Symphony in the News


“Heroic Memories” – November 10, 2018 Concert

Muscatine, Iowa – The world premiere performance of a work written to honor President Abraham Lincoln and a tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces will both be part of the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra’s concert, sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine (CFGM), on Saturday, Nov. 10 – the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps and the day before Veteran’s Day.

Maestro Brian Dollinger served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1998-2006 as a combat engineer, so the local symphony organization is marking the USMC birthday by admitting active duty and veteran Marines in uniform for free and all other military members for $5.

At the concert, the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra Association will also collaborate with the Semper Fi Fund and collect monetary donations. This organization provides financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 combat wounded, critically ill and catastrophically injured members of all U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

The MasterWorks II concert, “Heroic Memories,” presents a collection of works inspired by different kinds of heroism, with the music of Leonard Bernstein and Ludwig von Beethoven and the tribute to Lincoln and his leadership.

This year marks 100 years since the birth of Bernstein – one of America’s greatest composers, conductors, and overall musicians. Bernstein brought engaging, fun music to millions, and his works have become part of the symphonic lexicon, especially West Side Story. MSO will present a glimpse into this modern day version of Romeo and Juliet.

One of America’s greatest historical figures, President Abraham Lincoln was a hero in his own time and has remained one. The Muscatine Symphony will honor him with the world premiere of a work written to highlight and present his many inspired speeches.

The multi-movement work, written by David Stern, will also feature professional Lincoln reenactor Fritz Klein from the Lincoln Institute in Springfield, Ill. Mr. Klein’s portrayal of Lincoln will be an experience of uplifting and stirring oratory. Composer David Stern will travel to Muscatine to be part of this historic event.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Heroic” symphony will be presented in the second half of the concert. His Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, the “Eroica” has become a model and staple of the symphonic repertory.  Beethoven begins this symphonic journey in the simplest way – two E-flat major chords followed by acrobatics over the E-flat triad. The whole symphony is highly recognizable, but especially its slow second movement.  This adagio (funeral march) has become an iconic addition to American lore after being performed at John F. Kennedy’s funeral.

The concert begins at 7:30 at the Central Middle School auditorium, 901 Cedar St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cost is $15 per adult and there is no cost for students with ID. Tickets can be bought at the door, but advance tickets are also available at the customer service desk at Hy-Vee, 2400 2nd Ave.


“A Sweet Night at the Symphony” – Muscatine Journal Magazine Article 

Heroic Memories


“A Night of Firsts” – October 13, 2018 Concert

Muscatine, IA – The Muscatine Symphony Orchestra will open its 2018-19 MasterWorks season with special guest conductor and pianist Rei Hotoda on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

The performance, sponsored by HNI, HON & Allsteel, features works that were the “first” for the three composers on the program. The concert will begin with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s overture to his first opera, Apollo et Hyacinthus, which he wrote at the age of eleven. In this brief opening work, you can hear true “Mozartian” style and a youthful innocence in how the work was written.

Next on the program is Johann Sebastian Bach’s first keyboard concerto. The Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052, will be performed by Maestro Brian Dollinger’s wife, Rei Hotoda. Ms. Hotoda has performed with the Muscatine Symphony numerous times including a performance of Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin on Iowa Public Television. In true Baroque fashion, she will perform the concerto as the soloist as well as conduct the orchestra.

The culmination of the evening will be the first symphony written by another giant of symphonic repertoire, Felix Mendelssohn. His Symphony No. 1 in C minor, op. 11, is a vibrant, energetic work influenced by the great composers he admired – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and von Weber. Mendelssohn’s first full-orchestra work, written at the age of fifteen, demonstrates the sound for which he would come to be known and pays homage to the style and structure of Mozart and the detailed counterpoint of Bach.

Season Subscriptions for the orchestra’s 2018-19 MasterWorks season are also available. A fantastic year of great symphonic music has been programmed by Maestro Dollinger, including a world premier, a professional historical actor, collaborations with local music students, art projects with elementary school students, and fantastic guest artists and conductors.

“A Night of Firsts” begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Central Middle School auditorium, 901 Cedar St. Ticket pricing: $15 for adults, and students are admitted for free.

There will be a free reception with the artist immediately following this concert.

Concert sponsors are HNI Corp., the HON Company and Allsteel.

"A Night of Firsts" with the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra

Additional Resources:
Muscatine Symphony Orchestra website:
Brian Dollinger website:
Rei Hotoda website:

Muscatine Chamber Magazine Article: