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Des Moines Symphony to perform Mahler’s Fifth Symphony Feb. 4-5

The Des Moines Symphony will continue its 85th Season with soloist Kevin Zhu performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto alongside Mahler’s Fifth Symphony at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5 at the Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut Street, Des Moines.

Zhu, the first Fred & Charlotte Hubbell Visiting Artist in Residence, joins the Symphony to perform Tchaikovsky’s bold and romantic Violin Concerto. The concert concludes with Gustav Mahler’s monumental Fifth Symphony, a spectacular journey from tragedy to triumph which Mahler himself described as a “foaming, roaring, raging sea of sound.”

Single tickets are $15-$70 and are available online through dmsymphony.org (up until two hours prior to performances) and at the Civic Center Ticket Office (515.246.2300), 221 Walnut Street, Des Moines; open 10am-5pm Monday through Friday and two hours prior to performances. Single tickets, excluding student rush tickets, increase $5 on the day of the concert.

Student tickets are half-price in all sections and are available through the Civic Center Ticket Office with valid student ID. Student rush tickets, subject to availability, are $5 for junior high and high school students and $10 for all other students the day of the concert through the Civic Center Ticket Office. Tickets will be available at the door.

Violinist Kevin Zhu will spend the week leading up to the weekend concerts offering unique opportunities to area students and musicians as part of the first annual Fred & Charlotte Hubbell Visiting Artist In Residence program. Established from a $1 million gift from the Hubbells received through the Symphony’s Sound of the City campaign, this brand-new program will take Zhu into several area schools, including Roosevelt High School, East High School, Hoover High School, Lincoln High School, Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School.

American violinist Kevin Zhu has amassed an outstanding record of concert performances and competition wins since he began playing violin at age three. Praised for his “awesome technical command and maturity” (The Strad) and “absolute virtuosity, almost blinding in its incredible purity” (L’ape musicale), Kevin regularly performs on the world’s largest stages, ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York to London’s Royal Festival Hall to the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. Initially coming to international attention after winning the 2018 Paganini Competition and 2012 Yehudi Menuhin Competition, he has established himself as a leading figure among the next generation of musicians, astonishing audiences with his peerless technical mastery and inimitable artistic voice.

Recent performing highlights include concerto appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, and China Philharmonic Orchestra. A highly sought-after recitalist, he has toured across the United States and Europe with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to contemporary commissions. Kevin is also a passionate chamber musician, collaborating with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Lawrence Power, and Jan Vogler.

In addition to his efforts on stage, Kevin serves as a Culture Ambassador of the Lin Yao Ji Music Foundation of China. He has repeatedly been featured on BBC Radio 3, NPR’s From the Top, and RAI Radio 3, and is the recipient of a 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant.

Kevin is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at The Juilliard School, where he studies with Itzhak Perlman and Li Lin. Kevin performs on the c1722 “Lord Wandsworth” Antonio Stradivari violin, which is on loan from the Ryuji Ueno Foundation and Rare Violins In Consortium, Artists and Benefactors Collaborative.