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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

Concert preview: "The Glory and the Grandeur," by the Battle Creek Symphony

Percussionist Briton-René Collins
James Hardy Photography LLC
Percussionist Briton-René Collins

The concert at 7:30 pm on Saturday, Nov 4 by the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra is called "The Glory and the Grandeur," after a percussion concerto by Michigan-born Russell Peck. Three soloists will perform in front of the orchestra on over 100 percussion instruments in the joyous, high-energy piece. One of them is award-winning 25-year-old New York-based Britton-René Collins, who joined Cara Lieurance and Battle Creek Symphony music director Anne Harrigan to talk about her path to becoming a classical percussionist and her passion for teaching young people, most recently at a program in New Mexico with Navaho participants.

Harrigan says that for the symphony's 125th season, she wanted to program music written after its 1898 founding, opening with Aaron Copland's 1942 Fanfare for the Common Man. She also asked the musicians what they would like to play. One of the players sent her a playlist of music by women composers, including Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz, whose Overture for Orchestra was written under extreme circumstances during WWII. It's followed by Mahler's Adagietto from the Symphony No. 5. With Ravel's La Valse and the finale from Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 rounding out the program, Harrigan says this is a concert that will wow first-time concertgoers and change minds about what a symphonic concert can deliver.

Tickets and more information are available at the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra website.

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.