Grand Rapids Symphony Announces 2021-22 Season

The Grand Rapids Symphony will offer ten classical and six pops concerts to satisfy a wide breadth of musical appetites!

By: Sep. 21, 2021

Grand Rapids Symphony Announces 2021-22 Season

The Grand Rapids Symphony has announced their 2021-22 concert season of live music planned for in person audiences at DeVos Performance Hall beginning this fall!

"Our journey over the last 14 months has been one of innovation as we embraced ways to deliver hope and healing to the West Michigan community," said Mary Tuuk Kuras, President & CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony. "Hope and healing will give way to sounds of rejoicing with the return of shared live music experiences that touch us all. Bold strokes will accelerate the Symphony's drive to expanded relevance in all parts of the Western Michigan community."

The Grand Rapids Symphony will offer ten classical and six pops concerts to satisfy a wide breadth of musical appetites! The season will also include a very special Symphony with Soul concert featuring Tony and Grammy Award-winner and 2-time Oscar nominee Leslie Odom, Jr.

"As we set out to plan the 2021-22 season, two main goals became part of our driving force," said Music Director, Marcelo Lehninger. "The first was to keep our musicians, staff and audiences safe by progressively introducing audiences and performers back to DeVos Performance Hall. The second-one that I was quite happy about-was to create a lineup of concerts, soloists and composers who underline our commitment to celebrating diversity."

Lehninger carefully assembled the programming with a common theme in mind. Diversity will weave through every facet of each of the concerts, including the composers, the styles of music, and the instruments chosen for solos. The guest conductors, artists and composers will represent diversity in age, race, gender and disability, to celebrate and include the accomplishments of all populations.

As part of their Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series, they will present a moving evening entitled An American in Paris, where they bid a grateful farewell to Associate Conductor John Varineau. John will lead the orchestra on this program to cap off his amazing 36-year career with the Grand Rapids Symphony. The series wraps up with a true celebration of hope- including over 200 artists on stage-to present Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection."

They have invited some exceptional guest artists, sponsored by the Edith I. Blodgett Guest Artist Fund, including Adrian Anantawan, Anthony McGill, Joshua Roman, Kirill Gerstein, Pablo Sáinz- Villegas and Simone Porter, as well as Michigan based guest conductor Laura Jackson. They are honored to feature the talent of two of their own Grand Rapids Symphony musicians, Grace Kim and Leslie Van Becker.

There is also a lot to be excited about in this season's Fox Motors Pops Series. We'll go "Back to the '80s" where patrons can sing along to some of their favorite smash hits-then go further back to relive the 1960's with "Revolution: The Music of The Beatles. A Symphonic Experience."

Of course their Pops fans can still plan on cherished holiday staples such as the Metro Health- University of Michigan Health Holiday Pops and Cirque De Noël. In addition to all of these fun- filled evenings, they will present And The Award Goes To..., a program featuring original scores from Oscar-winning motion pictures. Finally, join them for a night at the movies to watch the much loved 1980's classic The Princess Bride-enjoy the film on the big screen while the orchestra performs the soundtrack live.


Season ticket renewals will open to current Grand Rapids Symphony subscribers on May 4, 2021. Subscribers interested in buying additional tickets for individual concerts, including the Symphony with Soul special event with Leslie Odom, Jr., will have the ability to purchase add- ons starting July 6th. New subscriptions as well as tickets to individual concerts will go on sale to the general public beginning on September 7th.

Subscribers may renew by phone or mail and can pay via check to avoid additional handling fees. To renew your subscription or purchase your tickets, please call the GRS Ticket Office at 616.454.9451 x 4, weekdays 9 am-5 pm, or mail your renewal to 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100. (Phone orders will be charged a $3 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)


Fox Motors Pops Series

Back to the '80s

Friday, September 17, 2021, 7:30 pm & Saturday, September 18, 2021, 7:30 pm Bob Bernhardt, Conductor

Join them on a journey Back to the '80s for an upbeat evening of #1 hits, including "The Power of Love," "Up Where We Belong," "Another One Bites the Dust," "Lost In Your Eyes," and "Addicted to Love". Enjoy choice selections from '80s icons such as Whitney Houston, Queen, Huey Lewis & The News, Debbie Gibson, Hall & Oats, Phil Collins and more!
Back to the '80s will feature all new arrangements by Grammy-winner Jeff Tyzik.

Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series: SEASON OPENING CONCERT Grand Rapids Symphony LIVE!

Friday, October 1, 2021, 8:00 pm & Saturday, October 2, 2021, 8:00 pm


Marcelo Lehninger, Conductor | Adrian Anantawan, Violin

Meet Adrian Anantawan as he performs Clarice Assad's dazzling Violin Concerto. The program opens with Jessie Montgomery's rhapsody on "The Star-Spangled Banner" woven together with "Lift Every Voice and Sing," and closes with Beethoven's Fourth Symphony-a testament to the power of joy in the face of adversity.

The Joy of Mozart

Friday, October 15, 2021, 8:00 pm & Saturday, October 16, 2021, 8:00 pm

MOZART Overture to Così fan tutte
MOZART Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola, and strings MOZART Exsultate, jubilate
MOZART Symphony No.38, "Prague"

Marcelo Lehninger, Conductor | Grace Kim, Violin Leslie Van Becker, Viola | Nola Richardson, Soprano

Nothing compares to the joy of experiencing live music-especially when it's Mozart! Hear members of your Grand Rapids Symphony's string section, Grace Kim and Leslie Van Becker, as they pair up to perform Mozart's Sinfonia concertante. Soprano Nola Richardson, winner of the 2019 Keller Award, will join them to sing the joyous Exsultate, jubilate!

Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series

Russian Celebration

Friday, October 29, 2021, 8:00 pm & Saturday, October 30, 2021, 8:00 pm

PROKOFIEV Classical Symphony
TCHAIKOVSKY Rococo Variations
GRAZNYA BACEWICZ Concerto for Strings TCHAIKOVSKY Suite No. 4, Op.61, "Mozartiana"

Laura Jackson, Conductor | Joshua Roman, Cello

Meet conductor Laura Jackson-she'll take you on a journey through the past with the music of eastern European composers. You'll hear works by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev inspired by the beloved classical styles of Mozart and Haydn. The evening will be complete with Bacewicz' Concerto for Strings-a lively throwback to the baroque era of Bach and Handel.

Sights & Sounds of Scotland

Friday, November 12, 2021, 8:00 pm & Saturday, November 13, 2021, 8:00 pm

MENDELSSOHN The Hebrides (Overture), "Fingal's Cave" BRUCH Scottish Fantasy
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No.3, "Scottish"

Marcelo Lehninger, Conductor | Simone Porter, Violin

Scotland's breathtaking mountains, wavy coastlines, green pastures and fabulous landscapes are known as some of the world's most picturesque. No passport needed for this new adventure with your Grand Rapids Symphony. As you hear Mendelssohn's "Fingal's Cave," your eyes will be filled with the spectacular scenes of Scotland captured by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson.

Fox Motors Pops Series

Metro Health-University of Michigan Health Holiday Pops

Friday, December 3, 2021, 7:30 pm & Saturday, December 4, 2021, 7:30 pm

Additional Performances:

Thursday, December 2, 2021, 7:00 pm Friday, December 3, 2021, 10:00 am Saturday, December 4, 2021, 2:00 pm Sunday, December 5, 2021, 2:00 pm

Bob Bernhardt, Conductor | Tony DeSare, Singer/Pianist

Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Pearl Shangkuan, Director
Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, Sean and Leah Ivory, Co-Directors

A Grand Rapids tradition continues! Their annual Holiday Pops will ring in the season with song. A treat for the whole family, and back by popular demand, singer and pianist Tony DeSare will join the orchestra. Enjoy your favorite holiday melodies and sing along on traditional carols with the voices of the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus. Of course, the festivities aren't complete without a special visitor from the North Pole!

The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus is sponsored by Mary and Patrick Kuras.

Cirque de Noël

Tuesday, December 21, 2021, 7:30 pm & Wednesday, December 22, 2021, 7:30 pm

Bob Bernhardt, Conductor With Cirque de la Symphonie

Satisfy all your senses at Cirque de Noël! Cirque de la Symphonie amazes audiences with the skills of acrobats, aerialists, contortionists, jugglers and strongmen! Experience this captivating evening of gravitational feats while enjoying exciting classical and seasonal musical selections performed by your Grand Rapids Symphony.

Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series

An American in Paris

Friday, January 7, 2022, 8:00 pm & Saturday, January 8, 2022, 8:00 pm

GERSHWIN Overture to An American in Paris William Bolcom Concerto for Clarinet DEBUSSY Première rhapsodie

John Varineau, Conductor | Anthony McGill, Clarinet | Elena Villalón, Soprano Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus Pearl Shangkuan, Director

With grateful hearts, they will bid farewell to their beloved John Varineau the only way they know how-with music! The program opens with the intoxicating drive of Gershwin's An American in Paris. Also enjoy Bolcom's Concerto for Clarinet, performed by Anthony McGill, principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic. Your Grand Rapids Symphony, Chorus and Soloists will close the evening with Poulenc's radiant Gloria.

Guest artists for this concert sponsored by in part by John and Valerie Van Baren. The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus is sponsored by Mary and Patrick Kuras.

Fox Motors Pops Series

And The Award Goes To...

Friday, January 21, 2022, 7:30 pm & Saturday, January 22, 2022, 7:30 pm

Bob Bernhardt, Conductor

Bringing Hollywood glamour to Grand Rapids! Enjoy the music of the silver screen from several decades of Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning films. Grammy-winning soprano Mela Dailey will mesmerize audiences with hits such as "Over the Rainbow" (The Wizard of Oz), "There's got to Be a Morning After" (The Poseidon Adventure), "Somewhere Out There" (An American Tail), and epic hit "My Heart Will Go On" (Titanic).

Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series

New World Symphony

Friday, February 4, 2022, 8:00 pm & Saturday, February 5, 2022, 8:00 pm

JAMES M. STEPHENSON Fanfare for Democracy COPLAND Fanfare for the Common Man COPLAND Suite from Our Town
NINA SHEKHAR World Premiere Commission DVOŘÁK Symphony No.9, "From the New World"

Marcelo Lehninger conductor

In celebrating the sounds of America, Aaron Copland is often the first composer to jump to mind-hear the familiar sounds of his Fanfare for the Common Man followed by his Suite from Our Town. Dvorák's beloved New World Symphony will bring to a close this program that includes a World Premiere work by up-and-coming Nina Shekhar, and the Michigan premiere of James M. Stephenson's Fanfare for Democracy.


Leslie Odom Jr.

Saturday, March 5, 2022, 8:00 pm

A star of stage and screen, Leslie Odom Jr., is best known for his breakout role as Aaron Burr in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton. You've seen the Tony and Grammy Award-winner and 2- time Oscar nominee on TV in Smash, and at the movies in Murder on the Orient Express, Red Tails, and Harriet. Now hear Odom, with your Grand Rapids Symphony, for a one-night- only performance of Broadway, pop, and jazz hits!

Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series

The Emperor: Beethoven's Piano Concertos

Friday, March 11, 2022, 8:00 pm & Saturday, March 12, 2022, 8:00 pm

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3 BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4

BEETHOVEN Overture to Coriolan BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 1 BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor"

Marcelo Lehninger, Conductor | Kirill Gerstein, Piano

You won't want to miss a note of this weekend dedicated to the greatest German composer of all time-Ludwig van Beethoven. A pianist himself, he wrote five concertos throughout his life. Each had its own character, that gradually moved through Classicism toward what would be named Romanticism in 19th Century Europe. Don't forget to reserve tickets for both evenings for the full Beethoven Piano Concertos experience!

Fox Motors Pops Series

Princess Bride in Concert

Friday, March 18, 2022, 7:30 pm & Saturday, March 19, 2022, 7:30 pm

John Varineau, Conductor

"As you wish..."
Fencing, fighting, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... this family- friendly movie has something for everyone! Add the power of a full symphony orchestra performing the music live - now you really have it all! Directed by Rob Reiner, The Princess
Bride features an all-star cast including Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage and André the Giant.
For the first time, composer Mark Knopfler's unforgettable score has been specially arranged for a symphony orchestra. Missing this concert experience would be inconceivable!
© The Princess Bride Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series

The Art of Classical Guitar

Friday, March 25, 2022, 8:00 pm & Saturday, March 26, 2022, 8:00 pm

GINASTERA Variaciones concertantes
VILLA-LOBOS Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra RODRIGO Fantasía para un gentilhombre
FALLA Suite No. 2 from The Three Cornered Hat

Marcelo Lehninger, Conductor | Pablo Sáinz Villegas, Guitar

One can say that the art of Classical guitar has its strongest roots in Spain, but its branches are all over South America. Welcome back virtuoso guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas performing a tour de force-Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos' Concerto for Guitar and Rodrigo's Fantasia for a Gentleman. Both works were composed for and inspired by classical guitar legend Andrés Segovia.

Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series

The Beauty of Spring

Friday, April 29, 2022, 8:00 pm & Saturday, April 30, 2022, 8:00 pm

FANNY MENDELSSOHN HENSEL Overture in C Major SCHUMANN Symphony No.1, "Spring"
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No.1

Marcelo Lehninger, Conductor | Sônia Goulart, Piano

"O turn, O turn and change your course-in the valley spring blooms forth!"
Inspired by the poetry of Adolf Böttger, unapologetically optimistic "Spring" Symphony reflects the Schumann's newlywed excitement. The evening begins with an orchestral work by Felix Mendelssohn's elder sister Fanny-the Overture in C. Finally, they welcome back Brazilian pianist Sônia Goulart (Marcelo's mother) for the dramatic Brahms Piano Concerto No.1.

Fox Motors Pops Series

Revolution: The Music of The Beatles. A Symphonic Experience

Friday, May 13, 2022, 7:30 pm & Saturday, May 14, 2022, 7:30 pm

Bob Bernhardt, Conductor

How can it be almost 60 years? Relive all your Beatles memories in this Grand Rapids Symphony performance led by Bob Bernhardt. This Beatles symphonic experience is transcribed and arranged from original multi-track Abby Road masters. A magical, musical tour with singers, projected images, and surprises from The Beatles archives.

Concert Sponsored by Varnum LLP. Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series

Mahler's Resurrection

Friday, May 20, 2022, 8:00 pm & Saturday, May 21, 2022, 8:00 pm

MAHLER Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection"

Marcelo Lehninger, Conductor | Jessica Rivera, Soprano | Susan Platts, Mezzo-Soprano Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Pearl Shangkuan, Director

Together again LIVE! doesn't quite cover it as they reunite your Grand Rapids Symphony, Chorus, soprano Jessica Rivera and Mezzo-Soprano Susan Platts under the baton of their Music Director Marcelo Lehninger for Mahler's monumental Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection." Listen in awe as more than 200 artists come together LIVE to celebrate the gift of music.

Concert Sponsored by Vibration Research.
The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus is sponsored by Mary and Patrick Kuras.

All classical concerts' guest artists are sponsored by the Edith I. Blodgett Guest Artist Fund. SpartanNash provides additional support for the 2021-22 season as the Orchestra Sponsor.


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