Music & Magic – Music with Magic Lantern Slides

2016: Composers Stephen Cohn, Michael Kimber and Philip Wharton wrote chamber music for three sets of magic lantern slides from the collection of historian Michael Zahs. Each set of slides tells a story that is related to song lyrics, narrative poetry or a short tale. Additional slides were set to arrangements by Jan Boland. Musicians are flutist Jan Boland, guitarist John Dowdall, violinist Miera Kim and cellist Carey Bostian. Performances posted on YouTube.

Music for Silent Film – The Brinton Film Project

2015: Composer Harvey Sollberger wrote chamber music for 4 short silent films that date from 1894-1917. Additional silent films are set to music with Jan Boland’s adaptions from the Red Cedar Trio’s repertoire, including music by Red Cedar Composer-in-Residence artists Jerry Owen, Michael Gilbertson, Andrew Earle Simpson and others. This project was premiered in March, 2015 and performed over an 8-month period in 2015. Performances posted on you tube.

Perhaps GileadA musical response to prize-winning novels

2011: Composer Harvey Sollberger wrote a 35-minute work for Red Cedar Chamber Music scored for flute, guitar and string quartet titled Perhaps Gilead (2010).This was a six-month long, all-Iowa project. Six Iowa musicians collaborated with native Iowa composer Harvey Sollberger and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Marilynne Robinson. The novels take place in a fictional Iowa town called Gilead. The project was performed over a five-month period in 2011 in twenty-seven concert settings. The project was featured on Iowa Public Radio (April, 2011). Fleur de Son Classics released a compact disc recording of Perhaps Gilead and Sollberger’s Spillville in 2012.

Dvorak in Iowa project – a Dvorak Sighting

2010: Antonin Dvorak lived for 3 months in Spillville, Iowa in 1893. The first work he completed while in Iowa was his famous American Quartet in F Major. Red Cedar Chamber Music and the Avalon Quartet collaborated to present a project in April, 2010 which features the American Quartet and a new commission by Harvey Sollberger called Spillville for flute, guitar and viola. Fleur de Son Classics released a compact disc recording of Sollberger’s Spillville in 2012.

Kaspar the Friendly – The music of Kaspar Kummer

2010: Little-known today – 19th-century composer Kaspar Kummer wrote beautiful chamber music. His contemporary Richard Rockstro wrote “I know of no composer of music for the flute, whose works are of such uniform excellence as those of Kaspar Kummer.” This project in Spring 2010 brought Kummer’s music to Iowa and to England. A compact disc recording titled Gaspard Kummer was released by Fleur de Son Classics in March, 2011.

American Gothic project – Five Turner Alley

2005: Grant Wood’s masterpiece American Gothic was created at Five Turner Alley in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A new commission by Andrew Earle Simpson celebrates the work. Project completed in collaboration with the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. A compact disc recording titled Fireflies: Chamber Music by Andrew Earle Simpson was released by Fleur de Son Classics.

Rome or Bust – Ancient Rome Project

2004: Andrew Earle Simpson was commissioned to write chamber music in response to an art exhibit at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art called Art in Roman Life: Villa to Grave. The Red Cedar Trio premiered a work titled Tesserae: 5 Mosaics of Ancient Rome in April, 2004 in a Roman Villa constructed in the gallery of the museum. A compact disc recording titled Fireflies: Chamber Music by Andrew Earle Simpson was released by Fleur de Son Classics. The project was taken to Washington D.C. and Baltimore, MD in 2009.

Czech / U.S. International Exchange project – From Starched Shirt Cuffs 

2004: Inspired by Dvorak’s residency in Iowa, fifteen Iowa composers contributed variations to Spillville Variations on a Theme by Dvorak ­ the centerpiece of a cultural exchange with the Czech Republic. Collaborations were with the National Museum in Prague and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A compact disc recording titled Czech-Inspired was released by Fleur de Son Classics.

21st-Century Celebration – Artistic Celebration

2000: Seven composers were each commissioned to write a three-minute work inspired by art from the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. In celebration of the new millennium.  A compact disc recording titled Red Cedar Collection was released by Fleur de Son Classics.

Metropolitan Museum of Art project – From Crystal to Gold

1994-1999: Rare flutes and guitars from the collection of musical instruments from the Metropolitan Museum of Art were played in concert at museums in New York and in Iowa. A compact disc recording titled Crystal to Gold was released by Fleur de Son Classics.



Innovative Projects – often involving new commissions and international exchanges – are the result of creative collaborations. Our favorite projects are documented here.

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