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Symphony Opens Summer Season With Special Guest Branford Marsalis

Roger Thomas Photography

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra'ssummer season at the Gilmore Car Museum begins at 8 pm Saturday with a concert featuring Branford Marsalis, one of the world's most famous saxophonists. (Note: front-section seating is sold out; lawn passes are still available). Music director Julian Kuerti says Marsalis will perform Escapades by John Williams. It's a perfect balance of jazz and classical influences, based on the film Catch Me If You Can. Marsalis will also play the Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone by Claude Debussy. The concert, which lands on Juneteenth, will also include a setting of John Rosamund Johnson's "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing." 

Concertmaster Jun-Ching Lin says he appreciates being able to spend extra time in rehearsal to dig into the orchestra's biggest showpiece of the night: Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, which is renowned for its violin solos. Also included in the conversation with Cara Lieurance is executive director Jessical Mallow Gulley, who acknowledges having to plan a 100th season at least three times during the difficult months of the pandemic, but appreciates all she and the directors and staff have learned to make the organization better.

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Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.
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