Nearly 13 years ago, the Grand Rapids Symphony made its critically acclaimed debut in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, a performance praised by the New York Times and that elevated the orchestra’s reputation in the eyes of its community and in the classical music world at large.
On April 20, the Grand Rapids Symphony plus the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and a world-renowned pianist will return to Carnegie Hall for an astounding evening of Spanish and Brazilian-flavored music. But first, you can hear the entire program in DeVos Hall on Friday and Saturday, April 13-14.
Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, one of the world’s greatest pianists, will be soloist in Momoprecoce by Brazilian’s most famous composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos. The boisterous fantasy for piano and orchestra is inspired by children at play during Carnival. Here’s a YouTube video of Freire performing “Momoprecoce” with Brazil’s most important orchestra, the Sao Paulo Symphony, on tour with American conductor Marin Alsop in London.
Freire also will play Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain, a sensuous piece whose inspiration comes from the same region in southern Spain that influenced Anila Quayyum Agha’s “Intersections,” winner of Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize in 2014.
Grand Rapids Symphony’s Brazilian-born conductor Marcelo Lehninger leads the orchestra in Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, back by popular demand. The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus will join the orchestra for Villa-Lobos’ Villa-Lobos Chôros No.10 “Rasga o Coração” (It Tears your Heart) a piece that’s inspired by music of the streets of Brazil in the 1920s and 30s.
Freire, who has performed four times in Carnegie Hall, is a lifelong friend of the Lehninger family. Lehninger, who led the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall in 2011, has performed “Momoprecoce” previously with Freire and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.