Category: reviews

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recap: Time stands still with Music of Beach Boys at the Grand Rapids Symphony's Picnic Pops

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk The Beach Boys, for more than 50 years, have been delighting fans with the sounds of surf, sand and endless summer. Papa Doo Run Run has been at it for almost as long. In fact, one could argue they’re poised to outlast the Beach Boys. Five years to the day after they last appeared with the Grand Rapids Symphony at Cannonsburg Ski Area, the surf-rock band from California returned to the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops with the Music of the Beach Boys. ... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Sunday, July 31, 2016

Recap: Music of Queen rocks the Grand Rapids Symphony's world at Picnic Pops at Cannonsburg

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk Nine-year-old Aiden Wriggelsworth is no Freddie Mercury. Neither is Michael Shotton. But the two, standing side-by-side at the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Picnic Pops, singing “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, were entertaining just the same. “The Music of Queen” brought Jeans ‘n Classics back to West Michigan and the Grand Rapids Pops for the second week of the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops on Thursday, July 21. ... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Friday, July 22, 2016

Recap: 'Classics go to the movies' in Grand Rapids Symphony's 2016 Picnic Pops opener

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk In the 1994 film, “The Shawshank Redemption,” a convicted murder in prison comes across a recording of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” locks himself into the warden’s office, and plays the Letter Duet over the prison’s public address system. Actor Morgan Freeman, who narrates the film, declares his fellow inmates had no idea what the two Italian ladies were singing about. “It was like some beautiful, bird... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Friday, July 15, 2016
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