Category: reviews

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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

Recap: Dramatic flair, theatrical twist and electrifying finales cap Grand Rapids Symphony’s season

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk Dramatic flair, theatrical twist and electrifying finales cap Grand Rapids Symphony’s Classical season Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2015-16 season brought to town eight guest conductors and all of the excitement of its first search in the 21st century for a new music director. Surely, the Grand Rapids Symphony didn’t save the best for last. Or did they? Music Advisor Larry Rachleff, who is not a music director candidate, was on the podium to end the season with... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, May 14, 2016

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony's "Star Wars & More" is a roller coaster ride to Christmas town

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk John Williams has written so much film music, it’s easy to forget just how much he’s written. Every “Star Wars” film, most of the “Harry Potter” movies, and the films starring Indiana Jones, just to name a few.  Now add such films as “Schindler’s List” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” to the list. Cue the iconic image of a young Macaulay Culkin, with his hands on the side of his face, looking surprised, in the film “Home Alone.” That’s totally relevant here... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, May 7, 2016

Recap: Guest conductor leads Grand Rapids Symphony in climatic experience with "Pines of Rome"

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk Utter the words, “20th century music,” and watch as faces of many unabashed lovers of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms turn to stone. Though classical music took some unusual turns into unknown waters in the last century, that wasn’t the case in all situations. So all we are saying is give 20th century music a chance. That’s what the Grand Rapids Symphony’s audience did on Friday night. DeVos Performance Hall erupted several times into enthusiastic cheers for music... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, April 23, 2016
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