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Grammy Winner Augustin Hadelich Opens GR Symphony's 90th Anniversary Season With Beethoven Violin Concerto


Grammy Winner Augustin Hadelich Opens GR Symphony's 90th Anniversary Season With Beethoven Violin Concerto

In its nearly 90 year history, the Grand Rapids Symphony has welcomed such guest artists as violinist Itzhak Perlman and Midori, cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Janos Starker, and pianists Van Cliburn, Emanuel Ax and Leon Fleisher to its stages. Many have played here more than once.

A few truly outstanding artists who've captured the hearts of the Grand Rapids Symphony's fans and supporters and who have commanded the respect of its conductors and musicians have returned again and again. Possibly none have appeared more times with the Grand Rapids Symphony than Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich.

The German violinist makes his sixth appearance in Grand Rapids to open the Grand Rapids Symphony's 90th Anniversary Season with Hadelich Plays Beethoven on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13-14.

Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, will lead the first concerts of the 2019-20 Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series at 8 p.m. in DeVos Performance Hall. Spectrum Health is the Concert Sponsor. Guest artist sponsor is the Edith I. Blodgett Guest Artist Fund.

Lehninger leads the Grand Rapids Symphony in music including Samuel Barber's Overture to The School for Scandal and Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C minor.

"It's a very special season," said Lehninger, who begins his fourth season as GRS Music Director.

Augustin Hadelich, named Musical America's 2019 Instrumentalist of the Year, will be soloist in Beethoven's Violin Concerto.

"It's a masterpiece I can never get enough of, no matter how many times I hear it and play it," Hadelich said in an interview with Interlude magazine last year. "The work is a major leap from any violin concerti previously written. Its difficulty lies in its transparency. It's a perfect work, and the listener is instantly aware of any impurities."

"I think the slow movement of this concerto is one of the most beautiful ever written - simple, intimate and human," he added.

Following from his Gold Medal at the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Hadelich made his Grand Rapids debut in St. Cecilia Music Center with a performance of Haydn's Violin Concerto in C Major in November 2007 for the Grand Rapids Symphony's Rising Stars Series.

Since then, Hadelich's star has risen indeed. Following his appearance with the Grand Rapids Symphony this season, Hadelich will appear with over 25 North American orchestras including the symphony orchestras of Boston, Cleveland, Houston, New York, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Toronto among others.

Winner of the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his recording of Henri Dutilleux's violin concerto, L'Arbre des songes, with the Seattle Symphony, Hadelich has performed internationally with such major orchestras as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Netherlands, the London Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, and the Sao Paulo Symphony in Brazil as well as major orchestras throughout the Far East. He has performed in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Wigmore Hall in London, and Symphony Hall in Chicago.

Winner of an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2009 and the inaugural Warner Music Prize in 2015, Hadelich plays the 1723 "ex-Kiesewetter" Stradivari violin, on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

Born in Italy to German parents, Hadelich was a child prodigy who gave his first concert at age 7. But at age 15, an accident on his family's farm in Tuscany left his face and right arm badly burned. Undaunted by his doctors' predictions that he'd never play again, Hadelich, now a naturalized American citizen, underwent years of surgeries and physical therapy and went on to study at the prestigious Juilliard School.

Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C minor is intimately connected to Beethoven. By the middle of the 19th century, Brahms not only was one of the most important composers of his day, the German composer was widely talked about as the successor to Beethoven who had composed nine symphonies before he died in 1827. Brahms, who was born five years later, was so intimidated by the shadow of his predecessor he later declared it had taken him 21 years, from initial sketches to its debut in 1876, to compose his first symphony. It soon was acclaimed as "Beethoven's 10th" and has remained a staple of the concert literature ever since.

The Grand Rapids Symphony's 2019-20 season coincides with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven in 2020, and the orchestra, on five separate programs, is performing several works by one of the greatest composers in the history of Classical music.

Music by Beethoven continues in March 2020 with his "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 conducted by Lehninger.

A highlight of the season will be a performance of all five of Beethoven's Piano Concertos, performed over two nights, by pianist Kirill Gerstein, the 2010 winner of the Gilmore Artist Award from the Irving S. Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo.

Music composed by Beethoven concludes with Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter performing Beethoven's stormy "Tempest" Sonata No. 17 in D minor, No. 2, in April 2020, to launch a brand new GRS series titled The Pianists. Fliter, the 2006 Gilmore Artist, also will perform concertos by Mozart and Schumann on the same program.

  • 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.

Tickets for Hadelich Plays Beethoven start at $18 adults and are available at the Grand Rapids Symphony box office, weekdays 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across the street from Calder Plaza). Call (616) 454-9451 x 4 to order by phone. (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 before the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at

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