Valley Chamber Orchestra and ISU Symphony Orchestra Collaborate

Valley High School’s Chamber Orchestra is joining with the ISU Symphony Orchestra to perform Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” at 7:30 p.m. on March 3 in the Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. Admission is free. The symphony will be directed by Dr. Jacob Harrison, ISU director of orchestral activities.


“It is a truly wonderful work, full of energy, beautiful melodies, exciting rhythms, and some of the best orchestration ever,” Phil Peters, Valley Chamber Orchestra director, said of Dvorak’s symphony. “It is very appealing for performers and audience members alike. There are musical challenges for our students to overcome while striving to play expressively. The audience will recognize many of the melodies used in the work.”

Dvorak started composing the “New World Symphony” during a six-month stay in Iowa, and it was first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1893. It has remained popular to perform and is widely referenced in pop culture. It was also one of the pieces Neil Armstrong took with him during the first manned lunar landing in 1969.

The Valley Chamber Orchestra is an auditioned group of string musicians at Valley. There are currently 31 members. In addition to this collaboration with ISU, the orchestra also worked with the Wartburg Community Symphony recently, performing in a concert featuring Simon Estes.

“They are getting exposed to some of the greatest orchestral music ever composed,” Peters said of the collaborative performances.