Maestro Timothy Hankewich

Maestro Timothy Hankewich.jpg

CBS 2 has shared many stories showing how Eastern iowans recovered from the 2008 flood. This one definitely ends on a high note. It's about the arts, and how 69 musicians weathered both the rain, and hard financial times, to become recognized as the premier symphony orchestra in the state. The man behind that success, Maestro Timothy Hankewich, is featured in our Person 2 Person report.

"The actual artistic health of this community, of this state, in many ways is superior to anywhere else I've ever seen", said Maestro Hankewich. That is saying a lot because Tim Hankewich not only worked his way through the prestigious Indiana University School of Music, but also spent years as a resident conductor in Kansas City. He has just completed his eighth season as Music Director of Orchestra Iowa, and says his mission is to break the stereotype of a typical symphony audience. He says, "We touch the lives of tens of thousands of children through our educational outreach programs, and in terms of our masterworks series, our audiences are becoming more and more diverse both in terms of age, gender, and race."

Maestro Hankewich is also reaching new listeners by conducting movie soundtracks from films such as "Casablanca", while the audience watches the movie in real time. It's a long way from the dark days where memberships waned, money for the arts was scarce, and the future of the symphony was uncertain. And then, the flood hit Cedar Rapids. Hankewich says, "When people were confronted with the devastating scenes of literally debris in the streets, and it looked like a war zone, I think everybody realized that major change needed to happen in the community, in our personal and professional lives, and the orchestra was no exception."

Under a new deal with the Paramount Theater, Orchestra Iowa handles ticketing for any performance there, streamlining the ticket process, and giving the orchestra extra responsibility. Hankewich says his mission is to go beyond the conductor's podium, and reach people who may be intimidated by the magnificence of the Paramount. "I'm doing my level best to make sure, and communicate to the community, that the hardest thing is to get through the threshold of the Paramount Theater. Once you're here, we take great care of you. Bring a friend, bring a family member. Share it with someone that you love. Music is something to be shared. It's not something to be a museum piece or put on a pedestal to be admired from afar. It's something that needs to be touched!"

The Maestro wants to let you know about a special event in April. Orchestra Iowa was chosen to receive, for free, the company of performer Emmanuel Ax. Ax is a Grammy winner, who is often called the "greatest pianist in the world." He'll be performing with the orchestra at the Paramount, and at Solon High School. For tickets, and other performances, we have a link to Orchestra Iowa's website here.

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