Julian Kuerti

Heather Cowper, all creative commons / heatheronhertravels.com

Gustav Mahler famously said, "A symphony should be like the world. It must contain everything." As it turns out, most musicians crave the chance to return to Mahler's world-building music. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Julian Kuerti, the music director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, introduces listeners to Das Lied von der Erde, or "The Song of the Earth."


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.


Viktor Hartmann

Music director Julian Kuerti and soloist Leticia Moreno, a Spanish violinist, join Cara Lieurance to talk about how three different composers (and one orchestrator) put vivid, personal touches in their music to evoke images and stories. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra will open its 2019-2020 season with Gunther Schuller's 7 Studies on Themes of Paul Klee, Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2, and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, which was orchestrated by Maurice Ravel in 1933.

In the case of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2, Moreno says the composer was already thinking in the sound-world of his ballet Romeo & Juliet when he was writing this work. She puts herself in a mind-set that brings back her first memories of performing the concerto, as well as young Juliet's passion, when she plays this piece.

Kuerti made a choice to give the musicians of the KSO a chance to show their virtuosity in Schuller's specific, modernist music that can sometimes swing. He says Pictures is fascinating in its original piano version, but as an orchestral showpiece, it excels at extremes.

The concert begins at 8 pm on Friday, Sep 20, at Miller Auditorium. A Prelude talk begins at 7 pm, and the audience is invited to AfterWords, a post-concert visit with the maestro and soloist in the mezzanine.


Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra music director Julian Kuerti will conduct, and principal clarinetist Gyorgiy Borisov will be a featured soloist, on Saturday at 8 pm in Miller Auditorium. They recently joined Cara Lieurance to talk about the wonders of Mahler's Fifth Symphony and the exciting new clarinet concerto by Jonathan Leshnoff, written in 2015.


Tchaikovsky, a genius at writing from the heart, was also a master at controlling the sounds of the orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra music director Julian Kuerti's says of the beloved composer, whose Violin Concerto in D and Symphony No. 5 are featured on the next KSO program. The 2018 Stulberg Competition gold medalist Charlotte Marckx is excited to play her favorite concert with the orchestra. This performance was part of the prize she won at the competition last May. 

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, the music director and the soloist share stories about past performances and experiences, and look forward to Afterwords, the post-concert mixer with musicians and audience together. The concert begins at 8 pm in Miller Auditorium on Saturday, Jan 26.

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