West Michigan Symphony Closes 75th Season with ‘The Planets’

Muskegon, Michigan, May 20, 2015 – Friday, June 5, Music Director Scott Speck and the West Michigan Symphony close their 75th anniversary season with a piece that, as was the case in their opening concert, pairs expansive orchestral arrangements with choral voices in Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.”

Music Director Scott Speck had this to say about the Symphony’s anniversary season and its finale, “We knew when we planned our 75th anniversary season that it would be one big highlight after another. So we created a season finale that is not only special, but takes us out of this world.” He continued, “‘Carmina Burana’ was one massive bookend to this historic season and ‘The Planets,’ Holst’s greatest creation, is the other.”

The Friday evening concert will open with a piece that was played in the Symphony’s inaugural concert, the Overture to the opera “Il Guarany” by Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Gomes.

This piece is followed by “The Chairman Dances” by the contemporary composer John Adams. Subtitled “Foxtrot for Orchestra,” the piece is taken from an opera Adams was working on at the time called “Nixon in China.” The piece depicts Madame Mao interrupting a presidential banquet and causing a stir, whereby Chairman Mao hops down from his portrait and the two foxtrot back in time together.

In the second half of the concert the Women’s Chorus of the Muskegon Chamber Choir joins the Symphony in voice for Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.” Each of the seven movements in this popular orchestral suite is named after a planet in the solar system and its corresponding astrological personality.

Speck remarked, “The centerpiece of this program is “The Planets,” by Gustav Holst, a monumental work unlike anything written before or since. This music requires such large forces that it is very rarely performed, and we are looking forward to bringing our signature West Michigan Symphony energy and virtuosity to this masterpiece.”

Doors open on Friday June 5 at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Muskegon. Tickets run $18-$48, with student tickets for $7. Tickets can be purchased by calling the WMS box office at 231.726.3231 x223. Tickets are also available in person at 360 W. Western Ave. or online at westmichigansymphony.org.

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts