Almost 13 years ago, the Grand Rapids Symphony (GRS) ventured beyond Michigan’s borders for the first time. The destination: Carnegie Hall, New York City’s iconic concert venue.

For his 75th birthday, Hammond B3 organ guru Dr. Lonnie Smith celebrated doing what he loves most. He performed at the Jazz Standard nightclub in New York with his musical “brothers,” guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Johnathan Blake. The live set of covers and Smith’s original compositions are featured on All in My Mind, Smith’s newest album and his second after returning to Blue Note Records in 2015.

Celebrating its sixth season, Muskegon’s Shoreline Symphony marked another milestone last fall when it performed in its new home, Frauenthal Theater.

It’s difficult to imagine where space-themed film soundtracks would be without “The Planets.” Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite has captivated audiences since its 1916 premiere, but also heavily inspired today’s masters of extraterrestrial music, John Williams and Hans Zimmer.

Over the past 11 years, Grand Valley State University has quietly fostered a bonafide hub of contemporary music.

Beautifully maintained historic homes have always drawn tourists to Marshall, but the community is fast-becoming a destination for the blues.

With five distinct voices, wind quintet ensembles have a universe of timbres and techniques at their disposal. Grouping the flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon means a lack of homogeneous sound that offers tonal and technical possibility for composers. Yet, wind quintet repertoire by recognizable composers like Mozart, Brahms and Strauss is scarce.

“Everyone loves Tchaikovsky,” declared a man in the DeVos Performance Hall mezzanine on Friday evening. Whether this statement is true or not, Grand Rapids Symphony (GRS) Music Director Marcelo Lehninger knows his audience. Better yet, their tastes align with his own.

Recurring Dream: Opera GR remembers MLK’s legacy

Written by Samara Napolitan | Thursday, 04 January 2018 11:16 |

One spring morning in 1968, a young preacher prepares to travel from Atlanta to Memphis to support striking sanitation workers.

Ava Ordman has been playing trombone for more than half a century. For 24 years, she performed as principal trombonist with the Grand Rapids Symphony, and during her tenure there she recorded Donald Erb’s Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra.

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