Thursday, 29 August 2019 09:00

Music Season Preview, 2019-2020

Written by  Abi Safago and Josh Veal
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Takacs Quartet, performing at Fontana Chamber Arts. Takacs Quartet, performing at Fontana Chamber Arts. Photo by Amanda Tipton

Battle Creek Symphony
The Music Center
450 North Ave., Battle Creek
yourmusiccenter.org, (269) 963-1911

The oldest orchestra in Michigan has an interesting assortment of concerts throughout the season, starting off with Tango!, featuring one of the best bandoneonists in the world and tango dancers to bring the music to life. Then Broadway superstar Doug LaBrecque returns to his hometown with the Battle Creek Community Chorus to perform some big vocal hits. You’re bound to feel a little out of this world with the The Planets, Gustav Holst’s interstellar masterpiece.

Tango!, Oct. 5
Doug LaBrecque in Concert, Nov. 9
A Gospel Christmas, Dec. 14
The Planets, Feb. 29
The Gilmore Concert, May 2

Fontana Chamber Arts
359 S. Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 200, Kalamazoo
fontanamusic.org, (269) 382-7774

The Crybaby Concerts kicks off Fontana’s season, providing a place for children under the age of five to hear music in a comfortable and flexible environment.

For the first full show in October, see two of the most prominent and well-known performers in classical music today: violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt. Enjoy three sonatas and selected pieces by Kurtag from this iconic duo.

Then, quartets and trios are making their way to Fontana, such as the JACK Quartet and the Takács Quartet. To finish up the season, there’s a jazz concert in collaboration with the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, with a “big reveal” coming sometime this year!

Crybaby Concerts, Oct. 19
Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt, Oct. 26
JACK Quartet with Colin Currie, Nov. 22
Anna Polonsky, David Shifrin, Peter Wiley, Nov. 22
Takács Quartet, Feb. 21
Jazz Collaboration Concert, April 2020

Franke Center for the Arts
214 E. Mansion St., Marshall
frankecenterforthearts.org, (269) 789-9677

Franke Center hosts jazz and blues throughout the year alongside its comedy shows, movie nights and children’s theater performances.

The Tony Monaco Trio, Sept. 21
Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers, Oct. 26
Laith Al-Saadi, Dec. 28
Winter Blues Fest, Feb. 1
Joe Louis Walker, March 28

Gilmore Keyboard Festival
359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo
thegilmore.org, (269) 342-1166

The Irving S. Gilmore Keyboard Festival brings the greatest pianists in the world to West Michigan, both through its bi-annual festival and with events throughout the year. Check out the Rising Stars series for amazing performances from young talent before heading to the extremely special festival in spring — we’ll have more details on that when the time draws near.

Rising Stars
Tiffany Poon, Sept. 22
Aliya Alsafa & Jeffrey Chin, Oct. 6
Lukas Geniusas, Oct. 20
Charles Richard-Hamelin, Nov. 10
Wei Luo, Jan. 19

Gilmore Keyboard Festival, April 22-May 10

Augustin Hadelich GRS Sept. 13 14 2019
Augustin Hadelich, Hadelich Plays Beethoven at Grand Rapids Symphony. Courtesy Photo

Grand Rapids Symphony
300 Ottawa Ave. NW Ste. 100, Grand Rapids
grsymphony.org, (616) 454-9451

Since 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony has brought in incredible performers from around the world to perform with our very own homegrown talent. This season, the symphony’s lineup is as huge as ever.

If you’re looking for an intro to hearing the symphony live, there are plenty of movies to see. Throw it back with movies like Home Alone and Ghostbusters, scored live by the orchestra. Or make the Harry Potter movies even more magical with the soundtrack performed right onstage as you watch the Boy Who Lived soar through the air and fight off Death Eaters.

What you really need to treat yourself to, however, is the symphony’s huge classical series, featuring music by composers from all over the world. Even if you think you’re not into classical music, seeing it live will make a believer out of you. The symphony will teach you all about the music you’re hearing, so you’re not going in totally blind — or rather, deaf. You can feel the music come to life when you hear it live, especially if you attend Mahler’s Resurrection on May 15-16.

To start off the classical series, enjoy Hadelich Plays Beethoven on Sept. 13-14. Violinist virtuoso Augustin Hadelich will be performing with the GRS, which is an experience in itself. Hadelich is a Grammy-winning performer who is known for incredibly powerful and intuitive performances. The symphony also is putting on plenty of pops shows, including some amazing Broadway Showstoppers, Queens of Soul and The Beatles Symphonic Experience. Quite simply, there’s something for everyone here.

Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series
Hadelich Plays Beethoven, Sept. 13-14
Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet, Oct. 4-5
Tristan & Isolde, Oct. 25-26
Prokofiev Triumphant, Nov. 15-16
Shostakovich & Mozart, Jan. 10-11
Schubert’s “Great,” Feb. 14-15
Beethoven’s Pastoral, March 6-7
Beethoven Celebration - The Five Piano Concertos, March 27-28
Concerto for Orchestra!, April 17-18
Mahler’s Resurrection, May 15-16

Fox Motors Pops
Queens of Soul, Sept. 27-29
Broadway Showstoppers, Nov. 8-10
Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops, Dec. 5-8
Hollywood Hits Up - Movie with Orchestra, Jan. 17-19
REVOLUTION - The Beatles Symphonic Experience, May 8-10

Gerber SymphonicBoom
Ghostbusters - Movie With Orchestra, Oct. 31
Home Alone in Concert, Nov. 12
Old National Bank Cirque de Noël, Dec. 18-19

PwC Great Eras
The Last Century, Oct. 11
The Glory of the Baroque, Jan. 31
Clara’s Circle of Friends, March 13
Mozart & Haydn, April 3

Specials
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Oct. 18-19
Symphonie Fantastique with Itzhak Perlman, Nov. 7
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Feb. 21-22
Symphony with Soul, Feb. 29
The Pianists with Ingrid Fliter, April 19

Holland Symphony Orchestra
96 W. 15th St. Ste. 201, Holland
hollandsymphony.org, (616) 796-7680

Holland Symphony explores the classics for most of its season, starting with Classics Up-Close, which uses the intimate space of First United Methodist Church to put the audience as near to the music as possible.

Then Rachel Barton Pine plugs her violin in to take the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto to another level. The Russian composer probably never foresaw someone like Pine absolutely “shredding” the strings on Allegro vivacissimo in D major, but that’s the joy of living in the 21st century. Later that day, Pine joins the symphony for a slightly more typical performance.

The rest of the season features classics like Gerswhin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Beethoven’s 9th and the annual holiday show.

Classics Up-Close, Sept. 6
Rachel Barton Pine: PLUGGED IN, Sept. 28
Classics I: Rachel Barton Pine Defying Boundaries, Sept. 28
Classics II: Rhapsody!, Oct. 26
Holiday Concert: Seasons Greetings, Dec. 14
Family Concert: Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, March 22
Classics III: Beethoven 9, April 18

Spanish Brass hope
Spanish Brass at Hope College Great Performance Series. Courtesy Photo

Hope College Great Performance Series
141 E. 12th St., Holland
hope.edu/gps, (616) 395-7860

Hope College’s Great Performance Series outlines its mission right in the name: bring great performers to the Holland community, providing the lakeside community with internationally renowned music, dance and theater.

The classically trained Ahn Trio starts off the season with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, performing incredibly inventive music and dance together. The Ahn sisters are world-renowned, even playing in the White House in 2011. Then, Cuarteto Latinoamericano and Korean classical guitarist Jiji shine the spotlight on Latin American music, combining the beauty and energy of all kinds of strings in a highly unique performance.

Female a cappella quintet Nobuntu brings the incredible power of Zimbabwean music, Afro-jazz and gospel to Hope. It’s a rich, vibrant performance focused on amazing voices, with a little percussion and dance thrown in. Then, Pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and percussionist Pedrito Martinez come together to blaze new trails in Cuban jazz.

Finally, Spanish Brass has remained one of the most acclaimed and relevant brass ensembles in the world for more than 30 years. The brass quintet receives rave reviews wherever they go.

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and the Ahn Trio, Sept. 26-27
Cuarteto Latinoamericano with Guitarist Jiji, Oct. 17
Nobuntu, Nov. 1
Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez Duo, Jan. 24
Spanish Brass, March 27

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
359 Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 100, Kalamazoo
kalamazoosymphony.com, (269) 349- 7759

Kalamazoo’s season is big and bold, with performances ranging from Star Wars in concert to Mahler’s masterpieces. Throughout the season, you have a couple chances to see the symphony in a totally different setting, performing in smaller groups with shorter songs at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe for the Pint-Sized series. Classics Uncorked is similar, featuring amazing music with wine pairings, dessert, coffee and table seating at the Epic Center. Then there are the big shows, such as Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, featuring acclaimed violinist Leticia Moreno. Another special guest, pianist Kevin Cole, joins the symphony for Gershwin’s two Rhapsodies.

Later in the season, Beethoven, Bach, Mahler and Ravel all get some time in the spotlight too, featuring music from the West and East alike. Visit any show for the chance to see amazing guest soloists or even a chorus perform with the symphony.The symphony reconvenes for the summer, officially closing out the season with Sounds of Kalamazoo, featuring local artists like The Red Sea Pedestrians, Dacia Bridges Project and Nashon Holloway performing alongside the orchestra.

Fall Craft Music: Pint-Sized KSO, Sept. 11
MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition, Sept. 20
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Oct. 11
Icarus at the Edge of Time, Oct. 20
Gershwin: Rhapsodies, Oct. 26
Classics Uncorked, Nov. 8-9
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”, Nov. 23
Holiday Music: Sounds of the Season, Dec. 13
“Spring” Craft Music: Pint-Sized KSO, Jan. 15
How to Train Your Dragons in concert, Jan. 25
Carnival of the Animals, Feb. 2
Valentine’s Music: Sounds of Love, Feb. 14
Classics Uncorked, Feb. 21-22
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), March 7
Bach: St. Matthew Passion, April 3
E.T.- The Extra Terrestrial, April 17
RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé, May 22
Summer Celebration: Sounds of Kalamazoo, June 20

EmmetCohen byJohnAbbott st cecilia
Emmet Cohen at St. Cecilia Music Center. Photo by John Abbott

St. Cecilia Music Center
24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
scmc-online.org, (616) 459-2224

St. Cecilia Music Center’s spans the spectrum with impressive chamber, jazz and folk shows all year.

First up, Lee Ann Womack is ahead of her time. Across her 20-plus-year career, her style has spanned country pop, traditional country and Americana, and her show at St. Cecilia is sure to have it all. You might remember her hit 2000 single, I Hope You Dance. Later that month, Judy Collins is an iconic singer/songwriter who’s written folk, pop, rock and roll, show tunes — really just about any genre you can think of. She’s also collaborated with heavy hitters like Joni Mitchell and Stephen Sondheim. Later in the folk series comes Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s daughter who’s a prolific, renowned musician in her own right; mandolinist and singer Chris Thile of The Punch Brothers, who took over A Prairie Home Companion; and Raul Midón, an “eclectic adventurist” and one-man jazz/folk band.

Speaking of jazz, this season features the spectacular pianist Fred Hersch with guitarist Julian Lage, followed by the Emmet Cohen Trio. Cohen’s Master Legacy Series brings in some of the best jazz musicians in the world to collaborate with him and his trio.

Then Brazilian singer Luciana Souza arrives. She recorded hundreds — literally — of commercial jingles in her early life and has since become an amazing jazz singer, performing with orchestras and jazz musicians around the world. Finally, the Clayton Brothers Quintet is fueled by passion, creativity and the bond of siblings.

As for Chamber music, the series begins with a program of music from Great Innovators, such as Beethoven’s Clarinet Trio, which was the first of its kind, and Smetana’s Piano Trio, the first major chamber work from the Bohemian region. Then comes French Enchantment, diving deep into the elegant, graceful, witty music of France. Lastly, From Prague to Vienna closes out the season with music following a line of mentors. Brahms discovered Dvořák, who then taught Suk, and all three of them changed history with their music.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Great Innovators, Nov. 21
French Enchantment, Jan. 23
From Prague to Vienna, April 30

Spectacular Jazz
Fred Hersch with Julian Lage, Oct. 17
The Emmet Cohen Trio feat. Benny Golson, Jan. 16
Luciana Souza, March 5
The Clayton Brothers Quintet, April 16

Folk Acoustic Cafe
Lee Ann Womack, Oct. 3
Judy Collins, Oct. 20
Rosanne Cash, Feb. 19
Chris Thile, Feb. 25
Raul Midón, Feb. 27

West Michigan Symphony
360 W. Western Ave. Ste. 200, Muskegon
westmichigansymphony.org, (231) 726-3231

West Michigan Symphony’s seasons are always interesting, including shows like Beethoven & Blue Jeans, featuring young star pianist Charlie Albright. We’re not sure yet where the blue jeans come in, so you’ll have to go to find out.

First, the Russians takeover with the symphony performing works by master composers like Mussorgsky, Ravel and Tchaikovsky. Then, a couple pops shows split up the season. Sounds of the Season is always a holiday crowd favorite, followed by guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo performing jaw-dropping six-string feats with the orchestra.

After that is another young virtuoso, the 17-year-old Sujari Britt on cello performing works by Florence Price, Saint-Saens and William Grant Still, who’s considered “the Dean of African-American composers.” Then it’s back to pops with Byron Stripling on trumpet, bringing Mardi Gras to Muskegon, followed by a return to the master works.

Violinist Chee Yun takes a trip around the sun with both Vivalid’s Four Seasons and Piazzaolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, which was inspired by Vivaldi’s work centuries later. Finally, Voices of Resurrection closes the season out with Mahler’s massive Symphony No. 2, which requires a choir so big, it takes two chamber choirs — Grand Rapids’ and Muskegon’s — to make it all happen. The symphony actually will spill out into the audience, so you know this is going to be a powerful finale.

All Russian Season Opening, Sept. 27
Beethoven and Blue Jeans, Nov. 8
Sounds of the Season, Dec. 13-14
Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo, Jan. 31
Introducing Sujari Britt, March 13
Mardi Gras in Muskegon, April 17
Four Seasons, Two Hemispheres, May 15
Voices of Resurrection, June 5

Imani Winds
Imani Winds at Wharton Center for Performing Arts. Courtesy Photo

Wharton Center for Performing Arts
750 E. Shaw Ln., East Lansing
whartoncenter.com

The Wharton Center brings all kinds of amazing musicians to Lansing, from vocal soloists to pianists, composers, quintets and even rap violinists. Check out the full lineup below and keep an eye out in Revue for previews and interviews throughout the year.

Michael Feinstein and Storm Large, Oct. 12
Black Violin, Oct. 16
Emerson String Quartet, Oct. 18
Keiko Matsui, Oct. 25
Imani Winds, Nov. 8
Jonathan Biss Plays Beethoven, Jan. 8-10
Kenny Barron Trio & Sean Jones Quartet, Jan. 30
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Feb. 24
DRUM TAO 2020, March 13

Lansing Symphony Orchestra
An Evening with Audra McDonald, Sep. 21
Mozart and Beyond, Oct. 11
Mahler Symphony No. 2, Nov. 2
Holiday Pops, Dec. 22
An American in Paris, Jan. 18
Night at the Movies, Feb. 15
The Music of ABBA, March 28
Brahms Symphony No. 2, May 8

Miller Auditorium
2200 Auditorium Dr., Kalamazoo
millerauditorium.com

Among big Broadway shows and tons of other special events, Miller Auditorium hosts fun classical and jazz musicians throughout the year.

The Piano Guys, Nov. 20
The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston, Feb. 5
Piano Battle, Feb. 7
DRUM TAO 2020, March 1

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