Category: 2018-19 Classical

Recap: 'Tchaikovsky Festival's' Russian music warms American hearts in Grand Rapids Symphony's performance

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - ‘Tis the season for Russian music. For several weeks now, the snow and ice that has fallen had made West Michigan feel less like the Great Lake State and more like the Russian steppes. Mother Nature demands we embrace it, and so we shall. Music Director Marcelo Lehninger led the Grand Rapids Symphony and Symphony Chorus in Russian music to warm an American heart with two familiar works by Tchaikovsky and two largely unknown to orchestral audiences. ... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, February 9, 2019

Tchaikovsky Competition winner joins Grand Rapids Symphony for all-Tchaikovsky concert

In all of classical music, few composers are more beloved than Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Though the bombastic 1812 Overture and the enchanting ballet The Nutcracker are some of Tchaikovsky’s best-known works, almost every note that poured from his pen remains popular with audiences. Igor Stravinsky proclaimed Tchaikovsky to be “the most Russian of all composers,” but Tchaikovsky’s music has universal appeal. So much so that the Grand Rapids Symphony ... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony heats up winter with sizzling Spanish and Latinx music

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Winter definitely has arrived in Michigan, but if you were in the audience with the Grand Rapids Symphony on Friday, it was easy to forget the chilly winds and flurries headed our way. Sizzling Spanish music by Manuel de Falla and Joaquin Rodrigo and lush Latinx music by Astor Piazzolla and Alberto Ginastera filled an evening with music to warm every heart in DeVos Performance Hall on Friday, Jan. 18. In short, it was just what the doctor ordered as an... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, January 19, 2019

Enjoy Spanish and Latinx music with the Grand Rapids Symphony plus Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, Grand Rapids Ballet

If there’s one musical instrument that defines Spanish music, it’s the guitar. If there’s one piece for guitar and orchestra that towers above all others for the genre, it’s Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez . Finally, if there’s one guitarist who you really must hear play the work that was inspired by the gardens at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez in Spain, it’s Pablo Sáinz Villegas. “He is an incredible... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Grand Rapids Symphony, Chorus and soloists give inspiring performance of Mozart's 'Great' Mass in C minor

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote most of his music to advance his career. He composed his Mass in C minor to build relationships. The composer who had recently married wrote his Mass in C minor showcase his wife as a singer and to mend fences with his father, who did not approve of the match. It seems not to have worked. But what didn’t work in 18 th century Salzburg definitely did work in 21 st century Grand Rapids. Music Director Marcelo Lehninger led... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, November 17, 2018

Grand Rapids Symphony and Chorus performs music by Schubert, Ives and Mozart that's 'unfinished, unanswered and incomplete,' Nov. 16-17

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart surely must have been in love with his wife. There’s little doubt he was afraid of his father. One of the greatest prodigies in the history of music, Mozart spent his childhood traveling across Europe, performing for Kings and Queens and their highborn friends. As he became an adult, he grew tired of his domineering father, slipped out of Salzburg, and headed for Vienna, determined to make a living as a freelance performer and composer. He married a young... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Grand Rapids Symphony musicians remember magic of performing under Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein lived the life of a classical musician to its absolute fullest. The pianist, conductor, recording artist and larger-than-life personality inspired generations of musicians including several Grand Rapids Symphony Musicians. Grand Rapids Symphony celebrates his life and music with an all-Bernstein salute, Bernstein’s 100 th , on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, in DeVos Performance Hall. Guest conductor Carl St. Clair , music director of the Pacific... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Recap: Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Grand Rapids Symphony, deliver one of the greatest nights of music ever heard in DeVos Performance Hall

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - DeVos Performance Hall, since it opened in 1980s, has seen many great performances by the Grand Rapids Symphony . Friday’s concert featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet under Music Director Marcelo Lehninger surely will go down in history as one of its very best. Thibaudet, Lehninger and the Grand Rapids Symphony – plus a musical saw – together conquered Aram Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto, a crowd pleasing, folk-flavored work that’s... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, October 6, 2018

Jean-Yves Thibaudet, one of world's best-known, best dressed pianists, joins Grand Rapids Symphony, Oct. 5-6

One of the world’s most famous pianists, Jean-Yves Thibaudet ’s concert seasons are filled with appearances with important orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and collaborations with such major artists as Renee Fleming and Sarah Chang. The French-born pianist has been a soloist on many film soundtracks such as the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly. Thibaudet also is one of world’s best-dressed concert artists, thanks to the couture of ... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony says farewell to Rich DeVos and opens season with bold, beautiful music by Bernstein, Barber and Beethoven

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - The Grand Rapids Symphony would not be the orchestra it is today were it not for Rich and Helen DeVos. Forty-five years ago, the DeVoses funded the first five full-time musicians in the Grand Rapids Symphony – two violins, a viola, a cello and a double bass – for a mere $40,000. It was the beginning of the transformation of the Grand Rapids Symphony from a community orchestra to a professional ensemble. A few years later, they were major... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, September 15, 2018
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