Grand Rapids Symphony

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The Grand Rapids Symphony is a regional orchestra located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.[1][2][3] For 85 years, the mission of the organization has been to share great music that moves the human soul. The Grand Rapids Symphony presents more than 400 performances each year, touching the lives of some 170,000. The organization also implements 16 education programs that benefit over 80,000 Michigan residents.

At the end of its 75th Anniversary Season, the Symphony made its debut in New York City’s Carnegie Hall on May 21, 2005.[4][5] The Symphony has presented concerts throughout Michigan and is heard on broadcasts by WBLV. In 2003, the Symphony performed in Detroit’s Orchestra Hall as part of inaugural activities for the remodeled Max M. Fisher Music Center. In 2000, the orchestra toured Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The orchestra performed at Ferris State University, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Lake Superior State University, Northern Michigan University and Michigan Technological University, where the Symphony was the premier entertainment for the grand opening of the Rozsa Center for Performing Arts.[6] The Symphony also sponsors the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, the Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra and provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company.[7] They provide the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. The music director is David Lockington and the associate conductor is John Varineau.[8][9]

Each year the Grand Rapids Symphony collaborates with the local community to bridge cultures by presenting a concert titled “Symphony with Soul” featuring national and local African-American guest artists. A percentage of the proceeds from this event supports the Symphony’s “Young, Gifted & Black Scholarship Fund,” created in 2005 through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The scholarship fund pays for instrument training for young African-American students in the Grand Rapids area.

Concert Series[edit]

The Grand Rapids Symphony presents eight concert series intended for young children through adults:

  • The Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series
  • Fox Motors Pops Series
  • Nestle Gerber SymphonicBoom Series
  • Crowe Horwath MusicNow Series
  • Crowe Horwath Great Eras Series
  • Porter Hills Coffee Classics Series
  • DTE Energy Foundation Family Series
  • PNC Lollipops


1930–1940 Karl Wecker
1940–1942 Thor Johnson
1942–1946 Nicolai Malko
1946–1948 Rudolph Ganz
1948–1954 Jose Echaniz
1954–1958 Désiré Defauw
1959–1964 Robert Zeller
1964–1968 Carl Karapetian
1968–1973 Gregory Millar
1973–1979 Theo Alcantara
1980–1985 Semyon Bychkov
1986–1997 Catherine Comet
1999–present David Lockington


  • 1993 David Ott Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 3, Catherine Comet, Conductor
  • 1995 Donald Erb,” Three Concertos, featuring Richard Stoltzman, clarinet; Miriam Fried, violin; and Ava Ordman, trombone; Catherine Comet, Conductor
  • 1995 Happy Holidays with the Grand Rapids Symphony, John Varineau, Conductor
  • 1996 Grand Rapids Symphony Piano Pops with Rich Ridenour; John Varineau, Conductor
  • 1997 Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 2, Catherine Comet, Conductor
  • 1999 Grand Rapids Symphony Piano Pops II with Rich Ridenour; John Varineau, Conductor
  • 2000 Aaron Copland, American Images, David Lockington, Conductor
  • 2005 Live from Carnegie Hall! David Lockington, Conductor
  • 2006 Invention and Alchemy, David Lockington, Conductor
  • 2007 Adolphus Hailstork, Symphony No. 2 and No. Symphony 3
  • 2008 "One of Us, Portrait of a Humble Healer" John Varineau, Conductor
  • 2010 "Phillip Sawyers" The Gale of Life, Symphonic Music for Strings & Brass, and Symphony No. 1


  1. ^ Jennifer Mann (January 5, 2007). "Residents up for Grammy". The Arlington Advocate. 
  2. ^ Mary Reardon (2004). Catholic Schools Then and Now. Badger Books Inc. p. 89. ISBN 1932542116. 
  3. ^ "Grand Rapids Symphony". Michigan Chronicle. January 25, 2000. 
  4. ^ Bernard Holland (24 May 2005). "The Journey of a Symphony and Its Entourage". The New York Times. "The Grand Rapids Symphony came to Carnegie Hall on Saturday night and brought a good part of the city with it." 
  5. ^ "Carnegie Hall: Grand Rapids Symphony". American Record Guide. September 1, 2005. "the Grand Rapids Symphony, celebrated its 75th anniversary by renting out Carnegie Hall" 
  6. ^ "Weekend events". Muskegon Chronicle. February 15, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Rapidly getting grander Arts scene flourishes in Michigan's second city". Daily Herald. October 13, 2002. "Grand Rapids Symphony, Michigan's only professional ballet company" 
  8. ^ "Sanderling may get second job". St. Petersburg Times. May 22, 2004. "Lockington is music director of The Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra" 
  9. ^ "Jazz band, symphony share swingin' night". Muskegon Chronicle. January 20, 2007. "Associate conductor John Varineau led The Grand Rapids Symphony" 

External links[edit]