classical music

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra resident conductor Daniel Brier and Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus director Chris Ludwa join Cara Lieurance to preview Sounds of the Season, the symphony's annual holiday concert, which will be held at 8 pm Friday, Dec 13 at Chenery Auditorium. Brier and Ludwa talk about their two groups teaming up to perform part 1 of Johann Sebastian Bach's  Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, a joyous work which includes three soloists, chorus, and orchestra. 

After the oratorio, the program becomes a variety pack of holiday music and special guests, including the 2019 KSO Youth Soloist competition winner, Alyssa Waswick. The alto saxophonist will be featured in a movement of Glazunov's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Strings. The Kalamazoo Children's Chorus will join the orchestra for carols like Little Drummer Boy and maestro Kuerti's own arrangement of Coventry Carol. 


courtesy of the Kalamazoo Singers

The Kalamazoo Singers will begin their season with "A Merry Mosaic," at 5 pm on Saturday, Dec 14 at First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, led by their music director, Rick Phelps. Cara Lieurance spoke to Phelps about the pieces on the program, which features works that combine voices, brass, and piano, as well as a personal selection written by a composer friend, Gerald Custer. Another highlight is a setting of the Magnificat by modern choral composer Arvo Part, who created a new movement of choral minimalism based on bell tones and silence.


Ludwig van Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony is a testament to hope and personal expression, yet he wrote it at the worst time of the composer's life, says conductor Julian Kuerti, who will conduct the symphony at 8 pm on Saturday, Nov 23 in Chenery Auditorium. Joining Kuerti in an interview with Cara Lieurance are soloists Jun-Ching Lin, the KSO's principal violinist/concertmaster, and Igor Cetkovic, KSO principal cellist, who will perform the Concerto for Violin and Cello, "Double," by Johannes Brahms. Cetkovic says their solo parts seem equal to each other, like two friends having a conversation. The third work on the program, Oliver Knussen's Music for a Puppet Court, is a piece that will delight puzzle lovers - a reference that will be explained by Kuerti during the concert.


courtesy of the artist

Weiyin Chen, a Juilliard-trained pianist and longtime friend of conductor Andrew Koehler, makes her third appearance with the Kalamazoo Philharmonia at 7:30 pm Saturday, Nov 16 by giving her first performance of Tchaikovsky's monumental Piano Concerto No. 1 . Chen and Koehler join Cara Lieurance to preview the concert and highlight the other works on the program: Overture by Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz and Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations.


Gábor Bence Molnár

At 4 pm on Sunday, Nov 10 at Chenery Auditorium, the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra will open its season with four works which conductor Andrew Koehler sums up as 'Shifting Landscapes.' They are Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave), which depicts a remote place in Scotland; The Accursed Huntsman, Cesar Franck's mythic tone poem; an extremely rare piece by Z. Noskowski inspired by a mountain lake in Poland, and Poems of the Sea by Ernst Bloch. 


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