Symphony welcomes spring with weekend concert

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Grand Rapids Symphony Conductor Marcelo Lehninger plays the piano with his mother, Sônia Goulart. Courtesy Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony is fighting the extended winter blues with a spring-themed performance featuring a mother-son duo.

The Grand Rapids Symphony will perform “The Beauty of Spring” concert  at 8 p.m. Friday, April 29, at DeVos Performance Hall, at 303 Monroe Ave. NW in downtown Grand Rapids. 

The concert will be conducted by Marcelo Lehninger and will feature his mother, Sônia Goulart, as guest pianist.  

The symphony will begin the evening with Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s “Overture in C Major.” The concert will continue with “Spring” (Schumann’s Symphony No. 1) and end with Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1.

The concert aims to bring the warmth and feel of spring to Grand Rapids despite the gloomy forecast for this weekend.

Lehninger said it has been a dream to play Brahms on stage with his mother. He credited her for his dedication to music, having first watched her perform Brahms at the age of 3. In his teenage years, he became frustrated with music, stepping back from it for a year to focus on personal pursuits. But hearing his mother play Brahms again reminded him of his love of music and brought him back into the performing arts.

“This weekend will be the first time that (Lehninger) and his mother have performed the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 together,” said Holly Okonoski, director of communications, Grand Rapids Symphony. “They will be on stage together again this coming October to perform the second concerto for the first time as well.

“The energy and message of love will be evident in the concert hall.”

Tickets are available here and include admission to a pre-show talk with the conductor and musicians at 7 p.m.

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