Years ago, conductors were aloof, intimidating figures on their onstage platforms. But when Raymond Harvey became the music director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra 18 years ago, he knew his role required more and embraced the position as a community resource.

Cellos and violins have become instrumental in the creation of a safe harbor for the children of refugees who have relocated here from countries like Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.

Q&A - Peter Perez: President and CEO, Grand Rapids Symphony

Written by Samara Napolitan | Monday, 01 May 2017 09:00 |

Peter Perez has been a magnet for uncommon musical experiences his entire life. From conducting his youth festival orchestra as a youngster to requesting that his upstairs neighbor, Placido Domingo, “please rehearse louder,” such experiences have led him to his new role as the Grand Rapids Symphony CEO.

Colorful paintings line the halls of the K-12 building at the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology. Each work exists as an individual expression, made even more powerful in abundance.

A new children’s book, The Dance of the Violin, is based on superstar violinist Joshua Bell’s first competition at the age of 12.

Sara Daneshpour may be one of tomorrow’s stars. The Gilmore Rising Stars Series brings young and exceptional artists like the Iranian-American Daneshpour to Kalamazoo every year. First presented in 1999, the series features acclaimed pianists like Lang Lang, Jonathan Biss and Kirill Gerstein before they hit it big.

Holland Symphony Orchestra Music Director Johannes Müller-Stosch likes to give the audience something a little bit different to close out each concert series.

Piping Up: Cameron Carpenter explores the organ’s narrative

Written by Samara Napolitan | Wednesday, 29 March 2017 11:56 |

The word “spectacle” often follows Cameron Carpenter. Even when considering the sequined shoes, a $1.3 million traveling digital organ (that he designed himself) and his intellectual bravado, Carpenter insists those syllables should be rearranged to “skeptical” when referencing his work and persona. 

“Pictures at an Exhibition” is a musical tour through a collection of paintings, drawings and sketches, including scenes from a bustling marketplace, a witch from Slavic folklore, the catacombs of Paris, and more.

Music always is evolving as an art form. All composers, no matter how original or innovative, were at some point influenced by their predecessors. However, no classical composer has been more pioneering than Johann Sebastian Bach. 

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