Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

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 Kids In Tune

The Kalamazoo Symphony and Kalamazoo Public Schools' after-school music program, Kalamazoo Kids in Tune continues beyond the school year, offering six weeks of summer programming. Artistic director Ben Gudbrandson says it's a time when the skills they built might otherwise get rusty, and just as importantly, kids benefit from the familiar routine of rehearsal and performing. Craig Freeman, a leading brass instructor for KKIT, added a jazz unit to the program this summer, and alongside the orchestra and its chamber ensembles, Kalamazoo Kids in Tune will give two public concerts this week.

On Tuesday, July 16, the orchestra will play at the Portage Public Library at 1 pm - 1:30 pm. On Thursday, July 18, they'll be downtown on the Kalamazoo Mall from 11:45 - 12:15 pm. 


J.B. Millot

Violinist Corey Cerovsek will perform the Violin Concerto No. 2 by Bela Bartok in the season-ending concert by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra on Friday, May 17 at 8 pm in Miller Auditorium. A nomadic musician from Vancouver, British Columbia who began performing professionally as a child, Cerovsek also maintains an equal interest in mathematics, and recently launched a start-up company in the field of medical technology. For this concert, Cerovsek was up to the challenge of re-learning the Bartok concerto, a piece he has performed 20 years before, in a short period of time as a replacement for the scheduled soloist. 

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra will also perform Stravinsky's 1913 ballet The Rite of Spring. It's a work that completely transformed orchestral playing, according to assistant conductor Daniel Brier. He points to the fact that the original performance required 17 orchestral rehearsals to learn the piece, and today, orchestras routinely learn it in four. As for conductors, Brier says that anyone who masters the Rite of Spring will find conducting nearly any other work a little easier.


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.


C. Lieurance

On a late Tuesday afternoon in February, Cara Lieurance visited Milwood Magnet School, where Kalamazoo Kids in Tune is held four days a week. Young people, in grades 3 through 11, were lugging their instruments down the hall into the band room, finding their seats in what has been called the youngest orchestra in Michigan.

But for the last few weeks, the numbers have skewed older. Many of the kids had their parents with them. Not just to sit and observe; they are playing instruments too, some for the first time, preparing for a public performance at the Epic Center in dowtown Kalamazoo on Mar 1 at 5:30 pm. 

In this audio postcard of a Families In Tune rehearsal, you'll hear the voices of Kids in Tune artistic director Ben Gudbrandson; Duncan Waling and Tobin Waling; Meghan Cook; Jeannie and Natalie Glas, and Heather and Ariana McCord. Kids in Tune has around 80 student participants and is a collaboration between the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Public Schools, and Communities In Schools. 


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