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An evening of Gershwin songs and Dvorak’s “New World” symphony continues the KSO’s summer season

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Jacqueline Luttrell
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performing at the Gilmore Car Museum in 2021

George Gershwin’s An American in Paris kicks off the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s 7 pm concert on Saturday, July 16 at the Gilmore Car Museum. Famous for its trumpet solos and depiction of Parisian traffic, the KSO’s partnership with the museum will make the Gershwin classic even more authentic: KSO percussionists will honk horns provided by the museum at the crucial moments, says conductor Juilian Kuerti.

Courtesy photo
Soprano Rhea Olivacce

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Kuerti says he’s excited to feature a local singer with an international reputation: soprano Rhea Olivaccé. At home in both opera and folk songs, she'll perform some of Gershwin's most famous songs, including "Summertime."

The always revelatory Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" by Antonin Dvorak is the final work on the program. Kuerti talks about the years Dvorak spent in the United States and his association with Black American singer Harry T. Burleigh, who introduced Dvorak to spirituals and other traditions of African-American communities. Like An American in Paris, it's another famous example of a composer being influenced by new people and new places.

One last thing, says Kuerti. Although the concert begins at 7 pm, ticket holders can arrive as early as 5 pm to enjoy the museum's classic cars and exhibits. Concert details and tickets are available through the Kalamazoo Symphony website.

Cara Lieurance covers local music with live morning interviews, and produces WMUK's Let's Hear It weekday mornings at 10 am Mon-Fri, showcasing local interviews and performances. She also produces The Pure Drop, an hour of Celtic music, with musician Dave Marlatt.