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Des Moines Symphony Announces Aaron Diehl as Guest Artist for this weekend’s concerts


The Des Moines Symphony has announced that American jazz pianist Aaron Diehl will play Gershwin’s Concerto in F on its upcoming Masterworks 5 concert, titled ‘Ellis Island / The New World’ at 7:30PM Saturday, March 16 & 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at the Des Moines Civic Center (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines). Mr. Diehl replaces originally announced soloist Anne-Marie McDermott, who withdrew from the concert yesterday due to a family emergency.

A 32-year-old classically trained pianist and composer, Aaron Diehl has made an indelible mark on the jazz world over the last 15 years. Diehl has collaborated with living masters ranging from jazz greats Wynton Marsalis and Benny Golson to 20th century classical titan Philip Glass, and performed Gershwin’s works with the NY Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and the LA Philharmonic in the past year.

The New York Times jazz critics have extolled Mr. Diehl’s “melodic precision, harmonic erudition, and elegant restraint,” while the same paper’s classical critics have noted, “Mr. Diehl play[s] magnificently.”

A graduate of Juilliard, Diehl was named the 2011 Cole Porter Fellow by American Pianists Association, in 2014 became the youngest ever Monterey Jazz Festival Commission Artist and has released two critically acclaimed albums on the Mack Avenue Records label. He was the Music Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2014-2015 New Orleans Songbook series and in 2017 participated in Jazz in July’s “The Art of Tatum,” honoring one of his primary piano idols, Art Tatum.

Now at the invitation of Joseph Giunta, Aaron Diehl makes his Des Moines Symphony debut to perform Gershwin’s Concerto in F in a concert celebrating the journey to the New World. You’ll also hear Peter Boyer’s Suite from Ellis Island: The Dream of America, a piece which blends theatre, historical images, and music to portray immigrants in search of the American dream and Dvorak’s famed “New World” Symphony.

Prep Iowa

While this will be Mr. Diehl’s first collaboration with the Des Moines Symphony, he is not new to Des Moines. He has performed with the Civic Music Association three times, most recently as the Aaron Diehl Quartet with Warren Wolf in the Civic Music Association’s 2016-17 concert season at Hoyt Sherman Place.

Joseph Giunta, conducting
Aaron Diehl, piano
Katy Merriman, Roger Mueller, Kerry Skram, Stephen Yoakam, Jill Shellabarger, actors

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