Grand Rapids Symphony’s exciting 2016-2017 season sets the stage for its next music director
February 11, 2016
Grand Rapids Symphony
616.454.9451 x 139
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Feb. 11, 2016 – The Grand Rapids Symphony
will have you on the edge of your seat in anticipation as its 2016-17 season
paves the way for the arrival of its next music director.
Today, your Grand
Rapids Symphony unveils its 87th annual season, offering
classical blockbusters as well as recently composed music; classic pop and rock
plus family friendly entertainment; and cinematic special events plus seasonal
celebrations that’ll bring a galaxy of eminent artists and guest conductors to
The GRS will play your all-time orchestral favorites
including Gershwin’s wildly popular Rhapsody in Blue, Beethoven’s
history-making Eroica Symphony No. 3, and Mussorgsky’s evocative and
entertaining Pictures at an Exhibition.
The Grand Rapids Pops season promises cinematic thrills you
can’t experience anywhere else with Dreamworks Animation in Concert, a
visual and musical, 20th anniversary salute to the studio that
created Shrek, Madagascar and How to Train Your Dragon in October.
A full-length screening of the heartwarming film, E.T the Extra-Terrestrial
follows in November with its memorable score by John Williams, the five-time
Oscar-winning film composer whose music will be featured by the Grand Rapids
Pops yet this season on May 6-8.
Ann Hampton Callaway, who wrote and sang the theme from TV’s
The Nanny, returns to DeVos Hall in
January 2017 with a salute to Barbra
Streisand, including songs such as At
the Same Time that Callaway wrote especially for Babs.
back with the Fox Motors Pops Series with the tribute group Classical Mystery Tour
joining the Grand Rapids Pops in April 2017 to celebrate the 50th
anniversary of the Fab Four’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Cinematic highlights on the Classical Series include Rachmaninoff’s
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, featuring the enchanting 18th
variation that served as the love theme for the movie Somewhere in Time, filmed
at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, starring Christopher Reeves and Jane
Seymour. The dazzling Joyce Yang joins the Grand Rapids Symphony in October as piano
soloist for the Paganini Variations.
Along with Yang, world-class artists coming to town for the
Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series include Michigan’s own Ralph Votapek,
the first gold medal winner of the inaugural Van Cliburn International Piano Competition to open the series in
September; and Fabio Bidini, a finalist in the 1993 Van Cliburn Competition, all
under supervision of Music Advisor Larry Rachleff, who conducts two concerts in
all during the 2016-17 season.
Familiar faces coming to town include pianist Jim Witter
from The Piano Men, a past performer
with the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops. He returns with The Music of Billy Joel and Elton
John in September to open the six-concert Fox Motors Pops Series together
with Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt on the podium.
The GRS’ 2016-17 season promises the return of music director
laureate David Lockington in November to lead soloists and the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus in Ralph
Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem,
featuring prayers, biblical stories, and texts by poet Walt Whitman.
More familiar faces include guest conductors Marcello Lehninger and Rune Bergmann. Brazilian-born
Lehninger, who was in Grand Rapids last season and is scheduled to return this
April, will lead the Grand Rapids Symphony in Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 5 in
February 2017. Norwegian-born Bergmann, who made his DeVos Hall debut this past
November, will be back in March 2017 with the engaging Pictures at an Exhibition.
Grand Rapids Symphony made history in 1986 when it appointed
Catherine Comet as the first woman to serve as music director of a regional, professional
orchestra in the United States. Since then, many more have followed in her
footsteps. Grammy Award-winning
conductor JoAnne Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic,
comes to town in March 2017 to lead a program of elegance and grace with
Ravel’s La Valse and Saint-Saens’
Piano Concerto No. 5 along with the local premiere of Scherzo Crypto by Grand
Rapids Symphony’s assistant principal oboist Alexander Miller.
The Grand Rapids Symphony’s three-concert Crowe Horwath
Great Eras Series, held in the beautiful surroundings of St. Cecilia Music
Center’s Royce Auditorium, opens its three-concert series with a Mostly
Mozart program featuring Principal Hornist Richard Britsch and
Assistant Principal Hornist Erich Peterson as soloists in Mozart’s Horn
Concerto No. 2.
The Grand Rapids Bach
Festival, the 11th biennial celebration of the Baroque in West
Michigan, returns for a week of events in March 2017 under the leadership of
its own music director, David Lockington.
The Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without the Grand
Rapids Symphony supplying holiday cheer for the whole family. The Grand Rapids
Pops’ traditional Holiday Pops will be held in early December, followed by the
return of Cirque de la Symphonie’s colorful Cirque de Noël later in the month on the Nestlé Gerber
Season tickets are on sale now with select concerts also on
sale to subscribers. New for the 2016-17 season are subscriptions available at
a discount of up to 50% off of single-ticket prices for select series and seats for new package
orders. Single tickets will be available beginning Aug. 1.
Tickets are available at the Symphony office, weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 300
Ottawa NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling
616.454.9451 x 4. Tickets are available by phone in the evening and on Saturday
by calling 616.885.1241.
About the Grand Rapids Symphony
The Grand Rapids Symphony was officially organized
in 1930 and is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and
educational programs. Led by Music Advisor Larry Rachleff, Principal Pops
Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert
series are presented, featuring a wide range of musical styles. More than 400
performances are given each year, touching the lives of some 170,000. Nearly
half of those are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities
reached through extensive education and community service programs. Affiliated
organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus; Grand Rapids Youth Symphony
and Classical Orchestra; and the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. The GRS
also operates the Grand Rapids Bach Festival and collaborates as the orchestra
for Opera Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Ballet. To learn more about the Grand
Rapids Symphony please visit GRSymphony.org.
This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan
Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.