The Grand Rapids Symphony unveiled its 2018-2019 season yesterday, describing the upcoming performances as promoting diversity, encouraging equity and nurturing inclusivity through music.
The season includes classical favorites, classic pop/rock music, family-friendly entertainment, and cinematic special events including live music with blockbuster movies.
World-class stars include pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who recently appeared with the New York Philharmonic, coming to Grand Rapids in October for a concert that also features Rimsky-Korsakov’s popular Scheherazade.
Music director Marcelo Lehninger call Thibaudet “one of our leading pianists of today,” and said his performance will be a “can’t miss” event.
The Grand Rapids Symphony’s 89th season opens with violinist Karen Gomyo performing Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Violin for concerts in September including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, featured prominently in the climactic scene in the 2010 film “The King’s Speech” during which King George VI overcomes his speech impediment to announce on radio that the United Kingdom was at war with Nazi Germany.
Great orchestra works such as Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony No. 8, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 will be a part of the Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series.
American pianist George Li will join the orchestra with one of the most popular piano concertos of all time, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Pianist Van Cliburn’s 1958 recording of that concerto for RCA was the first classical recording in history to sell more than 1 million copies.
In April, three-time Grammy Award winner Michelle DeYoung joins the Grand Rapids Symphony for Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. “She’s one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of today,” Lehninger said. “And she’s from Grand Rapids.”
Join the Grand Rapids Pops for pop/rock music by Sir Paul McCartney in September, for ragtime, blues and jazz featuring a return visit by trumpeter Byron Stripling in January 2019, and for well-known music from films from the Star Trek and James Bond franchises in a show titled Sci-Fi and Superheroes in May 2019, all led by principal pops conductor Bob Bernhardt.
Blockbuster films play a big role in the 2018-19 season for both the Fox Motors Pops and Gerber SymphonicBoom series with Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in October, with “Home Alone” starring Macaulay Culkin in December, and with Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” in March, all led by associate conductor John Varineau.
Bob Bernhardt returns in December for the Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops featuring the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus.
The Gerber SymphonicBoom Series welcomes Cirque de la Symphonie back to town. The company of acrobats, jugglers, contortionists and aerial artists return to DeVos Hall for the 10th annual Old National Bank Cirque de Noël.
The Christmas season will also see the return of “The Snowman,” a screening of the classic holiday animated special with Howard Blake’s musical score played live for the Grand Rapids Symphony’s DTE Energy Foundation Family Series.
The biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival, founded in 1997 by the late Linn Maxwell Keller, will return in mid-March 2019 with a week’s worth of concerts celebrating the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries.
The season ends in May 2019 with a “Mother’s Day with the Maestro” program featuring Lehninger’s mother, pianist Sônia Goulart, as soloist with Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
View the full season announcement at Grand Rapids Symphony. The lineup for the 2018 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops will be unveiled in mid-March.
Season subscriptions go on sale today for all subscription concerts in the Grand Rapids Symphony’s fall, winter and spring seasons. Single tickets will be available beginning July 31.