The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Classical, with a measure of lunacy


Isaac Hamlet

[email protected]

Way back when, people filled theaters and packed halls to hear the music we now call classical. Over the course of centuries, though, with music-making becoming a more common ability, new genres and musical forms have pulled listeners away from the classic sound.
The Czechoslovakia-born, Canada-raised clown and solo performer Tomáš Kubínek is attempting to get the same results by adding a little vaudeville to the classical-music scene.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Hancher, Kubínek will perform in Pomp, Brass, and Lunacy.

“The classical music industry has had a hard time staying alive for lack of audience,” Kubínek said. “This kind of show is a way to draw people who might not usually come.”

The show mixes physical comedy with classical orchestral pieces. The humor is derived from things such as comedic costume changes and a conducting duel between Kubínek and Maestro Timothy Hankewich, acting in strange synchronization with the accompanying music.

“[Kubínek is] an artist who is totally committed to doing what he does for the sake of enhancing lives,” Hancher Executive Director Chuck Swanson said.

Swanson said one of Hancher’s goals is to “enrich the lives of everyone in Iowa,” a devotion Kubínek can clearly get behind.

“Yesterday, I brought him to a prison to give a performance as a thank-you to the inmates there,” Swanson said.

The trip was initiated because the usher uniforms Hancher uses were made in this prison, in Mitchellville, Iowa. Bringing Kubinek there for a show was the Hancher team’s way of extending their thanks to the inmates.

“After [Kubínek’s] performance, an inmate came up to him,” Swanson said. “[The man] said, ‘Thank you for making my life normal for an hour.’”

Also passionate about the goals of Hancher is Wycliffe Gordon, the acclaimed jazz trombonist. Though he’s never been an Iowan, coming to the Hancher “feels like coming home” to him.

Gordon, who will be joined by Orchestra Iowa for the night, also composed a brand-new piece titled “Hancher Will Forever Be,” in honor of the auditorium. The piece is meant to celebrate the new building and commemorate what Hancher means to Gordon.

“Hancher is one of those places that artists remember,” Gordon said. “When I say ‘Hancher,’ it’s not just the brick, the mortar, the walls, and the paint. It’s not just the building; it’s the people who work there, [Swanson] especially.”

Though Kubínek and Gordon haven’t yet worked on stage together, their collaboration has been something they’ve discussed for roughly two years. They and Swanson look forward to putting on a show that will attract both music aficionados and those who simply want to laugh.

“I’m looking forward to just having a rip-roaring good time with everyone,” Kubínek said. “It’ll be bombastic.”


Event: Pomp, Brass, and Lunacy, Music

Where: Hancher

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 th

Admission: $10-$45


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