Civic Music Association thanks Board of Directors for service, welcomes three new Board members

DES MOINES – Civic Music Association kicks off their 2015/2016 season on Thursday, September 10, with Turtle Island Quartet and Cyrus Chestnut. The non-profit thanks its outstanding Board of Directors for 91 years of world-class music in Des Moines.

New Board members for the 2015/2016 year are:

Lincoln Dix – Storey Kenworthy

Bryan Myers – The Weitz Company

James Neely – John Deere

Civic Music Association Officers

Karen Jackson, president – Wells Fargo

Paula Feltner, 1st vice president – Lobbyist

Nicole Peckumn, 2nd vice president – Kemin Industries

Joel Fortney, treasurer – Principal Financial Group

Lyle Krewson, secretary – Lobbyist

Jeff Kane, immediate past president – Submittal Exchange

Civic Music Association Board of Directors

Bill Bartine – Belin McCormick

Lincoln Dix – Storey Kenworthy

Richard Hodges

Amanda Lauritsen

Anthony Lee – Aging Resources of Central Iowa

Bryan Myers – The Weitz Company

Sheila Navis – Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation & Development

James Neely – John Deere

Barb Nish

Jim Sieleman – John Deere

Marjorie Spevak

Mary Kay Tamasi – Continental Lift Truck

For more information, visit or call 515.280.4020. Visit Civic Music at and on


For 91 years, Civic Music Association has existed to engage, enrich and educate the central Iowa community through provocative, world-class musical performances by legends and rising stars. Our vision is a community where people are positively impacted by hearing, seeing & feeling great music through Civic Music Association.



The Turtle Island Quartet reunites with jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut for a new program, Jelly, Rags & Monk

The two-time GRAMMY® winning ensemble and the luminary pianist come together to connect the dots from the early days of jazz and ragtime to the age of Thelonious Monk on Thursday, September 10 at Sheslow Auditorium in Des Moines.

With their trademark wit, virtuosity and irreverence for traditional genre demarcations, the members of the Turtle Island Quartet are the perfect candidates to put a unique spin on the works of Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin and Thelonious Monk, drawing out surprising connections along the way. On their brand new program, Jelly, Rags & Monk, the Turtle Island Quartet reunites for the third time with the extraordinary jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut.

This new collaboration, which delves deeply into both jazz and classical traditions, is the ideal way to celebrate the group’s landmark 30th season. The Turtle Island Quartet and Cyrus Chestnut will perform Jelly, Rags & Monk at Sheslow Auditorium, presented by the Civic Music Association, in Des Moines, IA on September 10, 2015 at 7:30 PM. Additional performances will take place in Austin, TX; Winston-Salem, NC; New York, NY; Charlotte, NC; and Fairfax, VA, among other cities throughout the U.S.

Back when sheet music was the means of musical transmission, in the hands of composers like Debussy and Stravinsky, ragtime found its way into the classical repertoire of Europe. But in the first part of the 20th century in America, the giant of ragtime and jazz was Jelly Roll Morton. Through their own arrangements, Chestnut and the Turtle Island Quartet explore the musical throughline that connects works like Morton’s Creole-inspiredTurtle Twist (a fitting work for this ensemble) with rags by Scott Joplin and timeless masterpieces by Thelonious Monk, who cited Morton as one of his main influences and whose Blue Monk prominently features ragtime rhythms and bent harmonies. Other works on the program include Joplin’s Pineapple Rag, Monk’s Bye YaAsk Me Now, and Nutty, and the premiere of a new work by Chestnut, written specifically for this program, that will fuse the styles of Morton and ragtime with Monk’s more modern take on jazz.

Turtle Island Quartet with Cyrus Chestnut Concert

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sheslow Auditorium, Drake University

2507 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311

7:00 PM pre-concert talk by Dennis Green, KCCK | 7:30 PM curtain

Concert tickets ($50, $450 $30 and $20) can be purchased at Midwestix ( or by calling the Civic Music Association at 515.280.4020. A 40% student discount is available prior to the concert, or a $10 student rush ticket can be purchased the evening of the show (based on availability).

For more information, visit or call 515.280.4020.

About the Turtle Island Quartet
Its name derived from creation mythology found in Native American Folklore, the Turtle Island Quartet, since its inception in 1985, has been a singular force in the creation of bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 GRAMMY® Awards for Best Classical Crossover category, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles, and by devising a performance practice that honors both, the state of the art has inevitably been redefined. Cellist nonpareil Yo-Yo Ma has proclaimed TIQ to be “a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.”

The Quartet’s birth was the result of violinist David Balakrishnan’s brainstorming explorations and compositional vision while writing his master’s thesis at Antioch University West. The journey has taken Turtle Island through forays into folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, R&B, new age, rock, hip-hop, as well as music of Latin America and India …a repertoire consisting of hundreds of ingenious arrangements and originals. It has included over a dozen recordings on labels such as Windham Hill, Chandos, Koch and Telarc, soundtracks for major motion pictures, TV and radio credits such as the Today Show, All Things Considered, Prairie Home Companion, and Morning Edition, feature articles in People and Newsweek magazines, and collaborations with famed artists such as clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, guitar legends Leo Kottke and the Assad brothers, The Manhattan Transfer, pianists Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut and Ramsey Lewis, singers Tierney Sutton and Nellie McKay, the Ying Quartet and the Parsons and Luna Negra Dance Companies.

About Cyrus Chestnut
Virtuosic and playful, pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s hard swinging, soulful sounds havebecome a staple in the jazz community. Blending contemporary jazz, traditional jazz and gospel, plus the occasional seasonings of Latin and samba, Chestnut gives himself plenty of freedom to explore different emotions, while keeping his music in recognizable form. Add to that his apparent ease on the piano, and you’ve got a musician who really does know how to put a smile on your face.

His “lush chords, playful grace notes, worshipful tremolos and effortless runs up and down the 88s” are sure to impress, but it’s his warm demeanor and irresistible sweetness that make him “one of jazz’s most beloved ambassadors.”

An extremely versatile pianist, Chestnut has played with many leaders in the music scene including Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Hendricks, and Betty Carter, recording and performing live around the world. His leadership and prowess as a soloist has led him to be a first call for the piano chair in big bands including the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, and Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.

For 91 years, Civic Music Association has existed to engage, enrich and educate the central Iowa community through provocative, world-class musical performances by legends and rising stars. Our vision is a community where people are positively impacted by hearing, seeing & feeling great music through Civic Music Association.

Elling Swings Sinatra

March 28, 2015


“The standout male vocalist of our time” – The New York Times

Grammy Award winner Kurt Elling pays homage to a legendary male vocalist of the 20th century with Elling Swings Sinatra. In celebration of Frank Sinatra’s100th birthday, Elling lends his own voice to Sinatra’s vast repertoire with reinterpretations of classic hits such as Come Fly With MeMy Funny ValentineThe Lady is a Tramp, and I’ve Got You Under My Skin. These ever familiar tunes are transformed by Elling’s superb vocal expertise, breathing new life into old favorites for today’s audiences. Celebrate the music of Sinatra in peak form – during an evening accented with richly told stories of a fascinating moment in time – as can only be provided by one of the foremost talents of our time, Kurt Elling.

Elling will be teamed up with the local Turner Center Jazz Orchestra for a beautiful collaboration! The Turner Center Jazz Orchestra (TCJO) is the resident professional ensemble of the Turner Jazz Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.  A not-for-profit organization, the TCJO is dedicated to high-caliber, professional, authentic performances of American jazz and particularly the music of the big band tradition, including both the historic and the contemporary repertoire of that genre.


Civic Music Association continues its tradition of excellence in 2015/2016 by bringing the world’s finest musicians to central Iowa to perform inspirational concerts and deliver memorable music education experiences.

We have pieced together a great season for you. Some of the artists may be familiar. Others may be new to you. But if you choose to experience every piece of the puzzle by purchasing a season ticket, you will experience what has made CMA so special for more than 90 years.

Full Season (all 8 concerts!)
Quartet (choose 4 concerts)
Trio (choose 3 concerts)


Jelly, Rags and Monk

“[Turtle Island Quartet] is a unified voice that truly breaks new ground – authentic and passionate – a reflection of some of the most creative music-making today.” Yo-Yo Ma

The extraordinary jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut and the GRAMMY® winning Turtle Island Quartet are back together, displaying their formidable collective virtuosity. Making soulful and sweet connections that delve deeply into the jazz and classical traditions, their performance will draw a blazing line from the early roots of jazz directly to Thelonius Monk, one of the geniuses of the modern jazz era.

7:30pm Saturday 10.24.15 – CÉCILE MCLORIN SALVANT

“She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight,  intelligence, depth and grace.” Wynton Marsalis

Cécile McLorin Salvant surprised the jazz world when she came from out of nowhere to win the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010. Since that watershed victory, McLorin Salvant has become known for her unique interpretations of unknown and scarcely recorded jazz and blues compositions, most recently captured on the 2014 Downbeat Jazz Album of the Year WomanChild.

7:30pm Sunday 11.15.15 – JOEY DEFRANCESCO QUARTET

“The quicksilver nature of his technique, fluidity of his ideas [and] musicality of his phrases … have placed him in a category by himself among contemporary jazz organists.” Chicago Tribune

Joey DeFrancesco’s emergence in the 1980s signaled the return of organ jazz, especially the sound of the Hammond B3, to the jazz world. This two-time Grammy  nominee signed his first record deal at the age of 16 and has performed on more than 30 albums and toured with Miles Davis, David Sanborn, John McLaughlin, Joe Lovano and many more jazz legends.

Thursday 12.10.15 – CALMUS

A Special Holiday Concert

“Calmus Ensemble is stunning in its vocal variety and mastery.” Washington Post

This a cappella quintet embodies the rich choral tradition of their hometown of Leipzig, Germany, offering the unique combination of a pure soprano voice with four male voices ranging from bass to countertenor. Their charming stage presence, flawless technique and diverse repertoire will make for a very special holiday concert.

7:30pm Saturday 1.23.16 – DALÍ QUARTET

Classical Roots. Latin Soul.

“The music pulsed with excitement.” Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia) Local

Performing an enticing mix of classical/romantic string quartet repertoire with Latin American chamber music – including popular danzons and more – the Dalí Quartet creates an extraordinary concert experience that will take listeners on an eclectic journey of rhythm and sound.

This concert is sponsored by the Sam & Gertrude Shloss Endowment Concert Fund.

7:30pm Wednesday 2.3.16 ­– GREGORY PORTER

“One of the most accomplished jazz singer-songwriters to emerge in decades.” Jazz Wise

Gregory Porter, who has been compared to artists such as Joe Williams, Nat Cole and Marvin Gaye, is a disarmingly sincere performer with a groove that never quits and a voice of incredible virtuosity. This Grammy winner, called “Jazz’s next great male vocalist” by Jazz Times, has developed a worldwide following based on moving performances of self-penned originals and a style that slides confidently between jazz and R&B.

7:30pm Saturday 3.26.16 – BRIA SKONBERG QUINTET

“Bria radiates an energy that is so refreshing to see and her compositional chops are on par with her ability to swing.” Bucky Pizzarelli

Canadian native Bria Skonberg has set the New York jazz scene on fire following her arrival in 2010. This young talent, best known for her mastery of classic jazz trumpet, swept the 2014 Hot House Jazz Magazine Awards in all categories nominated – Best Jazz Artist, Best Trumpet, Best Female Vocalist and Best Group for the Bria Skonberg Quartet – and was identified by the Jazz Journalists’ Association as an Up and Coming Jazz Artist of the Year nominee.

7:30pm Friday 4.15.16 – JEREMY DENK

“Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs, in whatever combination.” New York Times

One of America’s most thought-provoking, multi-faceted and compelling artists, pianist Jeremy Denk is the winner of a 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the 2014 Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s 2014 Instrumentalist of the Year award.

This concert is sponsored by the Marjorie Spevak Endowment Fund.

Civic Music Association continues its 90th Anniversary Season with Grammy-winning jazz guitarist Earl Klugh and Grammy-nominated jazz singer Nnenna Freelon in An Intimate Evening this Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14 at 7:30pm in Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium.

Nnenna Freelon and Earl Klugh are two of the jazz world’s most accomplished artists. Between them, they have received 12 Grammy nominations and awards. They have spanned the decades with innovative and critically acclaimed music. And this Valentine’s Day they will collaborate on the Sheslow stage for An Intimate Evening, performing beautiful and timeless melodies from the past and present.


Arrive 45 minutes early and join Bob Naujoks, host of KCCK’s Gentle Jazz, for a pre-concert talk to learn about the performers and the music. Pre-concert talks are free and open to the public.

Nnenna Freelon will conduct her House of Song workshop at 3pm at Sheslow Auditorium with Des Moines’ City Voices as part of Civic Music’s Partners in Education program. All Partners in Education programs are free and open to the public.

Nnenna Freelon & Earl Klugh An Intimate Evening

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sheslow Auditorium, Drake University

2507 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311

6:45pm pre-concert talk by Bob Naujoks, host of KCCK’s Gentle Jazz | 7:30pm curtain


Partners in Music Education: Nnenna Freelon, House of Song

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sheslow Auditorium, Drake University


Nnenna Freelon has dedicated herself to educating young people, both musicians and non-musicians, and students of all ages. She will present her worshop House of Song with Des Moines’ City Voices.

Position Description

The Belin Quartet internship is a 2-year commitment with Civic Music Association, from May 2015 to August 2016. The vast majority of work is to be completed during May to August each year, with very limited work during the academic months.  The intern hired for 2015 will work with the 2015 Belin Quartet manager to manage the quartet for Summer 2015.  S/he will return the following year as the 2016 Belin Quartet manager.

Duties will include, but not be limited to, production of the season brochure and accompanying posters, public relations for series and coordination of concert dates, facility and set up.  Additional duties include assisting the Civic Music Association staff with operations, development and marketing of Civic Music Association season concerts.


College student with preferred Major in Music or Arts Management, Public Relations or Business/Marketing.


1st year – Intern non-paid but college credit may be available

2nd year – $5,000 stipend

No additional Benefits are offered.

Hours per Week

20-30 daytime hours per week during the Belin Quartet Summer Season (May 2015- August 2015 & May 2016 – August 2016), plus some evenings and weekends.

Please send a cover letter and resume to Peter Stevenson, Executive Director at

Position open until filled.

Civic Music Association celebrates 90th Anniversary Season with Kick-Off Party on September 11th

Civic Music Association will host the 2014/15 Season Kick-Off Party on Thursday, September 11, 2014 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at Jasper Winery. This FREE event will also be a stop for the Des Moines Downtown Chamber event, Culture Crawl, as they travel around the city for a garden themed tour.

Live music will be performed by Hannah Marks Trio (jazz), and Mary Foss on harp (classical). There will be complimentary appetizers by Gateway Market and wine and beer by Jasper Winery & Madhouse Brewery will be available for purchase.

The Belin Quartet, in association with Civic Music Association, and partnering with Des Moines Public Library and Science Center of Iowa, will host their Season Finale concert on Friday, August 1st, at 10:30 am on the Central Library Lawn to conclude the 2014 Belin Quartet FREE Summer Concert Season. This special Annual Children’s Concert will be in conjunction with the Central Library’s Summer Reading Program, Fizz, Boom, Read!

Belin Quartet plays science themed songs for the Children’s Concert

When: Friday, August 1st, Activities begin at 10:00 am, performance begins at 10:30 am
Where: Central Library Lawn (1000 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA). Please note the inclement weather location will be inside the library.
Info: Join Civic Music Association as we conclude our 2014 FREE Summer Concert Series! The Belin Quartet was established in 2000 by a grant to the Civic Music Association from the Iowa Foundation for Education, Environment, and the Arts, a charitable foundation created by Mr. Belin. His vision that the whole community should have the opportunity to share the joys of classical music is realized through the Belin Quartet. The Belin Quartet consists of alternating violinists Julie Fox Henson, John Helmich, and Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn, violist Sherida Josephson and cellist George Work.


Single tickets to all Civic Music Association concerts in the 2014/15 90th Anniversary Season on sale August 1, 2014

(Des Moines, IA) Single tickets for all concerts in the Civic Music Association 2014/15 90th Anniversary Season will go on sale at 9 am on Friday, August 1, 2014. Tickets for performances in Sheslow Auditorium range from $15-$50 for adults, with a 40% discount for advanced student tickets. Student rush tickets will be available for $10 at the box office.

The 2014/15 Season will celebrate Civic Music Association’s 90th Anniversary with a monumental line-up of nationally touring jazz and classical artists. A blend of legends and rising stars will grace the stage of Sheslow Auditorium, embracing the arts organization mission of engaging, enriching and educating the central Iowa community through provocative, world-class musical performances.

In addition to the concert series, Civic Music Association is committed to enriching the community through FREE Partners in Music Education programs. Each artist conducts free educational events in the community inviting students and the general public to learn from some of the greatest international touring musicians of all time.

Tickets to the concerts will be available for purchase on August 1st by visiting, or by calling the Civic Music Association office at 515.280.4020. Season subscriptions are currently available now.

The 2014/15 90th Anniversary Season
September 26, 2014: Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
October 18, 2014: Fifth House Ensemble
November 13, 2014: Béla Fleck & Brooklyn Rider
December 13, 2014: Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Salsa Navidad
January 31, 2015: André Watts
February 14, 2015: Nnenna Freelon & Earl Klugh, An Intimate Evening
March 27, 2015: The Last Southern Gentlemen Tour featuring Ellis and Delfeayo Marsalis
April 24, 2015: Elling Swings Sinatra, featuring Kurt Elling with the Turner Center Jazz Orchestra

SPECIAL to Civic Music Association ONLY!

Civic Music Association is thrilled to invite you to JAZZ UNDER THE CANOPY at Brenton Skating Plaza, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. The Jazz Music Festival will be held on August 1-3, 2014, and is presented by Downtown Events Group, partnering with Civic Music to bring you a fabulous jazz line-up! See below for full line-up.

Tickets for the festival are now on sale and Civic Music Association friends can receive a discount! Use the special codes listed below to receive $5 off standard seats or $10 off premium seats!

One-day tickets start at just $30 or you can purchase a 3-day festival pass starting at $85. VIP upgrades are also available and include access to a tented VIP space with air conditioning, water, mobile restroom facilities, seating area, bar and special parking.

Visit for full line-up and ticketing info or go directly to the ticketing link at

(Does not include your ticket – you must get tickets from the links above)

*Use the code cmapremium to receive $10 off premium seats
*Use the code cmastandard to receive $5 off standard seats
Seating chart available in ticketing link above

Please call CMA at 515.280.4020 or