Grand Rapids Symphony opens 2017-18 season with Ravel’s “Bolero”

Before embarking on a North American tour in 1928, Maurice Ravel was asked by a friend to transcribe a set of piano pieces by Isaac Albéniz to serve as music for a Spanish-flavored ballet. The French composer, an admirer of all things Spanish, agreed.

But Ravel ran into a snag when he discovered movements of the piece titled Iberia already had been orchestrated by Spanish conductor Enrique Fernández Arbós.

Undaunted, Ravel decided to write a piece of his own for his friend, Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein. The 15- minute piece, initially called Fandango, would become one of Ravel’s most famous works under the title, Bolero.

Grand Rapids Symphony opens its 2017-18 season with Ravel’s Bolero, a spicy audience favorite, along with a world premiere by Grand Rapids Symphony’s own Jeremy Crosmer at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, September 15-16, in DeVos Performance Hall.

Music director Marcelo Lehninger, who will lead his first season-opening concerts with the Grand Rapids Symphony, will conduct the orchestra in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances.

The Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series also welcomes guest artist Sarah Chang, performing Suite from West Side Story for Violin and Orchestra, which was arranged especially for Chang by film composer David Newman from Leonard Bernstein’s well-known Broadway musical. Chang last appeared with the Grand Rapids Symphony in November 2005.

Tickets start at $18 and are available at the GRS box office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm, at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)