Category: reviews

Recap: Marcelo Lehninger era opens triumphantly with world premiere, world-class artist, wonderful music

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - The opening of the Marcelo Lehninger era began with a semi-standing ovation. When the maestro strode out on stage for his first season-opening concert with the Grand Rapids Symphony on Friday, the audience erupted with enthusiastic applause in DeVos Performance Hall. The only thing that stopped it from becoming a full standing ovation was the Brazilian-born conductor himself, eager to greet the audience and get on with what he was hired to do – make... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, September 16, 2017 | 3 comments

Recap: 'Symphony with Soul,' with big voice of Lalah Hathaway, big sound of Grand Rapids Symphony, sells out DeVos Hall

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - The Grand Rapids Symphony set out 15 years ago to do something it had never done before. Fill the better part of DeVos Performance Hall with people who likely had never been to a symphony orchestra concert before. Fill it they did on Saturday for the 16 th annual “Symphony with Soul.” A moment before the audience rose for the opening number, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” hardly a seat was empty. DeVos Hall was filled to... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Sunday, February 19, 2017 | 5 comments

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony brings magic of Harry Potter to town with exciting 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Tales of good and evil, of heroes defeating villains, are timeless. Thanks to modern technology, entertainment through electronic media is growing at an exponential rate. Yet live entertainment continues to delight audiences. When you can put all of that together, you have something really special. You might even say magical. Harry Potter came to DeVos Performance Hall on Friday, thanks to the Grand Rapids Symphony , the 2001 film,  Harry Potter and... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Sunday, January 29, 2017 | 0 comments

Recap: Music Director Marcelo Lehninger makes momentous debut with Grand Rapids Symphony in St. Cecilia Music Center.

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - A new artistic leader’s arrival in a new home is a series of firsts. There’s the first announcement, first public appearance, first performance and on it goes. Friday’s first was Music Director Marcelo Lehninger’s debut in St. Cecilia Music Center, home of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Great Eras Series and Coffee Classics Series. It was no less exciting than the rest of the Brazilian-born conductor’s firsts ever since he... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, January 7, 2017 | 1 comments

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony's David Lockington leads concert well-matched to the mood of the day

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Every concert the Grand Rapids Symphony gives in DeVos Performance Hall is planned a long time in advance. One year ago, when the orchestra prepared the program for this week’s concerts, it was a natural fit to give the world premiere of a piece of music inspired by the fall harvest just before Thanksgiving. On the other hand, recent events such as the outcome of November’s Election, which left half the country elated and the other half in mourning,... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, November 19, 2016 | 3 comments

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony's Marcelo Lehninger, with fire in his belly and a magic wand in his hand, makes debut as Music Director

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - A new era begins for the Grand Rapids Symphony . Marcelo Lehninger , the new Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony, ascended the podium in DeVos Performance Hall for the first time to lead his orchestra. He descended to enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation. Not once, but twice. That’s not entirely a surprise. After all, it’s been 17 years since DeVos Hall saw the first appearance of a new Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director. ... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, October 29, 2016 | 0 comments

Recap: Rachmaninoff Rhapsody delights, but Concerto for Orchestra delivers brilliant Grand Rapids Symphony performance

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk -- One of the great pleasures of art is the delights and discoveries you encounter along the way. Grand Rapids Symphony’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini   easily transported its listeners to another time and place. How could it not with the elegant and engaging Joyce Yang at the piano, sailing the ship, and the irrepressible guest conductor Perry So, navigating the voyage? No doubt, the music that led... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, October 8, 2016 | 0 comments

Recap: Billy Joel or Elton John? Jim Witter gives you both and more at the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2016-17 Pops Series

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk -- Billy Joel or Elton John? It’s a musical variation of the question, “Ginger or Mary Ann?” Who do you prefer? The two piano-playing, singer/songwriters have a lot in common with dozens of hit songs and millions of records sold. They’re also plenty different, as you’d expect from a Brit and a Yank. So if you can’t choose between the two, who better to combine them into one package than a Canadian, eh? The Canadian of... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, September 24, 2016 | 0 comments

Recap: Great music, great musicians, open Grand Rapids Symphony's 2016-17 season with 'Rhapsody in Blue'

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk The great ones make it seem so easy. Pianist Ralph Votapek, Gold Medalist at the 1962 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, breezed his way through a rhapsodic performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on Friday, September 16, to open the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2016-17 concert season in DeVos Performance Hall. “Great ones” applies to the Grand Rapids Symphony as well. Earlier, on Blue Lake Public Radio,... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, September 17, 2016 | 0 comments

Recap: Boyz II Men wows audience at Grand Rapids Symphony's 2016 Picnic Pops finale

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk Boyz II Men became an international success when their 1992 single, “End of the Road,” reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for 13 weeks, breaking a decades-old record held by Elvis Presley. Nearly a quarter of a century later, the end of the road isn’t in sight for the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble. Boyz II Men wowed the Grand Rapids Symphony’s audience at Cannonsburg Ski Area to close the D&W... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | 0 comments
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