The Grand Rapids Symphony has unveiled its 2017-18 season with classical blockbusters, classic rock, Broadway’s biggest hits, family friendly entertainment and cinematic special events including second and third films in the Harry Potter Film Concert Series with live music.
In 2017-18 the symphony will perform all-time classical favorites including Ravel’s Bolero, Holst’sThe Planets, Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony No. 41, and an all-Tchaikovsky program on the Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series.
In addition to pianist extraordinaire, Nelson Freire, world-famous soloists including violinist Sarah Chang and pianist Gabriela Montego — all three personal friends and colleagues of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s new Music Director Marcelo Lehninger — will perform on the stage.
The 2017-18 season*
Grand Rapids Symphony’s 88th season includes such monumental works as Richard Strauss’ epic tone poem, Ein Heldenleben or A Hero’s Life in DeVos Hall.
The Brazilian-born Lehninger will lead the orchestra in several pieces by Brazil’s best-known composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, including Momoprecóce featuring Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire. Several years ago, Lehninger led a performance of it with the Freire and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.
Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus will join the orchestra for Verdi’s Requiem in the fall and for Beethoven’s “Choral” Symphony No. 9 to end the 2017-18 season.
“It’s one of the pieces I enjoy conducting the most,” Lehninger said about the Verdi Requiem.
*Click here for a pdf of the lineup.
St. Cecilia Music Center
At St. Cecilia Music Center, the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Crowe Horwath Great Eras and Porter Hills Coffee Classics series will expand from three concerts to four.
Sarah Chang, who was in Grand Rapids as St. Cecilia Music Center’s 2011 Great Artist, will open the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2017-18 season with West Side Story Suite for Violin and Orchestra, arranged for her by David Newman from Leonard Bernstein’s musical score. The performance coincides with the 100th anniversary of Bernstein’s birth in 1917.
“Sarah’s a wonderful violinist, a wonderful artist, and a personal friend of mine,” Lehninger said. “She’s the only one who plays the piece, so it was a perfect fit.”
Venezuelan pianist Gabriella Montero will be soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, part of the all-Tchaikovsky program Lehninger will lead.
“Gabriella has a sound, a big, round sound that’ll be perfect for it,” Lehninger said. “She’s a great, great pianist with a great personality, a wonderful heart, and a fabulous musician.”
The Grand Rapids Pops
Join the Grand Rapids Pops at the movies for a full-length screening of An American in Paris starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the 1951 film powered by live musical accompaniment. Back by popular demand, the Fox Motors Pops Series celebrates the music of one of the greatest film composers in history with ‘Star Wars’ and More: The Music of John Williams.
The six-concert season, which opens with a salute to the music of Fleetwood Mac by the rock group Landslide, includes an evening of Broadway blockbusters with songs from Broadway’s biggest shows of all time including Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound Of Music, Chicago, A Chorus Line, and Cats.
Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt will be on the podium for the Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops, one of three shows he’ll lead on the series. Associate Conductor John Varineau will conduct the other three concerts including The Second City Guide to the Symphony, an evening of sketch comedy and beautiful music featuring The Second City comedy troupe.
A highlight of the 2017-18 season will be special-event screenings of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the second and third films in the Harry Potter franchise of eight movies, based on the books by J.K. Rowling.
Meanwhile, the Grand Rapids Symphony will unveil its 2017 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops series in mid-March. Plenty of great music is coming this summer to Cannonsburg Ski Area.
Back to Carnegie Hall in 2018
Nearly 12 years ago, the Grand Rapids Symphony capped off its 75th anniversary season with a trip to the Big Apple and a concert in New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
New York Times critic Bernard Holland, noting the enthusiastic reception for the orchestra in the 2,800-seat hall, began his review with, “The Grand Rapids Symphony came to Carnegie Hall on Saturday night and brought a good part of the city with it.”
The Grand Rapids Symphony, under Lehninger, will return to Carnegie Hall near the end of its 88th season in April 2018. The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, for the first time, will travel along with the orchestra for the performance in the world-famous concert hall.
The Brazilian-born conductor will be joined by the eminent Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire for a performance on April 20, one week after appearing in DeVos Performance Hall with a concert featuring Freire as soloist in Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Momoprecóce.
Season tickets are on sale now with select concerts also on sale to subscribers. Subscriptions are available at a discount of up to 50 percent off select series and seats for new package orders. Single tickets will be available beginning July 31.
Tickets 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.)