Grand Rapids Symphony welcomes popular Norwegian guest conductor for Sibelius’ popular Symphony

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

GRAND RAPIDS, MI., September, 20, 2017 – After its wildly successful premiere in 1902, Finnish composer Jean Sibelius said of his Symphony No. 2, “My second symphony is a confession of the soul.”

Among his confessions, Sibelius declares his love for the Finnish country side by composing one of the most spectacular sunrises in all of classical music.

Grand Rapids Symphony ventures north to the frozen and solemn beauty of Finland and beyond, guided by a Norwegian conductor and assisted by a Grammy nominated Norwegian mezzo-soprano.

Guest conductor Rune Bergmann will lead Sibelius Symphony No. 2, the second concert of the 2017-18 Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, October 6-7, in DeVos Performance Hall. A pre-concert discussion, Inside the Music, begins at 7 p.m.

George and Kerstin Trowbridge is the Concert Sponsor. Guest artist sponsor is the Edith I. Blodgett Guest Artist Fund.

Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Marianne Beate Kielland makes her DeVos Hall debut to sing Gustav Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer.

Marianne Kielland has established herself as one of the foremost singers of Scandinavia as well as one of the few Norwegian singers to have received a Grammy nomination. The versatile mezzo soprano began her international career with the Staatsoper Hannover in Germany and has been working frequently with

In case Sibelius and Mahler aren’t enough, Grand Rapids Symphony opens concerts with Richard Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger, one of his more popular and frequently played works.

A German music drama about medieval guild of “Master Singers” of the city of Nuremburg in the 16th century, this comic opera by Wagner is especially familiar for its Prelude, which is a staple of the orchestra repertoire.   

After a failed pursuit for love, Gustav Mahler composed both lyrics and music for Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen or Songs of a Wayfarer. The lyrics are influenced by Des Knaben Wunderhorn or The Youth’s Magic Horn, a collection of German folk poetry that was one his favorite books. The four songs take the listener on a journey full of grief, beauty and despair, ending with a dark but necessary resolution.

Rune Bergmann, in his third appearance with the Grand Rapids symphony, leads the journey from medieval Germany to the vast forests of birch and pine in Scandinavia.

An energetic and compelling figure on the podium, Bergmann is a dynamic and versatile conductor with an extensive classical, romantic, operatic and contemporary repertoire.

Recently named Music Director of Canada’s Calgary Philharmonic as well as Artistic Director & Chief Conductor of Poland’s Szczecin Philharmonic, Bergmann has been Artistic Director of Norway’s innovative Fjord Cadenza Festival since its inception in 2010.

  • Inside the Music, a free, pre-concert, multi-media presentation sponsored by BDO USA, will be held before each performance at 7 p.m. in the DeVos Place Recital Hall.

  • The complete Sibelius No. 2 program will be rebroadcast on Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 1 p.m. on Blue Lake Public Radio 88.9 FM or 90.3 FM.


Tickets start at $18 and are available at the GRS box 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 ticket office, weekdays 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours 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 Tickets program. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

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 was held in March 2017 and returns in 2019.

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.