GR Symphony to open season with Gershwin

From Broadway to the concert hall, American legend George Gershwin composed it all - revolutionizing music by linking jazz influences with orchestral composition. The Grand Rapids Symphony opens its 2011-12 Fox Motors Pops Series this weekend with Gershwin's enduringly popular music. Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, at DeVos Performance Hall in downtown Grand Rapids.
Anonymous
Sep 20, 2011

Internationally renowned pops conductor Jack Everly leads the symphony in this program of time-honored favorites. The Gershwin tribute features a performance of “Rhapsody in Blue.” Guest pianist Michael Chertock will perform the classic piano extravaganza’s original 1924 version for jazz band.

The concert also includes the overture to the movie “Rhapsody in Blue.” The movie overture’s original arrangement and orchestration was uncovered by Jack Everly in the Warner Bros. vaults.

Guest vocalist Lauren Kennedy will contribute such favorites including “I Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”
The orchestra will perform additional selections including “Swanee,” the overture to “Girl Crazy,” and selections from “Porgy and Bess.”

“The songs of George and Ira Gershwin have a special place within the American Songbook,” Everly said.

Everly, a North American leader in symphonic pops, is known for his innovative approach to programs that have brought new audiences to the time-tested and beloved genre. He is the principal pops conductor of the Baltimore and Indianapolis symphony orchestras, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, and National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa); and the music director of the “National Memorial Day Concert” and “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS. He has teamed with Marvin Hamlisch in Broadway shows — including “The Goodbye Girl,” “They’re Playing Our Song” and “A Chorus Line.” In television and film, Everly has appeared on “In Performance at the White House” and conducted the songs for Disney’s animated classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Lauren Kennedy has appeared on Broadway as Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” Daisy Hilton in “Side Show,” Fantine in “Les Miserables” and with Glenn Close in “Sunset Boulevard.” She starred in off-Broadway productions of “Vanities” and “Good Ol’ Girls,” and in a pre-Broadway production of “Lone Star Love” with Randy Quaid. She has toured nationally as Betty Schaeffer in “Sunset Boulevard.” She has also starred opposite Val Kilmer in “The Ten Commandments” at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

Michael Chertock has garnered numerous awards at major competitions, among them the top prize in the 1989 Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition (Brahms Division) and the grand prize in the 1993 St. Charles International Piano Competition. Chertock’s many orchestral appearances include solo performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, l’Orchestre Symphonique du Montreal, the Baltimore Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony.

Tickets start at $18 and are available at the symphony office, which is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 300 Ottawa N.W., Suite 100; or by calling 616-454-9451, ext. 4. Tickets are available at the DeVos Place Box Office, which is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787, online at www.grsymphony.org, or in person at Ticketmaster outlets —select D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare Stores and Walmart. Tickets purchased at these locations will include a Ticketmaster service fee.

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