Hear Grand Rapids Symphony's 2015-16 season on Blue Lake Public Radio

If you’re a fan of classical music but you don’t get out as much as you’d like, there may be Grand Rapids Symphony concerts you wish you had been at. 

Thanks to Blue Lake Public Radio, you have a second chance to hear your Grand Rapids Symphony. 

Enjoy concerts all in the comfort of your home on Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. Broadcasts begin on March 6 and continue through the end of May. Go online to listen to Blue Lake Public Radio here.

Blue Lake Public Radio producer Steve Albert (left) and Grand Rapids Symphony associate conductor John Varineau.

Associate conductor John Varineau narrates each program, which airs from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is sponsored by Meijer, Inc. Grand Rapids Symphony’s concerts, which are recorded live in either DeVos Performance Hall or St. Cecilia Music Center’s Royce Auditorium, are broadcast according to the order they were performed. 

The Classical Series in DeVos Hall features eight guest conductors, all of whom are candidates to become the next music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony. 

The series opens March 6 with the 2015-16 season opening concerts that were held Sept. 18-19, 2015. Music advisor Larry Rachleff led the Grand Rapids Symphony in selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and cellist Jakob Koranyi joined the orchestra for Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1. 

Broadcasts continue through May 29 with the rebroadcast of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” which will feature soloists plus the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus. The Classical Series season-ending concert, which will be held May 13-14, also features Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 “Age of Anxiety.” 

Here’s the lineup for the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2015-16 Blue Lake Broadcast Schedule


Romeo & Juliet (performed on Sept. 18-19, 2015) 

Larry Rachleff, conductor 

Jakob Koranyi, cello   

Berlioz - Beatrice and Benedict Overture 

Saint-Saens - Cello Concerto No. 1 

Prokofiev - Selections from Romeo and Juliet Suites 1 & 2   

This program inspired by Shakespeare revels in music both comic and serious, starting with Berlioz’s ode to the witty Beatrice and Benedict.  A cello concerto’s headlong energy evokes the great soliloquies, and Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” vividly tells the story of the doomed star-crossed lovers.   

Ravel’s Piano Concerto (performed on October 9-10, 2015) 

Andris Poga, guest conductor   

Dalbavie - Color 

Ravel - Piano Concerto in G 

Shostakovich - Symphony No.1   

The first half of this program dives deep into the unique quality of French music—color—with Marc-André Dalbavie’s 2001 tone poem and Ravel’s sultry Piano Concerto. To end, Dmitri Shostakovich’s first symphony gives us a riot of Russian color.   

Mahler’s Titan (performed on October 23-24, 2015) 

James Feddeck, guest conductor 

GR Symphony Chorus, Pearl Shangkuan, director   

John Harbison - Remembering Gatsby from The Great Gatsby 

Mozart - Violin Concerto No. 5 

Mahler - Symphony No. 1   

Mahler’s great symphonic masterworks span the range of human emotion and experience, and it all begins here with his “Titan.” Setting the scene is John Harbison’s evocation of the roaring twenties hero, Jay Gatsby, and Mozart’s final concerto for violin.   

Great Eras - The Romantic Concert (performed on November 6, 2015) 

John Varineau, conductor 

Yaegy Park, violin   

Schubert - Overture to Rosamunde, Op. 26 

Mendelssohn – Violin Concerto 

Mendelssohn - Selections from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61   

Youthful genius is on display with this concert featuring Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” written when he was only seventeen. Schubert was merely in his early twenties when he wrote the “Overture to Rosamunde” which captures his trademark simple joy.      

Brahms’ A German Requiem (performed on November 20-21, 2015) 

Rune Bergmann, guest conductor 

GR Symphony Chorus, Pearl Shangkuan, director   

Sibelius -  In Memoriam 

Pärt -  Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten 

Brahms - A German Requiem   

A hero, a kindred spirit and a parent inspire this deeply moving and uplifting concert. Anchoring the program is Brahms’ most ambitious and thoughtful composition written to honor the passing of his mother.   

Beethoven’s Pastoral (performed on 8-9 January 2016) 

Jacomo Bairos, guest conductor 

Pablo Villegas, guitar  

Rodrigo - Fantasia para un Gentilhombre 

Beethoven - Symphony No. 6 

Marquez - Danzon No. 2   

Explore the joy of dancing as acclaimed guitarist Pablo Villegas performs a concerto based entirely on baroque dances. Beethoven’s most genial symphony is at the heart of the concert, expressing his love of the countryside surrounding Vienna.   

Great Eras - The Classical Concert (performed on January 14, 2016) 

Larry Rachleff, conductor 

Angelo, Xiang Yu, violin   

Stravinsky - Concertino for Twelve Instruments 

Mozart - Violin Concerto No. 4 

Beethoven - Symphony No. 2   

Featuring works by great composers who were also great performers, this program opens with Stravinsky’s concerto filled with dry wit, spiky rhythms and bittersweet lyricism. Mozart’s most charming violin concertos and Beethoven’s witty second symphony follows.     

Dvořák’s Seventh (performed on Jan. 29-30, 2016) 

Mei-Ann Chen, guest conductor 

Stefan Milenkovich, violin   

Korngold - Much Ado about Nothing Suite 

Bruch - Violin Concerto G minor 

Dvorak - Symphony No. 7   

Guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen returns to lead three works filled with joy, love and sunshine. Superb young violinist Stefan Milenkovich traverses Max Bruch’s sunny concerto, and Dvořàk Seventh Symphony brings melodies and rhythms evoking his native Bohemia.   

Debussy’s La Mer (performed on 2-19-20, 2016) 

Carlos Izcaray, guest conductor  

Kathleen Pracht, mezzo soprano

Brahms - Symphony No. 3 

Peter Lieberson - Neruda Songs 

Debussy - La Mer   

This program extols three of the many types of love, starting with Brahms’ most intimate symphony about personal freedom. Peter Lieberson’s creates an orchestral cycle from Pablo Neruda’s poems, and Debussy’s evocative symphonic suite translates the majesty, beauty and mystery of the oceans.   

Great Eras - The Baroque Concert (performed on March 4, 2016) 

John Varineau, conductor 

Alicia Eppinga & Jeremy Crosmer, cello   

Porpora - Overture to Arianna in Nasso  

Vivaldi - Concerto for Strings in C major 

Vivaldi - Concerto for Two Violin-cellos and Strings in G minor 

Telemann - Selections from Water Music 

Mozart - Overture to Cosi fan Tutte   

Travel to 18th century Italy and fall under the spell of the lively and poignant adventures of baroque. This concert spans the length of Italy with the Neapolitan Porpora to the Venetian Vivaldi. Telemann pays homage to the water gods of Roman mythology while Naples provides the setting of Mozart’s amusing opera!   

Beethoven’s Emperor (performed on March 18-19, 2016) 

Perry So, guest conductor 

Martin Helmchen, piano   

Guillaume Connesson - Supernova 

Beethoven - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5, The Emperor 

Schumann - Symphony No. 2   Beethoven’s last concerto radiates a majesty and sheer joy that belies the sufferings of its creator. Complementing “The Emperor” is a riotously colorful tone poem by new French composer Guillaume Connesson and Schumann’s most uplifting symphony.   

Pines of Rome (performed on April 22-23, 2016) 

Marcelo Lehninger, guest conductor   

Bartok -Violin Concerto No. 2 

Villa-Lobos - Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 

Debussy (arr. Colin Matthews) - Two Preludes 

Respighi – Pines of Rome   

The sounds of home influence this concert with Bartok’s virtuoso concerto echoing his native Hungary, the colorful sounds of Brazil and autumnal piano preludes. “Pines of Rome” crowns the program as Respighi conjures images of ancient Rome, led by returning guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger.    


Carmina Burana (performed on May 13-14, 2016) 

Larry Rachleff, conductor 

Kirill Gerstein, piano 

GR Symphony Chorus, Pearl Shangkuan, director 

GR Symphony Youth Chorus, Sean Ivory, director   

Bernstein - Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety 

Orff - Carmina Burana   “O Fortune, Empress of the Word” – so begins one of the most beloved of all choral masterworks. Beginning the program—as only Bernstein can—is a jazzy, introspective work brimming with the energy of mid-century America.

Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at 00:00
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