West Michigan Symphony season opens with festive program

Bernstein’s Candide, Berlioz’s Roman Carnival, Respighi’s Roman Festivals highlight the concert

Muskegon, Michigan, September 7, 2018 – West Michigan Symphony’s 2018-2019 Season opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 28 with a concert featuring Ottorino Respighi’s Roman Festivals and Hector Berlioz’s Roman Carnival. This will mark the start of Music Director Scott Speck’s 16th season with the Orchestra. The concert, held in Muskegon’s stunning Frauenthal Center, will also include Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier Suite and Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide. The season is sponsored by Nichols. Blue Lake Public Radio is the media sponsor. The concert is sponsored by Past Presidents of WMS.

Music Director Scott Speck described attending WMS in this way: “At West Michigan Symphony we believe in classical music for everyone, as our brand line states. We strive to make every concert vibrant, informal and welcoming—all at the same time. We perform in the heart of beautifully revitalized downtown Muskegon. Getting here is easy, parking is free, and you can enjoy dinner or refreshments before or after the concert. And the Frauenthal features the best acoustics in West Michigan!”

The tour-de-force Overture to Candide puts an orchestra through its paces and will be a fitting opening for the season. Scott Speck has programmed this piece in observation of the 2018 Leonard Bernstein Centennial. Richard Strauss is best known for a 90-second snippet of very powerful music from his tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra—the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, his 1910 opera Der Rosenkavalier couldn’t be more different in spirit! Modeled on the operatic style of Mozart, Der Rosenkavalier took Vienna by storm and, in an early example of merchandizing, spawned such products as Rosenkavalier champagne and cigarettes. Respighi’s Roman Festivals is the final work in his famous “Roman Trilogy”; WMS performed the first two installments, Pines of Rome and Fountains of Rome, in 2016.

Scott Speck will host a “Lunch ‘n Learn” presentation at 1pm on Wednesday, September 26 in The Block, WMS’s alternative performance venue at 360 W. Western Avenue. These events are free and open to the public. Guests are invited to bring their own lunch and enjoy an hour of lively exploration of and discussion about the music on the program.

An opening night pre-concert reception will be held in The Block starting at 6pm on Friday the 28th. Subscribers and donors are invited to stop in for hors d’ oeuvres (courtesy of The Hearthstone) and a cash bar. This will be an opportunity to mix-and-mingle with Speck and members of the Orchestra, Board and administration.

During the remainder of the season, WMS will perform such great classics as Rimsky-Korsakov’s colorful Scheherazade, Beethoven’s beloved Symphony No. 7, Chopin’s romantic Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist Natasha Paremski, and works by Vivaldi and Rodrigo with guitar virtuoso Sharon Isbin. “Home for the Holidays” kicks off the Pops series on December 14, showcasing the talented young people of the Reeths Puffer High School Choir and WMS Children’s Choir. The series continues in March with “Classic Broadway,” featuring music from Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera and songs by Gershwin, Porter and Berlin. The Pops concludes in April with a family concert, “Disney Around the World,” with live clips and music from The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Pirates of the Caribbean and other beloved Disney films.

Single tickets start at $24 for adults, $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 231.726.3231, in person at 360 W. Western Avenue, or online at www.westmichigansymphony.org.

Season tickets are still available for the full eight concert season; for the five-concert Masterworks series; and for the three-concert Pops series. Prices start at $76 for Pops, $103 for the Masterworks 5, and $165 for the Premier 8. Among other benefits, subscribers save up to 20% off single tickets, the equivalent of getting one free concert.

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts