St. Cecilia hosts world premiere of double percussion concerto

Coffee Classics series continues in April
Christopher Swist and David Hall embrace after the premiere of Swist's "Double Concerto for Vibraphone and Marimba." Photo by Lisa Enos

On the morning of Friday, Feb. 24, music and coffee lovers alike were treated to a performance by conductor Marcelo Lehninger, Christopher Swist on the vibraphone and David Hall on marimba. The trio – along with the entire Grand Rapids Symphony – delighted the audience with an abbreviated version of their evening concert (buy tickets for the 8 p.m. show here) that included a percussion double concerto premiere!

In “Double Concerto for Vibraphone and Marimba,” composed by Swist, the difference in sound and technique between the two keyboard percussion instruments was on full display. Etherial sustained chords juxtaposed by rollicking scales and even some electric bass punctuated by a drum kit performance comprise this jazzy piece, which is separated into three distinct movements.

The premiere was performed at St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave NE, in Grand Rapids, a venue that, in his morning address to the Coffee Classics crowd, Swist said he prefers to the DeVos Performance Hall for type of musical number that “Double Concerto for Vibraphone and Marimba” is.

Throughout the year the Grand Rapids Symphony performs a handful of morning concerts at St. Cecilia Music Center. The series is known as Coffee Classics, during which the Grand Rapids Symphony performs a one-hour truncated version of its regularly scheduled evening program, made complete with coffee and donuts beforehand.

The next Coffee Classics program is scheduled for April 14, 2023, where “Chorale for Strings,” by composer Errollyn Wallen, Hayden’s Third Movement of Symphony No. 93, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “The Lark Ascending, Romance for Violin and Orchestra” and the Introduction and Allegro of Edward Elgar’s Op. 47 will be performed. For more information visit the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra website.




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