The Grand Rapids Symphony kicks off their new season this weekend with some concert hall favorites, a superstar violinist, and a bold opening statement courtesy of a world premiere. WKAR’s Jamie Paisley spent a few minutes with the new music director, Marcelo Lehninger to learn more about the program.
It is one of the most famous pieces of music in the world. and when it comes to the unceasing rhythm of that snare drum, every member of a professional orchestra percussion section knows it. Which is why according to Grand Rapids Symphony maestro Marcelo Lehninger it doesn’t matter which member of the percussion plays Bolero during the symphony’s season opening concerts this weekend.
“Of course, having someone senior, which is our case with Bill [H. Vits, principal percussion], it adds that level of experience that he knows that you can take a little slower tempo, or a fast tempo and he’ll be able to adapt.” says Lehninger. “In fact, last time we saw each other, he asked ‘So, are you doing 72 or 74?’ So, I think, of course, having his experience on stage will be wonderful and really valuable. But the truth is, it’s just exciting and entertaining, isn’t it? The trick though, is to conduct that piece. Because, honestly, it can be easily boring if you’re just there beating time and giving cues. So, I always find [it] really hard actually when I have to conduct Bolero because it’s so easy to conduct. But yet, you need to kind of create something interesting and more elaborate. Otherwise, you’re just there beating time and being a metronome, which is that the snare drum is there for.”
While the opening Grand Rapids Symphony concerts end with the Spanish flare of Ravel’s Bolero, it begins with some new Americana: Ozark Traveler, written by the Symphony’s former cellist.
“Yes, Jeremy Crosmer.” says…