Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!

Another great start to a new fresh season!

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!
Courtesy of Grand Rapids Symphony

I was fortunate enough to kick off another season with the Grand Rapids Symphony. The 2022-2023 season marked the anniversary season conducted by Marcelo Lehninger, the symphony presented Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Brunch Violin Concerto No. 1 with special guest Sarah Chang. They also presented the world premiere of Immortal Beloved, a piece composed by Grand Rapids Symphony musician oboist Alexander L. Miller.

The Grand Rapids Symphony is fortunate enough to have a ready and willing composer within the symphony. Alexander Miller joined the Grand Rapids Symphony as an Assistant Principal Oboe in 1992. Immortal Beloved was originally scheduled to premiere back in September 2020, however, due to Covid, it didn't happen. This premier of the piece lived up to that emotion along with the Symphony Chorus, in a one-movement, contemporary piece, written in 2020 and roughly a 16-minute duration.

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!
Courtesy of Grand Rapids Symphony

Alexander gave this as an introduction to the piece: "In 1812, Beethoven's affair with an unnamed woman yielded to history one of the great love letters of all time, otherwise known as the Immortal Beloved letter. Written over the course of 2 days, it is five double-sided pages, handwritten with the pencil the woman had given him. The Beethoven scholar Manyard Solomon describes the letter as 'An uncontrolled outburst of passionate feeling exalted in tone, confused in thought and ridden with conflicting emotions.' In other words what we have all felt at one point or another. The memory of falling madly in love for the first time and (probably) having our hearts broken is something to which everyone can relate. This deeply personal content of the letter makes it, paradoxically universal."

Sarah is one of those string players that you couldn't take your eyes off the whole time she was on stage. She was able to capture the emotion of the piece in her facial expressions both when she was playing and in between. It always impresses me when someone can memorize a technical piece of instrumental music, even more so when you aren't playing the whole thing, and come in right each time.

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!
Courtesy of Grand Rapids Symphony

After the intermission, the Symphony presented Beethoven's 5th Symphony in its fullness. The 8-note opening is arguably one of the most well-known 8 consecutive notes known in music worldwide. Symphony No. 5 in C minor, was written between 1804 and 1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music and one of the most frequently played symphonies. First performed in 1808, it has appeared frequently in multiple genres of music coverers, as well as in multiple films and television, including Pink Panther, and Judge Judy just to name a few. The piece contains 4 movements: Allegro con brio (C minor), Andante con moto (A♭ major), Scherzo: Allegro (C minor), and Allegro - Presto (C major) with an impressive run time of around 30-40 minutes, this piece is truly a showcase for a symphony and the section of strings. I am a huge fan of the string section and couldn't wait to hear this piece live and in person. It truly lived up to the expectation, and if you ever get the chance to see it live it is a must!

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!
Courtesy of Grand Rapids Symphony

Coming up the Symphony has other great events and series with guests such as Timothy McAllister: The Saxophone Virtuoso Oct 21-22, Organ Symphony + Cameron Carpenter Nov 4-5 in the Classical series, and The Pianists Series with Natasha Paremski Oct 2. The Pop Series kicks off with Dancing in the Street: Music of Motown Sept 30-Oct 1, The Polar Express™ In Concert Nov 18-20, University of Michigan Health-West Holiday Pops Dec 1-4, Pops Knockouts with Caroline Campbell Jan 20-21.

They also have some special events not to be missed this season. Winner of multiple Dove awards and known for her Gospel music albums, Soprano Sandi Patty is returning to West Michigan after 2 years, to bring her Christmas Blessings Tour to DeVos performing along with the Symphony. If you are a Harry Potter fan mark these dates on your calendar as you'll want to be present for both parts, presented on separate nights: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ Part 1 in Concert will be presented Jan 27-28, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ Part 2 in Concert will be presented Jan 28-29.

To purchase tickets and for a complete list of shows go to: grsymphony.org/concerts-and-tickets.

Connect with Grand Rapids Symphony on Twitter at @grsymphony, on Facebook at facebook.com/grsymphony, and on Instagram at instagram.com/grsymphony



Birmingham Village Players Receives A $21K Grant From the Michigan Arts and Culture C Photo
Birmingham Village Players (BVP) has been awarded a grant of $21,000 from the State of Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC).

Photos: First Look At A CHRISTMAS STORY at The Encore Musical Theatre Company, Directed By Photo
Get a first look at A Christmas Story: The Musical, which opened last week at The Encore Musical Theatre Company in Dexter, Michigan.

THIS IS YOUR ELEGANT NIGHTMARE–THE WORK OF DARREN SHELTON Comes to Disco Walls This  Photo
'This Is Your Elegant Nightmare' features selected works created by Darren Shelton from 2015-2022, curated by the artist. An opening reception will take place on December 10th from 5pm until 9pm at Disco Walls (2600 Belmont, Hamtramck) and will feature a live poetic performance by Kaitlyn Valor Bourque at 7pm.

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL is Coming to Wharton Center in December Photo
PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time, is coming to Wharton Center Tuesday, December 13 — Sunday, December 18, 2022! 


From This Author - Brian Hilbrand

Brian Hilbrand's interest in musicals started when we watched Sound of Music, and his mom and her parents were musical.  He started school musicals in lower el... (read more about this author)


Interview: Ron Jenkins and Avery Mills of CINDERELLA at Lionheart ProductionsInterview: Ron Jenkins and Avery Mills of CINDERELLA at Lionheart Productions
October 30, 2022

Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella opens at the Grant Fine Arts Center this week, bringing back Lion Heart Productions’ first large-cast musical since Mamma Mia! In 2019.  The show is running 2 weekends, through November 12th, and is the new Broadway adaptation of the classic musical. This contemporary take on the classic tale features Rodgers & Hammerstein's most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It's Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago”.   BroadwayWorld Michigan had a chance to speak with Director Ron Jenkins and one of the show's stars, Avery Mills playing Ella, about the delightful holiday comedy. Enjoy our chat and their fun answers to get you excited for the performance tonight and in the coming weeks!

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved!
September 28, 2022

What did our critic think of: Grand Rapids Symphony Season Opens With Beethovens-Fifth, Sarah Change, and The World Premier of Immortal Beloved! I was fortunate enough to kick off another season with the Grand Rapids Symphony. The 2022-2023 season marked the anniversary season conducted by Marcelo Lehninger, the symphony presented Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Brunch Violin Concerto No. 1 with special guest Sarah Chang.  They also presented the world premiere of Immortal Beloved, a piece composed by Grand Rapids Symphony musician oboist Alexander L. Miller.

BWW Review: MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL at Lion Heart ProductionsBWW Review: MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL at Lion Heart Productions
May 7, 2022

Lion Heart Production’s Motherhood The Musical, written by Sue Fabisch is a musical about how having a baby is just the beginning and how motherhood is for life. Motherhood is a funny, yet loving look at being a mom at any age. It’s climbing the emotional mountain only to find that there’s laundry at the top. Making its Grant stage debut, Motherhood The Musical is playing at the Grant Public Schools Fine Arts Center in Grant, Michigan Mothers Day weekend Friday, May 6th, and Saturday, May 7th

BWW Interview: Theresa  Thomas of ELEVEN MONTHS OF NUCLEAR SUMMER at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center At University Of Notre DameBWW Interview: Theresa Thomas of ELEVEN MONTHS OF NUCLEAR SUMMER at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center At University Of Notre Dame
March 29, 2022

Eleven Months of Nuclear Summer is running from April 1st through April 3rd at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of The University of Notre Dame. In an original play written by Sophie McIntosh, the staff is just starting to settle into their roles at Camp Aster when an unfortunately-timed nuclear apocalypse derails their summer plans and strands them in the Maine wilderness. As the months wear on and the hope of rescue grows slimmer, camp director Dawn and her team of young employees must fight for survival while navigating interpersonal relationships, decision-making responsibilities, and disaster after endless disaster. This is the world premiere of this show and it is an all-women's cast featuring original music and underscores. We had a chance to interview one of the cast members from the show and here’s what she shared with us.

BWW Interview: Janie Minchella and Alan Ellias of 'LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE'  at St. Dunstan's At Cranbrook Playhouse.BWW Interview: Janie Minchella and Alan Ellias of 'LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE' at St. Dunstan's At Cranbrook Playhouse.
March 16, 2022

'Love, Loss, and What I Wore'  is playing through March 18th- April 2nd at St. Dunstan’s at Cranbrook Playhouse.  Written by Nora and Delia Ephron of You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, this play is like a heart-to-heart with a dear friend over coffee (or wine). Funny. Poignant. Heartfelt. Profound. Perfect for a Girls Night Out.  Broadway World Detroit had a chance to talk recently to one of the actresses from the show and the director about their production and why you will not want to miss this show 2 years after it was originally scheduled and what it means to them now.