Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director Marcelo Lehninger is slowly becoming known in his future home of Grand Rapids.
He returns to DeVos Performance Hall for concerts in the Richard and Helen Classical series in early February and in early March.
But in the Grand Rapids Art Museum, a display of portraits of the Brazilian-born conductor opens next week.
Grand Rapids photographer Andrew Terzes has captured the art and artistry of Lehninger in a selection of portraits on temporary display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
The exhibition titled, simply, Marcelo, will be on view Tuesday, Jan. 31 through Sunday, Feb. 5, coinciding with the Grand Rapids Symphony’s performances of “Mozart, Mahler and Marcelo” on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4 featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 with guest pianist Andrew von Oeyen and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
The photo series portrays “Marcelo as art,” according to Terzes, who owns and operates Terzes Photography in the Heartside neighborhood of downtown Grand Rapids.
“He’s awesome,” Terzes added. “A very kind man, a captivating smile and presence. I thought we had a really nice connection.”
None of the images in black and white depict the former assistant and associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a concert hall, though several have a musical theme. Each of the portraits – 5-feet tall, 4-feet wide – occupies 20 square feet of space per photo. Not quite life size, but getting close.
“I wanted to do something a little different,” Terzes said. “I wanted to do something that would be very noticeable, very eye-catching, and very different.”
The Brazilian-born conductor, who was appointed Music Director in June 2016, is settling into his new position and getting to know Grand Rapids. Lehninger plans to move to West Michigan this summer with his wife, Laura Krech, and their daughters, Sofia, age 5, and Camila, who was born in July.
“We’re excited to welcome Marcelo Lehninger to Grand Rapids as our new music director,” said Grand Rapids Symphony Interim President and CEO Peter Perez. “We’re eager to introduce him to the wonderful community that he soon will call home, and we’re grateful the Grand Rapids Art Museum has given us this opportunity to help Marcelo become a familiar face and a well-known name in West Michigan.”
Terzes photographed Lehninger in color using old-style, Mole-Richardson Baby Junior lights, often used to create glamour photographs of actors and actresses back in the Golden Age of Hollywood.
“I love the quality of that light,” he said. “I’ve always used it.”
Some of the photos in a series of 11 images are quiet studies; others show the conductor in action. Due in part to their size, just five will be hung at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
One is of him listening to music, though not the Beethoven or Brahms you might expect.
“He loves to listen to Brazilian jazz,” Terzes said. “I think they’re all fun, and they’re all him.”
GRAM President and CEO Dana Friis-Hansen said the museum is thrilled to help introduce the 37-year-old musician to the community.
“The Grand Rapids Symphony is a treasured cornerstone of the arts community, and we look forward to his dedicated leadership, energy, and talent as we continue the tradition of arts excellence in Grand Rapids.”
Terzes, a graduate of East Grand Rapids High School and Grand Valley State University, formerly served as photographer for Grand Rapids Ballet and served on its board of directors for six years. Notable personalities he’s photographed in the past include Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State; Anderson Cooper, anchor of Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN; and retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, a veteran of the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals.
Terzes said he enjoyed his time spent with Lehninger, who was appointed Grand Rapids Symphony’s Music Director last June.
“I felt he was the kind of guy I could be friends with,” he said. “Really, a great, great guy.”