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Grand Rapids Symphony's Live Concerts Will Air on Blue Lake Public Radio

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Grand Rapids Symphony's Live Concerts Will Air on Blue Lake Public Radio

In this time of social distancing, we need music now more than ever. While concert halls, movie theaters, restaurants and pubs are closed, the Grand Rapids Symphony is reaching into its archives to bring you concerts performed live in DeVos Performance Hall.

Listen to Blue Lake Public Radio every Sunday afternoon in May and hear your Grand Rapids Symphony in a past concert originally performed live and unedited, so it's almost like being there in the audience in DeVos Hall.

Tune in at 1 p.m. Sundays to Blue Lake Radio at WBLU-FM 88.9 in Grand Rapids or WBLV-FM 90.3 in Muskegon or go online to Blue Lake Radio here.

Over the next four Sundays, you can hear music by Gustav Mahler, Piotr Tchaikovsky, Johannes Brahms and Frederic Chopin among other great composers plus such eminent soloists as Grand Rapids' own Grammy winning mezzo soprano Michelle DeYoung; 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medal-winning cellist Andrei Ioniță; Grand Rapids Symphony concertmaster and violinist James Crawford; and GRS Music Director Marcelo Lehninger's mother, pianist Sônia Goulart.

Here's the schedule for Grand Rapids Symphony concerts on Blue Lake Public Radio in May:

Sun., May 3 - Marcelo Conducts Mahler

Originally performed April 12-13, 2019

MAHLER: Symphony No. 3

Marcelo Lehninger, conductor

Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano

Grand Rapids Symphony Women's Chorus

One of his most popular orchestral works of all, Mahler's sunny, Symphony No. 3 was named the "10th Greatest Symphony of All Time" in a poll of professional conductors for BBC Music Magazine. A lover of nature, Mahler spent summers in the countryside outside of Salzburg where he composed his Third Symphony in a tiny shed, built at the edge of a meadow, near the shore of a lake, with a view of the mountains beyond. Grammy Award-winning mezzo soprano Michelle DeYoung, who was born in Grand Rapids, is soloist in the work whose slow movement was arranged for a small orchestra and performed in New York City on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Sun., May 10 - Mother's Day with Maestro

Originally performed May 17-18, 2019

RAVEL: Mother Goose Suite

CHOPIN: Concerto No. 2 for Piano

BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2

Marcelo Lehninger, conductor

Sônia Goulart, piano

Marcelo Lehninger's mother, pianist Sônia Goulart, joins her son to celebrate Mother's Day 2019. One of the most prominent Brazilian artists of the past 30 years, Goulart makes her Grand Rapids debut performing Chopin's Piano Concerto in F minor, an idiomatic and highly personal work that only could have been composed by one of the greatest pianists of all time. Johannes Brahms spent nearly 20 years struggling to compose his First Symphony. With that behind him, the great German Romantic composer dashed off his Symphony No. 2 while on a summer vacation. A friend who was among the first to hear it before its premiere told Brahms, "It is all rippling streams, blue sky, sunshine and cool green shadows."

Sun. May 17 - All Tchaikovsky

Originally performed February 8, 2019

TCHAIKOVSKY: At Bedtime

TCHAIKOVSKY: Variations on a Rococo Theme for cello and orchestra, Op. 33

TCHAIKOVSKY: Nocturne for cello and orchestra

TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4

Marcelo Lehninger, conductor

Andrei Ioniță, cello

Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus

Tchaikovsky was one of the greatest composers of melody who ever lived. In his late 30s, the unabashed romantic truly hit his stride. In just four years from 1875 to 1879, Tchaikovsky premiered his First Piano Concerto, his Violin Concerto in D Major, his ballet Swan Lake, and his opera Eugene Onegin. Nestled among these are his deeply emotional, fateful Symphony No. 4 and his exquisite Variations on a Rococo Theme. Andrei Ioniță, winner of the Gold Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, is soloist in Tchaikovsky's only major work for cello and orchestra.

Sun. May 24 - Elgar's Enigma Variations

Originally performed March 1-2, 2019

SAWYERS: Valley of Vision (US Premiere)

WALTON: Concerto for Violin

ELGAR: Enigma Variations

David Lockington, conductor

James Crawford, violin

The British are coming, the British are coming, led by English-born conductor David Lockington.

Edward Elgar mysteriously composed each of his 14 Enigma Variations with a particular friend in mind. The exquisite "Nimrod" Variation, performed for the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, is heard at the end of the 2017 film Dunkirk. James Crawford, Concertmaster of the Grand Rapids Symphony, is soloist on William Walton's Concerto for Violin, written for and premiered by the great American virtuoso Jascha Heifetz. Grand Rapids Symphony has previously performed several works by Philip Sawyers, a childhood friend of Lockington's.

Sun. May 31 - Brahms' Symphony No. 4

Originally performed Oct. 24-25, 2014

PONCHIELLI: Il Convegno

BRAHMS: Symphony No. 4

Kynan Johns, guest conductor

David Shiffrin, clarinet

Suzanna Dennis Bratton, clarinet

Composed at the height of his career as a composer, Brahms' Symphony No. 4 was an immediate hit at its premiere in October 1885. Much like Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and Schubert's "Great" Symphony, Brahms' last symphony has achieved the immortality and enduring popularity of the final symphonies of those composers. The 19th century composer Amilcare Ponchielli is little remembered today apart his "Dance of the Hours" from his opera La Giaconda. But the prolific Italian composer wrote many works for orchestra and bands including Il Convegno, a virtuoso showpiece for two clarinetists, featuring dazzling technical brilliance from both guest clarinetist David Shiffrin and GRS principal clarinetist Suzy Bratton.


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