Category: 2018-19 Classical

Recap: Surprises, celebrations and sensational music complete Grand Rapids Symphony's 2018-19 season

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk- Some concerts are full of surprises. Great works of music give you ample opportunities, and when Music Director Marcelo Lehninger decided to end the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2018-19 season with sensuality from Ravel, sparkle from Chopin, and substance from Brahms, there were plenty of opportunities, guaranteed. Then there are the moments you could not have imagined. Such as three encores. Pianist Sonia Goulart , with her son on the podium, made... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, May 18, 2019

Grand Rapids Symphony closes 2018-19 season with Chopin and Brahms featuring Marcelo and his mom

Symphony orchestra conductors, naturally, have their favorite soloists. A couple of Marcelo Lehninger’s favorites, who have appeared previously with him and the Grand Rapids Symphony , include violinist Sarah Chang and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Another is Brazilian pianist Sonia Goulart , who happens to be Lehninger’s mother. Not only is she a gifted pianist, Lehninger knows her so well, it’s easy for them to perform together. “When I play with her, we... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Former GRS principal trombonist Ava Ordman returns home as soloist with Grand Rapids Symphony, May 3

For nearly 25 years, Ava Ordman was one of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s most prominent musicians. The principal trombonist was a frequent soloist with the orchestra, which she first joined while she was a student at the University of Michigan. Along with mezzo-soprano Linn Maxwell Keller, she gave the premiere performance of Libby Larsen’s “Mary Cassatt: Seven Songs for Mezzo-Soprano, Trombone and Orchestra,” commissioned by The Keller Foundation and the Grand... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Thursday, May 2, 2019

Recap: Heartfelt humanity, magnificent music in Grand Rapids Symphony's performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 3

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Gustav Mahler wrestled with the big questions, and then he set them to music. To create a symphony, for the late Romantic composer, was to create a world. When conductor Bruno Walter visited Mahler in 1896 at his summer retreat in the Alps, the younger man paused to admire the beautiful vista. Mahler told Walter he needn’t bother. “You don't have to look at that,” Mahler said. “I've already composed it.” Mahler was... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, April 13, 2019

Grammy winner from Grand Rapids, Michelle DeYoung, returns to sing Mahler's Third Symphony with Grand Rapids Symphony

Grand Rapids Symphony’s former chorus director knew Michelle DeYoung had a very special voice. The mezzo soprano had enrolled in Calvin College as a freshman in 1988, not entirely sure of what she wanted to do with her life. Anton Armstrong, who taught music at Calvin College in addition to serving as director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, told her she had a special voice worthy of a professional career. “He said I think you should consider a career in... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Thursday, April 11, 2019

Gilmore Young Artist returns to Grand Rapids Symphony as piano soloist with Rachmaninoff's beloved Piano Concerto No. 2

Like so many other kids, George Li began piano lessons at age 4. Though it soon was clear he had a special gift, for years, it was just a hobby. One day at age 11, while performing Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, the Boston native had an epiphany. “All of a sudden, in the middle of the performance I felt different,” he said in a 2018 interview with National Public Radio . “I was kind of transported in some other reality. And I felt all these emotions within the... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Thursday, March 14, 2019

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
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