Music Director Emeritus Raymond Harvey will lead the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in a program of Weber, Beethoven and Stravinsky at 7:30 pm on Friday, Nov 19 at Miller Auditorium. It marks the first time he's returned to conduct the orchestra since his move to the University of Houston in 2017, where he directs opera productions at the Moores School of Music.
Harvey tells Cara Lieurance that he had been scheduled to return to conduct the KSO in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way. It has been a comfortable reunion. The orchestra "knows me," says Harvey, and they're playing works he's programmed before: Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite .
Houston is a culturally rich city that offers great food and music, says Harvey, but it can be hard to explore all of it while also preparing and conducting four operas a year at the University of Houston. He revisits some of the highlights of his 18-year tenure with the KSO, including The World Of... series and presenting semi-staged operas every two years. He offer his personal take on the works on the Nov 19 program, calling the finale of the Beethoven a bit like "a dervish," and pointing out Stravinsky's early genius for orchestration in The Firebird.