Grand Rapids Symphony bids ‘adieu’ to longtime conductor

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John Varineau. Courtesy Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony’s first concert of 2022 will say “farewell” and “thank you” to John Varineau, who is leaving after 36 years of serving the organization.

The concert, “An American in Paris,” which will be conducted by Varineau, will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, and Saturday, Jan. 8, at DeVos Performance Hall, at 303 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids.

The show also will feature a pre-concert talk, Inside the Music, at 7 p.m. with guest artists, conductors and musicians that is free with the purchase of a concert ticket.

“An American in Paris” will host principal clarinet from New York Philharmonic, Anthony McGill, who was the first African American principal player for that orchestra. Varineau, who will be conducting his final two shows for the Grand Rapids Symphony, said McGill is “one of the greatest clarinetists in the universe.”

The symphony hopes to “pack the hall” for the concerts to show its appreciation for Varineau’s 36 years of service. Varineau retired at the end of May, marking the end of the symphony’s 2020-21 season. An “American in Paris” concertgoers will have the opportunity to give him a final round of applause upon his last time taking the podium.

More program information, including tickets, is available here.

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