Stephens Auditorium and the Ames International Orchestra Festival @StephensAud

Construction of ISU’s C. Y. Stephens Auditorium was completed in September of 1969. Visit “History of campus buildings” for more information. The auditorium is noted for its award-winning design, but today I’ll concentrate on some of what’s happened inside.

Stephens Auditorium at night in 1979

A photo taken in 1979 on the 10th anniversary of the Ames International Orchestra Festival Association. It’s not the best photo, but I like how the lights look. Source: Ames International Orchestra Festival Association Records, MS 137, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.

 

The Ames International Orchestra Festival Association formed circa 1969-1971. It brought the world’s greatest orchestras, conductors, and soloists to the annual festival. Not having attended, I can only imagine the festivals as simply super, as classical music at its classiest and most musical. Here are a few glamour shots to give you some idea of the level of artistry I’m talking about. Google them if you must, folks, or take my humble word for it: this is top-shelf talent!

zubin-mehta

Conductor Zubin Mehta (1936-)

yehudi-menuhin

Violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)

nadja-salerno-sonnenberg

Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (1961-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

leonard-bernstein-ny-phil

Composer, conductor, author, and pianist Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

andre-previn

Pianist, conductor, and composer André Previn (1929-)

jian-wang

Cellist Jian Wang (1968-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source of photos: Ames International Orchestra Festival Association Records, MS 137, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library. (Some photos are uncredited; copyright for the publicity photos presumably belongs to the artists or their agencies.) For more information about the collection, see our finding aid.

I’ll admit that while I’d be pleased if a blog reader visited Special Collections to look at the AIOFA scrapbooks, photos, programs, etc., what I really want you to do is treat yourself to an evening at Stephens Auditorium. I myself have seen two shows there: the incomparable Tedeschi Trucks Band, and the Moscow Festival Ballet performing “Sleeping Beauty” as imagined by Tchaikovsky. Great shows, great venue. Look what’s coming up. There’s something for all tastes!

 

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