West Michigan Symphony season concludes with “Rhapsody in Blue” performed by renowned pianist Aldo López-Gavilán

Muskegon, MI, April 22, 2024—Electrifying Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán returns to headline the final concert of West Michigan Symphony’s (WMS) 2023-2024 season with his striking rendition of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Conducted by Scott Speck, the concert also includes music from Bernstein’s West Side Story, among other works. Sponsored by Mike & Kay Olthoff, with artist sponsorship by West Shore Bank, the performance takes place at 7:30pm Friday, May 10 in the Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Avenue in Muskegon. Blue Lake Public Radio is the Media Sponsor. For tickets, starting at $19 for adults, $10 for students, call 231.727.8001 or visit www.westmichigansymphony.org.

The program will open with Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, followed by Arturo Marquez’s Danzon no. 2, so popular in Mexico that it has become the country’s unofficial anthem. This will be followed by music of Guido López-Gavilán, Aldo’s father, one of Cuba’s most celebrated composers and conductors. A rhythmic vitality persists throughout his spirited Guaguancó for string orchestra, with the strings displaying their versatility through sustained melodies, syncopated pizzicato, and even drumming on the bodies of their instruments. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, premiered 100 years ago, is a freeform piano concerto, the first to seamlessly combine jazz and classical elements.  Gershwin improvised his piano part at every performance, and only later notated one of these improvs for other pianists to use; in the same spirit, Aldo imbues each performance with a freshness and improvisatory spirit.

Audience members and the general public are invited to learn more at a free Lunch ‘n Learn event held at 12 noon Wednesday, May 8 in The Block. Sponsored by Embark Financial Partners, the event will be hosted by Music Director Scott Speck and include opportunity for Q & A. A delicious and complimentary lunch will be provided by Kuntry Cookin’.

Free shuttle transport is available from Muskegon Farmer’s Market to the door of the Frauenthal, and back again after the concert. A post-concert reception will be held in the lower level Frau Lounge, an opportunity for the audience to mingle with conductor and musicians.

The pianistic feast continues at The Block on Saturday, May 11 at 7:30pm when Aldo López-Gavilán puts The Block’s magnificent Steinway through its paces in an inspiring solo recital featuring a collection of his original compositions. For tickets, $33 to $49 and $10 for students, call 231.726.3231 or visit westmichigansymphony.org.

An anchor cultural organization headquartered in Muskegon, West Michigan Symphony led by Music Director Scott Speck is a resident presenting group at the Frauenthal Center, where its eight-concert season is the most visible part of a larger artistic enterprise of far-reaching community benefit. WMS concerts and education events bring 16,500 people—more than 30% of whom are children and students—downtown annually, making it the largest performing arts organization on the West Shore. ###

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts