Grand Rapids Symphony goes back to the Baroque and beyond with music by Handel, Telemann and more

Media Contact
Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk
Senior Manager of Communications and Media Relations
616.454.9451 ext. 139

GRAND RAPIDS, MI., February 13, 2017 – The Baroque era in music saw the dawn of the first great composers of classical music whose music would live on centuries after their deaths.

Composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and George Frideric Handel, who flourished in the early 18th century, are household names today. Some 250 to 400 years later, music of the Baroque lives on.

The Grand Rapids Symphony’s Great Eras Series continues in February with The Baroque Concert: Respighi, Handel & Fireworks featuring guest conductor Patrick Dupré Quigley.

A specialist in early music, Quigley will be in Grand Rapids at St. Cecilia Music Center for the Crowe Horwath Great Eras concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24.

Highlights of the evening concert will be given at 10 a.m. that day for the Porter Hills Coffee Classics series, a one-hour program held without intermission. Doors open at 9 a.m. for complementary coffee and pastry.

Both are held in St. Cecilia Music Center’s Royce Auditorium, 24 Ransom Ave. NE.

Quigley, the founder and artistic director of the chamber choir Seraphic Fire and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra, is a two-time Grammy Award nominee and a rising star in classical music.

Quigley will lead the Grand Rapids Symphony in music including George Frideric Handel’s Overture to Music for the Royal Fireworks, which today is one of the early 18th century composer’s most popular works; and Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Overture to Orfeo ed Euridice, which also is one of the most popular operas by the mid-18th century composer.

The concert includes Georg Philipp Telemann’s Suite from Don Quixote.

Music of the Baroque not only lives on, it continues to inspire composers hundreds of years later. The Grand Rapids Symphony’s concerts include 20th century interpretations of Baroque music by Ottorino Respighi and Igor Stravinsky.

Respighi, an Italian, is best known for his extravagant tone poems for orchestra including Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. But he also was a musicologist who composed works based on early music. His Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 2, is one of three suites that Respighi transcribed from 16th century music originally written for such instruments as lute and viol.

Stravinsky’s Suite from Pulcinella, is concert music taken from Stravinsky’s ballet, which tells the story of the commedia dell’arte character of Pulcinella. Stravinsky adapted early 17th century music, interjecting modern rhythms and harmonies into the melodies attributed at the time to the Italian composer Giovanni Pergolesi.

Patrick Dupré Quigley is founder and artistic director of Seraphic Fire, a professional choral ensemble, specializing in pre-Beethoven music of the Baroque and early Classical eras as well as contemporary music. The group celebrated its 15th anniversary in January.  Though based in Miami, Seraphic Fire’s singers live all over the country, coming together days before a concert for extensive rehearsals followed by a performance.

In 2012, Quigley was nominated for two Grammy Awards, the only conductor nominated that year for Grammys for two separate projects. One nod was for Best Choral Performance for his recording of Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem; the other was for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for A Seraphic Fire Christmas, one of 13 recordings Seraphic Fire has made since its debut in 2002.

In 2004, Quigley was awarded the Robert Shaw Conducting Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and Chorus America, an annual award given to one conductor between the age of 25 and 40 who demonstrates potential for a significant professional career. Just 26 years old at the time, Quigley became the youngest person to receive the award

In January, the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra in Louisiana named Quigley one of three finalists to become the orchestra’s next music director.

The complete Baroque Concert: Respighi, Handel & Fireworks program will be rebroadcast on April 30, 2017, at 1 p.m. on Blue Lake Public Radio 88.9 FM or 90.3 FM.


Tickets start at $26 for the Crowe Horwath Great Eras series and $16 for the Porter Hills Coffee Classics Coffee Classics and are available at the GRS ticket office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)

Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., or at the door on the day of the concert prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at

Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Passport program.

About the Grand Rapids Symphony

Organized in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are given each year, touching the lives of some 200,000, nearly half of whom are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities all reached through extensive education and community service programs. Affiliated organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus; Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra; and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. GRS provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet and sponsors the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival, which returns in March 2017.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony, please visit the website or

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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.