Andrew Koehler

The Kalamazoo Philharmonia ended its 2018-19 season on June 1 with a program called "Virtuosity," featuring Israeli-American cellist Amit Peled. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance and Philharmonia director Andrew Koehler, Peled shares personal and historic details about Bruch's soulful Kol Nidrei and Camille Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto in A minor, which stunned audiences in 1872 with its immediate intensity. Koehler also introduces a "towering masterpiece" which hasn't been performed in the region in years, to his knowledge: the Concerto for Orchestra by Witold Lutosławski.

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus, Kalamazoo Children's Chorus, three opera soloists and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra will unite to perform the improbably popular Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, on Sunday, April 28 at 4 pm in Chenery Auditorium. This 1937 cantata survived an early association with Nazi Germany to become a universal celebration of spring, life, love, and the inexorable turning of the wheel of fate, expressed in poetry by anonymous monks-in-training in the 12th and early 13th centuries.

Who was Carl Orff? Andrew Koehler, who prepared the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony and will conduct the performance, explains the way the composer's different interests coalesced into his biggest success. Kalamazoo Bach Festival artistic director Chris Ludwa explains the parts played by the soloists and chorus, and Darlene Sang says the children in the Treble Choir have worked hard on the different languages and will be amazed when the final rehearsals bring together over 125 people to perform the piece.

rchappo2002, via Flickr All Creative Commons

Conductor Andrew Koehler programmed two big works for his March 2 program with the Kalamazoo Philharmonia: the Symphony No. 1 by Johannes Brahms, and Alexander von Zemlinsky's Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid). Koehler tells Cara Lieurance the latter is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, and is a forgotten masterwork by a composer who was caught between old and new Viennese musical trends at the turn of the 20th century. The older Brahms, who worked on his first symphony for over 20 years, also found himself in a quandary: trying to embrace the new Romanticism while refusing to reject the legacy of Beethoven and other past masters.

The concert "A Tale Of Two Cities" will be held March 2 at 8 pm in the Dalton Theatre of the Light Fine Arts Center at Kalamazoo College. 

Peter Stenzel, via Flickr all creative commons

Paul Dukas' beloved The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Paul Hindemith's orchestral showpiece Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber both deal with transformation, according to Kalamazoo Junior Symphony conductor Andrew Koehler. In addition, the two featured soloists for the Feb 17 concert - oboist Mei Lanting, a senior at Kalamazoo Central, and trombonist Hana Beloglavec, a KJSO alumna and professor of trombone at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge - represent the development musicians can make in a short period of time between high school, studying at the college level, and becoming a professional. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Koehler and Beloglavec discuss the music on the program and the Beloglavec's path to becoming a professor and a member of the Seraph Brass

Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra

Conductor Andrew Koehler talks about the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony's recent trip to South Africa, and previews the music on the first concert of the new season, "Around the World in 80 Years." It will be held Sunday at 4 pm in Chenery Auditorium. 

Bronze medalist Maya Anjali Buchanan, a violinist who won the prize at the Stulberg International String Competition last May, will be featured as a soloist in Korngold's Violin Concerto.