Category: 2017-18 Classical

Recap: Beethoven's mighty Ninth Symphony, plus world premiere, bring Grand Rapids Symphony's season to a thrilling conclusion

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - What does one say about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony? It’s one of the greatest achievements, not simply of classical music, but of all of Western civilization. The music, some of Beethoven’s best, stands on its own merits. The message that all of humanity is a brotherhood elevates it to a whole new level. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Leonard Bernstein led a performance on Christmas Day in East Berlin that may be the most... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, May 19, 2018

Music by Beethoven and inspired by Beethoven celebrate triumphs over adversity in Grand Rapids Symphony's season finale, May 18-19

One of the most important composers in the history of classical music, Ludwig van Beethoven also suffered the bitterest of all blows a musician can face. In his late 20s, Beethoven realized he was going deaf. In a fit of despair, Beethoven wrote a letter to his brothers, even contemplating suicide over the loss of his hearing. The letter known today as the “Heiligenstadt Testament” was never sent. It was discovered among Beethoven’s papers after the composer’s death.... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Recap: Polish pianist, Gilmore Artist joins Grand Rapids Symphony for marvelous performance of Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Frederic Chopin is one of those musicians, same as Paganini, same as Liszt, which we’d dearly love to go back in time and hear perform. Contemporary accounts say the three were virtuosos who were lightyears ahead of their peers. Today, I’m a little less fussed about hearing never getting a chance to hear Chopin perform. Because I’ve heard Rafał Blechacz play Chopin. If it’s possible to channel the reincarnated soul of an artist for 35... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, April 28, 2018

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony, Symphony Chorus, is primed and ready for its return to Carnegie Hall

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Nearly 13 years ago, the Grand Rapids Symphony traveled to New York City to make its Carnegie Hall debut, a major milestone in the history of the orchestra. Next week, Music Director Marcelo Lehninger leads the Grand Rapids Symphony plus the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus back to the Big Apple to make its debut on the international stage, another epic event in the 88-year history of the orchestra. Based on Friday’s exhilarating performance, the Grand... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, April 14, 2018

Join the Grand Rapids Symphony for its Carnegie Hall sendoff concert featuring Ravel's 'Bolero,' Friday and Saturday

The Grand Rapids Symphony is bound for the Big Apple next week. It’s not quite April in Paris, but April in New York City is the next best thing. That’s because New York City is one of the world’s most important centers for classical music, and Carnegie Hall is its mecca. But this week, you can hear the Grand Rapids Symphony perform its Carnegie Hall concert here in DeVos Performance Hall along with eminent Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire. Music Director Marcelo... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Recap: Marcelo Lehninger leads Grand Rapids Symphony in magnificent performance of 'Ein Heldenleben'

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - In symphony orchestra concerts, it’s usually the soloists and conductors who get the lion’s share of the glory. The virtuoso soloists are the aerialists, working without a net, flying high above the ground. The conductors are the ringmasters running the show and guiding the audience through the performance. But this week, with Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben , all the musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony were putting their heads into... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, March 24, 2018

Recap: Fun and good times with Holst’s ‘The Planets’ and the Grand Rapids Symphony.

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - It’s almost impossible to believe how old Gustav Holst’s The Planets is. The symphonic suite sounds fresh from the cinema and a killer opening weekend for the latest sci-fi blockbuster. In fact, the English composer began work on the seven-movement work in 1914 at the end of the horse-and-buggy era. The Planets only sounds like the soundtrack for a five-year mission to boldly go where no man has gone before because film composers have drawn... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, February 3, 2018

Hear Grand Rapids Symphony play the music that inspired film music from 'Star Wars' to 'Star Trek'

When the words “Star Wars” first burst onto the movie screen to the sweeping accompaniment of a symphony orchestra in 1977, the first blockbuster film, with a soundtrack to match, was born. Composer John Williams would go on to become one of the most important film composers of modern times. One of the secrets to his success was how he drew inspiration from classical music. The driving rhythms of Williams’ Imperial Death March in Star Wars were inspired by Gustav... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, January 30, 2018

We welcome and encourage comments. Please note that your comment will be sent to our team to be approved prior to posting. You may not see your comment post right away.