West Michigan Symphony Announces 75th Anniversary Concert Season

Season Highlights the Symphony’s Past While Celebrating Its Future

Muskegon, Michigan, April 21, 2014 – The West Michigan Symphony has prepared a rich smorgasbord of music, performers and tributes to celebrate its 75th anniversary concert season in 2014-15.

To commemorate this milestone anniversary, the season will open Friday, Sept. 26 for an eight-concert series that showcases both the old and new. Masterpieces from thw Symphony’s first performance in 1939 will make appearances throughout the season, including Wagner’s “Tannhauser” Overture and the rarely heard Overture to “II Guarany,” by Carlos Gomes. The Symphony also looks ahead to welcome its newly created children’s choir to the Frauenthal stage for the first time in Carl Orff’s greatest masterpiece, “Carmina Burana.”

Other highlights of the season include symphonies by Beethoven, Sibelius and Haydn, a tribute to the world of cinema, a celebration of the holidays and an appearance by The Hit Men.

Music Director Scott Speck will return for his 12th season on the podium. The series, which features five Masterworks concerts and three Pops performances, will wrap up June 5, 2015 with a rare performance of “The Planets” by Gustav Holst.

“We are so excited to announce an incredible season that will allows us to celebrate the success and growth the West Michigan Symphony has experienced,” said Carla Hill, Symphony president and CEO. “We have traveled a long way since the West Shore Symphony gave its first concerts in high school auditoriums in Muskegon and Grand Haven.

“After 75 seasons, three generations of musicians, nine music directors and one loyal audience, the West Michigan Symphony makes music at the highest level, in the beautiful surroundings of the Frauenthal Theater and our new intimate performance hall, The Block.”

Season tickets for the 2014-15 season are now on sale. All concerts in the regular season will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday evenings in the Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts in downtown Muskegon.

The 2014-15 WMS season will feature:
Opening night: Hollywood on the Lakeshore — Sept. 26 The star-studded evening will be a symphonic celebration of cinema featuring music from “Spider-Man,” “Inception,” “James Bond,” “Star Wars,” “E.T.” and the great classics “Gone with the Wind” and “Lawrence of Arabia.”
Carmina Burana: Sacred and Profane — Nov. 21 The WMS Children’s Choir, along with the Muskegon Chamber Choir, Grand Rapids Chamber Choir and Holland Choral, will perform a concert of heavenly and earthly delights.
Christmas Magic — Dec. 12 Guest conductor Clyde Mitchell joins WMS, along with vocalist Monique Creber and pianist Michael Creber, to perform a variety of holiday melodies. The family friendly evening will also feature the Norse Singers and the WMS Children’s choir. Now a WMS favorite, the popular audience sing-along returns again this year with a variety of holiday music.
Words and Music — Feb. 6 WMS Principal Bassoonist Vincent Karamanov performs Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto and the WMS performs Theme and Variations from “Mozartiana,” Peter Tchaikovsky’s own tribute to the immortal composer, Mozart. Carla Hill will narrate “Voices from the Gallery,” a witty and moving work by the living composer Stephen Paulus.
Beethoven and Blue Jeans — March 13 The WMS will perform two rarely heard Beethoven masterpieces and German virtuoso Nicolas Altstaedt will join the Symphony to perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto.
The Hit Men — April 17 Former stars of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons will join the Symphony to perform favorites, including “December ’63,” “Who Loves You,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” and “Let’s Hang On.”
Following the Nordic Sun — May 15 The WMS features the three most celebrated Nordic composers with Nielsen’s “Helios” Overture, Grieg’s Piano Concerto featuring pianist Charlie Albright and Symphony no. 5 of Jan Sibelius. Albright is the 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant winner.
The Planets — June 5 The season finale begins with the first piece of music ever performed by the WMS: Overture to “II Guarany” by Brazilian composer Carlos Gomes. As a contrast, the Symphony will also perform “The Chairman Dances” from living composer John Adams’ groundbreaking opera, “Nixon in China.” The concert, and the season, will then conclude with “The Planets” by Holst.

“I am so proud of the immense community service that the West Michigan Symphony has provided over the past 75 years,” said Music Director Scott Speck. “We now have a world-class ensemble here on the Lakeshore, a shining cultural jewel for all of West Michigan to enjoy.

“It’s only fitting that we welcome a handful of the world’s stellar guest artists – joining their talents with the virtuosity of our own gifted musicians – to celebrate all that the Symphony has become. We want to ensure that we can be ever more relevant and vital for the next 75 years.”

The Symphony has also commissioned artwork for its new office, performance and outdoor space in downtown Muskegon. The work of 10 artists will be showcased in “The 75th Anniversary Exhibition: West Michigan Symphony,” which will run from Sept. 18-Nov. 2 at the Muskegon Museum of Art. After the exhibition at the MMA, the artworks will be installed in the Symphony offices and The Block.

Season tickets can be purchased by calling the West Michigan Symphony ticket office at 231.726.3231. Several subscriber plans are available including the full series, Masterworks Series only, Pop Series only or flexible ticketing that allows concertgoers to create their own experience. For more information or to receive a 2014-15 season brochure, contact 231.726.3231 or info@westmichigansymphony.org.

About West Michigan Symphony
As one of the few professional regional orchestras in Michigan, West Michigan Symphony has played a leading role in the region’s cultural community for nearly 75 years. Founded as the West Shore Symphony Orchestra, WMS now serves a regional audience with eight performances annually at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts, several performances at its new performance space, The Block, plus dozens of educational and outreach activities for children and adults. For more information, visit www.westmichigansymphony.org.

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts