Category: 2018-19 Season

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

Black Violin blows the roof off of sold-out DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids Symphony’s annual ‘Symphony with Soul’

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Black Violin has appeared with Alicia Keys at the Billboard Awards, won Showtime at  the Apollo , and performed for second inauguration of President Obama. Now they’ve won the respect of Grand Rapids. The hip-hop duo that plays string instruments joined the Grand Rapids Symphony for its 18 th annual Symphony with Soul and a performance that blew the roof off of DeVos Performance Hall in more ways than one on Saturday, Feb. 16. For... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Monday, February 18, 2019

Grand Rapids Symphony's annual 'Symphony with Soul' featuring Black Violin is sold out

Violinist Kevin Sylvester and violist Wilner Baptiste went to college to study classical music. Today both are professional musicians, but neither wear white tie and tails on stage. As Black Violin , “Kev Marcus” and “Wil B.” break down stereotypes and cultural barriers, one gig at a time. “If you come to our show and look at the stage before, you would sear it was two guitarists performing,” Will B. told the Mercury News recently .... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, February 12, 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

Trumpeter Byron Stripling returns to GR Pops stage with 'Ragtime, Blues and All that Jazz'

The great jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong spent his life traveling the world as an ambassador for the musical form that’s America’s greatest contribution to the arts. Trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling has lived a similar life, performing the timeless music in the style originated by Armstrong and his contemporaries. “Nothing can ever get old in jazz, because it’s meant to be felt differently all the time,” Stripling said in an interview with the Lexington... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, January 22, 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 marks its 89th birthday on Jan. 11 with music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven

A century ago, the growing city of Grand Rapids needed a symphony orchestra of its own. Several failed attempts were made to organize and sustain an orchestra. But in the final days of 1929, a newly organized Grand Rapids Symphony gave the community the gift of music for Christmas. Karl Wecker, who taught music at Grand Rapids Junior College, led the orchestra on Dec. 27 in music including Franz von Suppé’s “Poet and Peasant” Overture, the two movements of... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, January 9, 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
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