Category: Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series

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Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony's wide-ranging program takes your breath away

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk The music of Johannes Brahms isn’t an appetizer. Brahms of the 1880s, the mature master of the German Romantic era at the height of his creative powers, is a main course, served on a silver platter on major holidays and important family gatherings. Under normal circumstances, the Grand Rapids Symphony wouldn’t begin a concert with a Brahms Symphony. Not unless it also was the end of the concert. But a music director search isn’t a normal circumstance, so ... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, February 20, 2016

Carlos Izcaray, Venezuelan-born, Interlochen-trained, debuts with Grand Rapids Symphony

Carlos Izcaray was principal cellist of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra when he was approached one day by a member of its board of directors and invited to conduct a youth symphony orchestra performance.  The son of an eminent Venezuelan conductor had dabbled in conducting during his college years while studying music in the United States, so he decided to think about it.  “When is it?” Izcaray asked.  “Tomorrow” came the reply.  “In Venezuela, there’s a... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Thursday, February 18, 2016

Grand Rapids Symphony unveils 2016-17 season

Music has the extraordinary power to transform lives, touch hearts and change the world around us. Jazz was born in America, but songwriter George Gershwin was first to bring it to the concert hall. His Rhapsody in Blue , an overnight sensation at its premiere in 1924, drew worldwide attention to America’s emerging art form. Pianist Joyce Yang A decade later, Russian-born Sergei Rachmaninoff, now living in the United States, wrote his final piece for piano and orchestra. Years... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Thursday, February 11, 2016

Q&A with Music Director Candidate Carlos Izcaray

Guest conductor Carlos Izcaray makes his Grand Rapids Symphony debut on Feb. 19-20 to lead your Grand Rapids Symphony in music touching three centuries and three traditions.  Now in his first season as music director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Izcaray is a candidate to become the next music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony.  Mezzo Soprano Katherine Pracht The Venezuelan-born conductor leads your Grand Rapids Symphony in Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No 3 and... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Q&A with Music Director Candidate Mei-Ann Chen

Music director candidate Mei-Ann Chen returns to DeVos Performance Hall to lead the Grand Rapids Symphony in Dvořák’s Seventh on January 29-30. The dynamic music director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra made her debut here in March 2014 to lead the Grand Rapids Symphony in Aaron Copland’s “El Salon Mexico” and William Bolcom’s “Games and Challenges,” featuring the eclectic string trio, Time for Three.  The Taiwanese-born conductor explains why Antonín Dvořák is her favorite composer... Read More
Posted by Corey Holcomb at Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Q&A with Music Director Candidate Jacomo Bairos

In addition to being a conductor, you are also a tubist—a unique instrument for a conductor! What drew you to the tuba and what do you love about the instrument? On the very first day I walked into Homestead Middle School Band class, I had not yet decided what instrument I wanted to play. When I was in middle school, we had two full bands: a jazz band, a pep band, and a small orchestra. As the teacher asked all the new kids what they wanted to play, my eyes were furiously darting around the... Read More
Posted by Sam Napolitan at Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Two Extraordinary Vocalists to Join the GRS for Brahms' German Requiem

This Friday and Saturday, the Grand Rapids Symphony performs Brahms' German Requiem . In addition to the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, soprano Jeanine De Bique and baritone Norman Garrett will bring this moving piece to life in DeVos Performance Hall. We talked to Jeanine and Norman about Brahms, their careers and what they are looking forward to at the performance this weekend.  How did you decide to pursue a career in opera? Did you always envision yourself doing what you... Read More
Posted by Sam Napolitan at Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Q&A with Music Director Candidate Rune Bergmann

Music Director Candidate Rune Bergmann joins the Grand Rapids Symphony for Brahms' German Requiem on November 20 - 21. Learn more about Rune, his background and his hobbies below!  It has been stated that Brahms’ Requiem is one of your favorite choral works. What do you love about this piece?  What I love most about Brahms’ Requiem is the purity it possesses and how clear it has been composed and orchestrated. For me there is something very honest in the way Brahms composes,... Read More
Posted by Sam Napolitan at Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus Director on Brahms' German Requiem

In her eleventh year as the chorus master of the Grand Rapids Symphony, Dr. Pearl Shangkuan is a sought-after conductor and clinician all across the United States and internationally. Dr. Shangkuan will lead the splendid Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus in its upcoming presentation with the Grand Rapids Symphony orchestra, Brahms' German Requiem . Here, Dr. Shangkuan provides her expert insight into the deeply moving and iconic work.  I first studied and sang Brahms’ "Ein Deutches... Read More
Posted by Sam Napolitan at Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Message from Music Director Candidate, Rune Bergmann

Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director Candidate Rune Bergmann introduces himself and Brahms' German Requiem in this short video! Read More
Posted by Sam Napolitan at Wednesday, October 28, 2015
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