Category: 2017-18 Season

Relive the Grand Rapids Symphony’s triumphant return to Carnegie Hall with WOOD TV8’s special broadcast

Nearly 13 years after setting foot on the storied stage of Carnegie Hall for the first time, the Grand Rapids Symphony returned in April with an exciting evening of Brazilian and Spanish music. Music Director Marcelo Lehninger led the orchestra and Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus with special guest pianist Nelson Freire in music, some of which hasn’t been heard in Carnegie Hall since 1959. WOOD TV8 traveled to the Big Apple with the Grand Rapids Symphony and captured the highlights... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, June 5, 2018

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

Hear Grand Rapids Pops play 'Star Wars' and more, movie music of John Williams, May 11-13

Grand Rapids Symphony Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt doesn’t mince words when he talks about film composer John Williams. “He’s my hero,” Bernhard says with a smile. Bernhardt comes by that belief honestly. During his 14-year tenor as conductor of the Boston Pops, Williams in 1992 hired Bernhardt to be a guest conductor of the most famous pops orchestra in the world. Ever since, Bernhardt has continued to guest conduct the Boston Pops nearly every season... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, May 9, 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: Grand Rapids Symphony's 20th Century Concert is a sensational addition to Great Eras series

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Grand Rapids Symphony’s Great Eras series concerts are just what the name implies: Concerts devoted to a particular period in music. For many years the three-concert series has celebrated the music of the Baroque, the Classical and the Romantic eras each season, though not necessarily in that order. But this season, the Grand Rapids Symphony embraced the 20 th century with a fourth program for the Crowe Horwath Great Eras series. It took the entire... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, March 31, 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: Second City skewers the symphony in hilarious Grand Rapids Pops show at LaughFest

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Classical music is serious stuff. Bach, Beethoven and the rest of the boys tackled such matters as salvation of the soul and brotherhood of mankind in their music. Mahler, when he composed his symphonies, set out to compose an entire world. Mahler apparently had a side gig as well, writing jingles to sell blue jeans. If that never popped up in college music appreciate class, you’ll just have to take Second City’s word for it. Mind you, no one... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, March 17, 2018
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