Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra

Under the direction of its award-winning conductor, Rebecca Burkhardt, the group is involved in a wide variety of orchestra experiences each year including full-scale music theatre and opera productions, symphonic concerts which include major works from the repertoire, chamber orchestral work, and concerts featuring some of the most interesting choral/orchestral works of the past three centuries. Because of this comprehensive approach, students at the University of Northern Iowa can count on receiving a solid background in orchestral playing during their undergraduate years.

For information on auditioning for the spring orchestra tour, please read Dr. Burkhardt's letter.

To view a video of the October 23, 2009 Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra concert, featuring the Linn-Mar High School Symphony Strings click here.

Performing Shostakovich Fall 2005

Performance Photo Gallery


Here is just a brief overview of our time in Costa Rica. Our concert tour was entitled Concierto de la Amistad (Friendship Concert).

Rehearsal at the Center—we were joined by five string students from the University of Costa Rica
Walking tour of downtown San Jose
Performance in the Cathedral of Heredia (a town about 20 minutes north of San Jose)
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Rotary Club
Reception Hosted by the Rotary Club of Heredia

Cross Cultural sessions with the students of the North American Cultural Center
Rehearsal at the Center
Travel to San Ramon for a Concert in the Cathedral with a stop in Sarchi for Souvenirs

Another Cross Cultural session at the Center
Another rehearsal at the Center
A Jazz Ensemble of about 10 students from the Orchestra traveled to Cartago (one hour east of San Jose to perform in the afternoon. David and Cindy Mason “chaperoned” while the remainder of the students, Dr. Barrett and I attended master classes by Julia Trahan and Sean Botkin for students at the University of Costa Rica
Julia and Sean gave a recital that evening to a full audience of UCR and UNI students and faculty

Our final rehearsal at the Center
Tour of the National Theater and Gold Museum in Downtown San Jose
Gala Concert performance of the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra at the North American Center with Sean Botkin, Julia Trahan and Anibal dos Santos as Guest soloists.
A few of the people in attendance were: The Russian Ambassador to Costa Rica, dignitaries from the American Embassy, members of the board for the North American Center and Natalie Wanamaker, president-elect of the Center’s board and also the great-granddaughter of Sergei Rachmaninoff. (I am not making this up!)

A Day Off
Travel to San Carlos where we stayed at a slightly rustic motel called “Termales del Bosque,” which means the Hot Springs of the Forest. We all enjoyed an afternoon and evening in natural hot springs at the edge of the Rain Forest. It even rained!

Travel to Puntarenas on the Pacific Coast
Time shopping, walking, sitting on the beach, riding the banana boat, playing in the waves, singing a little karaoke and of course, eating.
Students of the orchestra formed several chamber music groups and performed for a full house at the Cultural center on Friday night. The concerts were sponsored by the Lion’s Club and an audience of young and old heard a woodwind quartet and quintet, a double reed ensemble, a horn quartet, a flute and oboe duo, and a string trio. While the instruments were sweating on the outside and the students were dripping from the humidity and heat, their spirits were raised when many of the audience members asked for their autograph after the concert. On Saturday night, in the same location, the jazz group performed to a very warm and enthusiastic crowd in the same location.

A 3 a.m. departure from Puntarenas for the airport in San Jose saw some droopy eyelids, but those folks who were awake saw a beautiful Sunday morning sunrise over San Jose. We got to spend the last of our colones in the airport on souvenirs for friends at home. The students were very tired but happy. Once on the plane…well you can imagine…zzzzzz.

Costa Rica Gallery