Civic Music Association       A Rich Tradition of Musical Excellence

The Civic Music Association exists to engage, enrich and educate the central Iowa community through provocative, world-class musical performances by legends and rising stars.

In its 92nd season Civic Music has a long and prestigious history as a significant arts organization in Des Moines. The mission has not varied from its inception – to both present world class performances and foster music education. By bringing world-renowned artists to central Iowa, Civic Music not only offers audiences unforgettable musical experiences, but also builds awareness, understanding and respect for classical, world and jazz music.

The organization was founded on June 30, 1925, by Mrs. Elsa Neumann, Mrs. Gertrude Shloss and Mrs. Arthur Cowles with the following mission statement:

“The object of this association shall be the advancement of Des Moines as a music center; to merge varied musical interests of the city into one coordinating agency to serve as a clearing house for civic music activities; to develop our own musical resources; to promote a series of artist concerts at popular prices; to create a fund to be used to provide for our city permanent advantages and facilities such as a municipal organ, a municipal band, community singing, a chorus, music scholarships, etc.”

To that end, many accomplishments were realized including providing a municipal organ for the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, donations to the Municipal Band with its ‘Music Under the Stars’ concerts and the Drake-Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, concerts featuring many of the country’s leading symphony orchestras, education programs for Des Moines school pupils, and the funding of numerous music scholarships.

Since that time, Civic Music has presented a continuous concert series to include such notable performances as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Artur Rubinstein, Esperanza Spalding, Beverly Sills, Isaac Stern, Vienna Boys Choir, Joshua Bell, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, and Frederica von Stade. In 1990, Civic Music added jazz to its series and among the high caliber artists featured include Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, John Pizzarelli, Joe Lovano Kurt Elling and the Mignus Big Band.

Additionally, Civic Music presents a free summer concert series featuring the Belin String Quartet, Fridays at 12:15pm in Downtown Des Moines and hosts music education events to learn from some of the great international touring musicians of our time.

Civic Music shares a passion for the performing arts and is committed to making every experience inspiring and memorable.