical Productions on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

My full-length comedy “The Morning After the Night Before,” after receiving the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre’s James Sunwall International Comedy Award, was produced in Gainesville, Florida,  July  28, 2007, at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Writing for the Region Festival.

“Closing Time” was produced as part of a cycle of plays dealing with the Seven Deadly Sins – “An Evening of Delicious Sin” – by the Iowa Scriptwriters Association April 24-27, 2008, at the 4th Street Theatre, Des Moines. Coleman co-founded the ISA in 1997 with five other Iowa writers, served as the first president, and has remained a driving force in the organization. The “Sins” project was conceived and organized by Coleman, with assistance by Mrs. Coleman.

“A More Perfect Union,” was produced by Lucubrations in their Short play Series April 8, 9, 15, 16, 2008, at the 4th Street Theatre, Des Moines, IA.

A long version of “Twilight Time” was presented from October 5 to 13, 2007, at the Blacktown Community Theatre, Sydney, Australia, after being selected in an international call for plays for their annual “4-Shorts Plus.

In an international call for one-act play dealing with dreams, my “After Midnight” was one of eight plays selected for production from August 16 to 19, 2007, in the Lebanon (PA) Community Theatre’s Annual Play Writing Competition.

“May I?” was produced by the Drama Workshop at the 2007 Iowa Fringe Festival 9 (July 19-22, 2007).

In November, 2007, Drake University flew Bill to the Coast and honored “Doc” with a party of Theatre alumni in Los Angeles. More than 50 former students ranging from thirty years of graduates attended this get-together. In June, 2008, more than forty alumni gathered to celebrate their years with “Doc and Linda” at a luncheon in Chicago. All told, since his retirement from Drake in 2002, the Coleman’s have received more than 2,800 emails, letters, phone calls, and visits from their students at Drake. “My thirty-seven years at Drake were incredible,” Bill says, “and I was blessed to have a quality of student that put the theatre department on the map. In recent years our students have been nominated and/or awarded five Emmy’s, two Obies, and an Oscar, along with many other regional and national awards.”

It’s All Music To Her Ears

If success is contagious, then Linda Robbins Coleman has caught the bug.

Blessed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy and optimism, she admits that marrying Bill Coleman isn’t the only thing in her life that seems implausible.

“I am fortunate that I have exceeded all of my childhood dreams. Here I am, a woman in Des Moines, Iowa who has only a Bachelor of Music Education degree, and yet I have managed to put together a life that far exceeds anything I could have dreamed of. I’ve gone from being “jazz chick” and a piano tuner to becoming the first Iowa woman to serve as Composer in Residence with a symphony orchestra. I’ve gone from pumping gas to being the first Iowa woman to hear my music performed in the “major leagues” on a concert by the Milwaukee Symphony. Most composers struggle to hear their music performed once, and yet I’ve been blessed that my works are performed all through the United States and abroad, not once but many times. It has been a remarkable life.”

The last two seasons are a reflection of Coleman’s career. While she juggles many things, including care-giving her elderly mother, running two households, and helping her husband with his business, Coleman continues to be in great demand as a composer.

“I am grateful for the internet, and for computers in general. I have been composing on the computer since 1987, and it has made all the difference. I cannot imagine having to copy parts by hand, or having to hire copy assistants to get my music out. I am grateful for another reason as well, since my own handwriting isn’t easy to read.”

Coleman has been amazed at how her music seems to reach out and touch people. In the past sixteen years she has been performed and broadcast by more than 60 organizations and orchestras in more than 26 states, as well as in England, Europe, and Canada. In Iowa she has been performed by ten orchestras, and served as Composer in Residence with both the Wartburg Community Symphony from 1995-96 and the Cedar Rapids Symphony from 1994-96 and 2001-02. In less than ten years the Cedar Rapids Symphony performed seven of her works, some of them more than once.

“It was an incredible experience. I fell in love with that orchestra from the first moment I heard them. I still serve on the Artistic Committee, and I think they are one of Iowa’s greatest cultural treasures. It broke my heart to see those pictures during the flood of 2008. But they are amazing, and will survive this challenge and be even stronger than before.”

In 1999 she traveled to England to hear her British debut with her “biggest hit so far” titled “In Good King Charles’s Golden Days.” “It’s an overture based on something I wrote for Drake Theatre and then expanded to a full symphonic piece. It’s been performed from Hawaii to the U.K., and throughout the United States. It was my first orchestra piece, and is my most performed.”

In recent years she has had the enviable experience of many orchestras performing her music in consecutive seasons. “That is almost unheard of for anyone but Beethoven, Mozart, or the other DWEMS (Dead White European Males). Last season the Garden State Philharmonic in New Jersey performed my tone poem, “For A Beautiful Land.” This piece was commissioned by the Cedar Rapids Symphony for the Iowa Sesquicentennial, and has been performed throughout the USA. What was amazing was that the following season the Garden State conductor programmed my “Hibernia Suite,” for string orchestra for their “Irish Spring” concert.’” Although Coleman wasn’t able to attend the performance in March, she had audience members who she’d never met email her to praise the performance. “Like I said, the Internet is wonderful,” Coleman exclaims.

The same thing happened in Oklahoma. Last season the Bartlesville Symphony ended their season with a performance of “For A Beautiful Land” on a concert featuring the violinist Mark O’Connor. And this season they opened with a gala concert celebrating the Oklahoma Centennial, the 50th anniversary of the orchestra and the 30th of the conductor with that orchestra using my suite, ‘The Celebration! A Symphonic Jubilee” on a concert with the Canadian Brass. “It was a wonderful experience, and they invited me to join them for this concert. It was a wonderful weekend, with a big write-up in the newspaper, a proclamation by the governor, and a huge celebration.”

Coleman sometimes finds it difficult to keep up with the demand. “I’ve had to slow down on accepting commissions for new works in recent years due to all the other things going on in my life. It also keeps me quite busy keeping up with the performances of my established music since I handle my own publishing business. Currently I am finishing a string orchestra suite for an orchestra in Iowa and am about to begin another commission for another orchestra to be performed in the 2009-10 season. In between I have parts to send to various organizations and orchestras throughout the country. When the phone rings I never know where the next performance will be!”

Coleman’s efforts and accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed. In 1999 she was awarded the National Honorary Membership in the professional music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota. This is the highest honor the organization awards to members. In 2000 she became the 8th person to be inducted into the Hoover High School Hall of Fame here in Des Moines.

On May 16, 2008, she was awarded Drake University’s distinguished Alumni Achievement Award at the Drake National Awards Dinner. This honor is bestowed annually to one individual for outstanding achievement in a career or profession and reflects the pride of Drake University in those achievements.

“It was an incredible evening at the end of a wonderful year,” Coleman says. “I felt like I’ve come full circle. Drake has been such a part of my life since I was five years old. I was humbled and honored to be awarded this recognition.”

Linda Robbins Coleman has no trouble summing up everything that has happened, both with her husband William and in her own creative experience. “It truly has been a wonderful life.”


SLIDE SHOW: Listen to an excerpt of Robbins Coleman's "Journeys" – and follow along with a simplified version of the printed score.

Des Moines native Linda Robbins Coleman compared part of her “Journeys” to the sounds of “a peg-legged pirate who happens upon some kind of Spanish festival.” Listen to the excerpt she described – and follow along with a simplified version of the printed score. (Or hear the real thing at the Des Moines Community Orchestra concert on Sunday.)


Women composers put music into show


While the 40-some members of the Des Moines Community Orchestra worked their way through a rehearsal this week at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Linda Robbins Coleman stood in the corner, quietly swaying.

Her fingers played a silent solo on an imaginary piano and strummed a glissando on an invisible harp.

She knew every note in every part - no surprise, really, since she wrote the song. The composer's 10-minute "Journeys" is part of the orchestra's "Women's Night Out" concert scheduled for Mother's Day.

All the works in the program were written by women, including three Iowans: Tracey Rush of Dubuque, Elaine Erickson of Urbandale and Robbins Coleman, who lives in Des Moines.

The idea for the program came to Des Moines Community Orchestra music director Carl Johnson more than a year ago, and he assembled the program during several months.

"A lot of these things percolate for awhile and rise to the surface over time," he said.

After lining up the Iowa works, he dug into research to find suitable pieces written by other women - not an easy task in a field that has for centuries been dominated by men.

"The tendency of most people is to think, 'Oh, it's by a woman, so it's not too hard.' Wrong," said Johnson, who filled out the rest of the program with four marches written in the 1760s and '70s by Prussia's Princess Anna Amalia, the younger sister of Frederick the Great, and the 1894 "Gaelic" Symphony by the precociously gifted New Englander Amy Cheney Beach. (Two years after her solo debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra when she was 16, she married a 43-year-old man who "allowed" her to perform only one recital per year. He did, however, encourage her to compose.)

Times, of course, have changed. Rush has written music since her childhood in Wisconsin and recently conducted her own Fantasia in F at Carnegie Hall.

"It was amazing," she said of the performance two months ago. "There was a dressing room with my name on it. There was a poster outside with my name on it. I was like, 'Oh! Pinch me!' "

Before the concert, a backstage attendant who was "400 years older than Moses" came to her dressing room to see if she needed food or a bottle of water. When she asked if he could get rid of some of the butterflies in her stomach, he shook his head.

"He got this big grin on his face and said, 'This hall, it has a memory,' " Rush said. "I felt so honored to be there with all the spirits of the greats who have performed there. My notes are now in those walls."

For the piece she composed for the Des Moines Community Orchestra, she reworked tunes she had written for a musical adaptation of "Jane Eyre." (Rush and a lyricist were halfway through writing the script and score when another version opened on Broadway in 2000. "Realizing there wasn't much chance the theater-going public would welcome a second show on the same book - even though ours would have been better! - we abandoned Jane," according to Rush's notes for Sunday's concert program.)

She patterned "Jane Eyre: Fantasy Overture" after Tchaikovsky's overture to "Romeo and Juliet" and wove together themes for different stages of Jane's life: her childhood, her years in boarding school, her rocky love life and happily-ever-after ending.

With the help of a computer software program called Finale, Rush e-mailed conductor Johnson audio clips and digital copies of the written score.

"She was nervous that it wasn't quite what I would want, but it was great," he said.

Erickson wrote her Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion at the request of her friend, Michael Finegold, a Massachusetts-based flutist who will perform with the orchestra during Sunday's premiere.

Unlike Rush, Erickson writes music by hand, using the same process she used for other orchestral works and five operas.

"It takes a long time," she said. "I improvise at the piano, and that's how my pieces begin. That's the fun part."

Although she divided the concerto into three traditional movements - fast, slow, fast - many of its rhythms and harmonies reflect her avant-garde style.

"Sometimes it's tonal, sometimes it's dissonant," said the composer, who studied composition at Drake University, the University of Iowa and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. "It's kind of eclectic. When I was in college, in music theory, the teacher would give an assignment to write an exercise in four-part harmony. I would go and find a poem and set it to music for mixed chorus. I love to do that."

Robbins Coleman's first description of her 1992 work, "Journeys," was a little vague: "It could be a spiritual journey or an emotional journey or a personal life journey."

When she explained certain sections, she got right down to details: "To me, it sounds like a peg-legged pirate who happens upon some kind of Spanish festival."

The part she pointed to in the score does, in fact, have a lurching bass line and the dry rattle of Flamenco castanets. They're the kind of imaginative details that have won the composer more than 60 commissions during a 30-year career.

She co-founded the Iowa Composers Forum in 1987 and has served as composer-in-residence for various groups over the past few decades, including the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Wartburg Community Symphony Orchestra and the Drake theater department, where she wrote music for 35 plays.

Next Friday, Drake will honor her with its annual Alumni Achievement Award.

"They only award one person every year," she said. "I can't believe I got it."

In spite of the recognition, she's still a little surprised with the success of "Journeys."

"It's been done dozens of times across the country. I've been really lucky," she said, and with a nod to the orchestra musicians, "These people are taking time out of their lives to play dots I put on paper. I mean, how can I lose?"


From left: Nick Brown, Kathy Naja and Laura Valle of the Des Moines Community Orchestra warm up prior to a performance in “An Ankeny Evening for the Arts” at Prairie Ridge Church last month.


Tracey Rush of Dubuque composed “Jane Eyre: Fantasy Overture” with help from a software program called Finale. Listen to a sample she created with synthesized instruments. (Or hear the real thing in its entirety at the Des Moines Community Orchestra concert on Sunday.)



Robbins Coleman


WHAT: The Des Moines Community Orchestra performs works by women composers, including three Iowans.

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday, with a pre-concert talk at 1 p.m.

WHERE: Drake University Sheslow Auditorium, 2507 University Ave., Des Moines


INFORMATION: (515) 964-4562,


SLIDE SHOW: 'Journeys'

Popular composer here for symphony concert

By Special to the E-E

Friday, October 5, 2007 3:41 PM CDT

When the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra launches into the selection, “The Celebration! (A Symphonic Jubilee)” during its inaugural 2007-08 season concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Community Center at least one member of the audience will be able to anticipate every note.

The composer of “The Celebration!” — Linda Robbins Coleman of Des Moines, Iowa — is traveling to Bartlesville with her husband to enjoy the performance which features her composition as part of a spirited program arranged to open the Bartlesville Symphony’s 50th season and conductor Lauren Green’s 30th year at the podium.

“It’s always exciting to perform a work by a living composer,” Green said, “especially when I know the music will be so enjoyable for musicians and audience alike. It’s an added treat to have the composer voluntarily come to Bartlesville to enjoy the performance with us! We’re all looking forward to meeting Ms. Coleman.”

Program notes reveal “The Celebration!” is a piece originally commissioned by the St. Cloud (Minn.) Symphony for its 25th anniversary. Coleman explains that the tuneful work is intended “to reflect the special occasion both in the titles and in the music itself. It becomes a celebration of music, life, friends, love, joy and the glory of that most marvelous musical instrument of all, the orchestra.”

Coleman, who served as composer-in-residence with the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra during 1994-96, has executed more than 70 commissions for compositions ranging from chamber to symphonic music, and from jazz to theater and film. An accomplished pianist, she has been performing since the age of 6. Coleman spent five years as a visiting artist teaching music composition at a magnet elementary school in Des Moines’ inner city and in 1987 co-founded the Iowa Composers Forum.

Her composition “The Celebration!” is a suite in five movements, each highlighting different instruments of the orchestra, from the piccolo through to the percussion. The opening is “The Invitation” invoking the excitement of planning a party. A more reflective “Valse Memoire” follows — a pause for remembrance of past times and old friends. The pace picks up again with “The Life of the Party!” and then moves smoothly into a sultry tango movement titled “Audrey and Cary.” Finally, the entire orchestra comes together to join the celebration by offering their own “Jubilation” and a toast to the future.

This peppy and tuneful selection will be a compatible companion with the upbeat atmosphere engendered by the Canadian Brass’ legendary playfulness and the orchestra’s entire celebratory program.

Ernst and Young is the evening’s sponsor, and they are joined in support for the season by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, ConocoPhillips, the Hotel Phillips and the Bartlesville Community Center. Robert’s will host a reception following the performance.

Symphony season tickets and individual performance tickets are available at the Community Center box office.

Summing up her reaction to the upcoming performance, Linda Robbins Coleman commented, “The composer wishes to thank Maestro Lauren Green and the Bartlesville Symphony for including my music on this special celebratory concert.”

Conductor Green responded, “We are certainly thrilled to present such a fun and appropriate piece for the occasion. I know that with this and all the music on Saturday’s program we will share in the excitement of the evening and celebrate together the joy with which great music continues to infuse our lives.”

2007-2008 Season


Returning by popular demand, the Canadian Brass are favorites of the concert stage, almost always selling out the house! They have a unique character and rapport with audiences and their comic, good humor is equaled only by their dazzling musical sound--that brilliant golden brass "sound" and style! The Brass have performed the world over and have many best selling recordings. Performing a mixture of classics, near-classics, jazz, Broadway, and pops with the orchestra, there's something for everyone! This concert will also celebrate Lauren Green's 30th anniversary on the BSO podium!


Williams: Liberty Fanfare

Gershwin: Medley of Favorites

Coleman: The Celebration!

plus favorites from the Canadian Brass, including

Manhattan Music

Beale Street Blues

Classical Duke

St. Louis Blues


Governor Declares Saturday as Maestro Lauren Green Day

By Special to the E-E

Friday, October 5, 2007 3:41 PM CDT

In honor of Maestro Lauren Green’s 30 years as the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra’s music director-conductor, Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has declared Saturday as Maestro Lauren Green Day.

The governor’s proclamation says, “Under the gifted leadership of Lauren Green, the orchestra is of professional quality, combining qualified volunteer players from the community and regional high schools, to fully professional paid players.

“World class soloists and ensembles join the orchestra to tackle challenging repertoire ranging from traditional to eclectic under his guidance.”

Green credits his interest in music to his early exposure to music in his home and church when he was young.

“Our church had song leaders, so I was seeing music led and was participating in music making from the earliest age.”

He admitted to playing the player piano exquisitely, especially the piano roll “Goofus,” a real classic of American song. His parents even have a recording of a solo he sang in church at age 1 or 2.

He wasn’t overly exposed to classical music at home, but his mother did buy classical LPs at the grocery store. He really had an urge to conduct, but was not given many opportunities to do it until he was elected orchestra president and student conductor in his senior year. His real conducting chances were realized in college and graduate school.

Green remembers that he was encouraged to take private piano lessons and learn an instrument for school band or orchestra. His private cello teacher, Eleonore Schoenfeld, was one of his strongest influences, “both out of sheer admiration and sheer terror.”

He loves to play chamber music and thinks it is very satisfying with “everyone pulling his own weight, contributing, tuned into the same indescribable wave-length.”

Asked about memorable guest artists over the past 30 years, Green claims he’s not especially star struck, but loves to work with high quality artists, which leaves him at times “reasonably nervous.” Memorable artists include Cherish the Ladies, fun because one of them physically picked him up on the stage, and string bassist Gary Karr.

One particular concert with Chris Brubeck and friends is especially memorable, as he developed a friendship with Brubeck and attended Chris’ 50th birthday party in Connecticut, held in the home of his famous father, Dave Brubeck.

“Personally awe-inspiring were Mel Torm/, Eugene Istomin, Jerome Hines, Jamie Laredo, Shari Lewis, Sandy Duncan and Carter Brey,” says Green.

Duncan, whose autographed picture sits on Green’s piano, not only was fun to work with, but wrote, “To Lauren, the best booker, PR man, travel agent, chauffeur, stage manager, sound engineer, lighting designer, wardrobe head, host, CONDUCTOR around!!! Thanks.”

Green received two music degrees from the University of Redlands in California. He studied conducting with Herbert Blomstedt, Franco Autori and Jack Wilson, with additional studies with Laszlo Heltay, Carl St. Clair, and Samuel Jones. His guest conducting engagements have taken him throughout Oklahoma, and to symphonies in Michigan, Texas, Kansas, Montana and California. He is cellist in Trio Brioso, which has performed throughout the region, and includes native Bartians, David Kazmierzak, violin, and Dr. Roger Price, piano.

Honors bestowed on Lauren Green include the Bartlesville Arts and Humanities Council Award in 1997 and being named one of Bartlesville’s Centennial Heroes that same year. His leading roles in dramatic productions and his radio and television experience, including music director of KCMA-FM, a commercial classical radio station, helped make him a popular public figure. Green was also editor of “Podium Notes,” the quarterly newsletter of the Conductors Guild, and served as a member of its board of directors. He was formerly assistant principal cellist with the Tulsa Philharmonic and served 10 years as a full-time music professor at Bartlesville Wesleyan College (now Oklahoma Wesleyan University) and for 12 years as director of music ministries at East Cross United Methodist Church. Additionally, he served as a member of the Bartlesville Community Center Trust Authority. Green also worked in a very interesting position as laboratory manager with 21st Sensory Inc. in Bartlesville.

Green’s wife, Juanita, is also a musician and former teacher. They have two adult children, Elizabeth and Daniel, whose “musical curiosity and diverse experiences have come back to me to help broaden my own music horizon even further,” says Green.

Green says his greatest dream is to “amass all the forces and talent in this town, and from all levels, cultures and neighborhoods, and present Bernstein’s MASS. It would move people, shock people, bring them together on stage and off, and certainly get people talking. It’s the perfect fit for the range of talent we have available.”

After 30 years of wielding the baton Green hopes “people will remember me for sharing even some small aspect of joy and meaning through the music God has given us, and in so doing, making life even slightly more meaningful, rich, or even just bearable.”

May 5, 2007 – MARK O'CONNOR, violin/fiddle

One of the most gifted performers in American, regularly crossing all sorts of musical boundaries is Mark O'Connor. His knowledge and influence have been felt in a multitude of musical styles—from country fiddling, to bluegrass, to sophisticated jazz and all the way to the classics. His incredible dexterity and technique, along with the ingratiating music he performs and records, have won him a worldwide following since his beginnings as a child Champion Fiddler. A rare opportunity to experience the O'Connor phenomenon in person—and with the symphony this will be a simply delightful evening of music.


Copland: Outdoor Overture

O'Connor: "Old Brass" Concerto (Concerto No. 6)

Coleman: For a Beautiful Land

O'Connor: Strings and Threads

Curiale: Wind River

366-8206 or 1-800-369-TUNE (8863)

For Immediate Release: 9/29/2005

CR Symphony to bring Mozart to Life in Children's Discovery Concert

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - (Sept. 29, 2005)The Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra (CRSO) will bring child prodigy Mozart to life at the Paramount Theatre for "Mozart in Person," a Children's Discovery concert, on October 15 at 9:30 and 11 a.m.

Nine-year-old "Mozart," played by Cedar Rapids student Keaton Phillips, will walk on stage to explore what life was like as a child composer in the 1700s and wonders what the future holds for the symphony orchestra. Patrons will enjoy the Children's Discovery Chorus, directed by Amy Hanisch, singing The Little Birch Tree of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 and a variety of other kid-friendly classics such as Tchaikovsky's Czardas from Swan Lake and Mozart's Symphony No. 1. The concert will conclude with The Life of the Party by Des Moines resident and internationally acclaimed composer Linda Robbins Coleman. This concert will be conducted by Henry Charles Smith, artistic advisor and principal guest conductor for the 2005-2006 season.

An instrument petting zoo will take place in the Paramount Theatre lobby before and after the two concerts.

Keaton Phillips is a sixth grade student at Taft Middle School in Cedar Rapids. He has participated in Iowa Opus Honor Choir and church and school musicals. He enjoys singing, playing the piano and trombone.

"I am honored to play the part of Mozart, one of the greatest composers," said Phillips. "It's phenomenal that Mozart wrote and played music so well at such a young age."

In addition to the concert, the Cedar Rapids Symphony will host a "Mozart in Person Party." For only $3 per person, children and their families can enjoy a light breakfast, instrument craft, hand drum/percussion lessons and more! The party will be held between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Symphony Center's Rockwell Collins Recital Hall (next door to the Paramount Theatre).

This Children's Discovery concert is specifically designed for children from pre-school through third grade and their families. Concerts include kid-friendly music, fun educational commentary and audience interaction.

Single tickets for "Mozart in Person," sponsored by Alliant Energy, are available for $7 or $11, same low price for adults and children. For tickets or more information, visit the Cedar Rapids Symphony Box Office at 119 Third Avenue SE or call (319) 366-8203 or 1-800-369-TUNE (8863). Patrons may also visit the CRSO Web site at


DSM MAGAZINE May-June, 2014