2019-2020 30th Anniversary Season

In honor of our 30th Anniversary, each concert focuses in on a core trait of the Kalamazoo Philharmonia Orchestra.

Among Friends

Pianist Weiyin Chen

Saturday, November 16th, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Dalton Theater, Light Fine Arts Center, Kalamazoo College

Grażyna Bacewicz Overture
Pyotr Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
with Weiyin Chen, piano
Edward Elgar Enigma Variations

We begin our anniversary season by celebrating the social bonds that music provides.  The dazzling Overture that opens the program was written by Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz; Lutoslawski, whose music we explored at the end of the end of 2018-2019 season, revered her and was on record as calling her a friend.  We will also welcome back brilliant pianist and friend of the orchestra Weiyin Chen for the third time in one of the most beloved works of the repertory, the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto.  And Sir Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations is an exquisitely moving gesture of comraderie: each variation describes a close friend of the composer’s.  The main theme on which the variations are based might be a counterpoint to another famous melody, or at least so Elgar suggested.  Despite many efforts, no one has figured out what that melody might be, and so the piece's enigma has remained intact for more than a century. 


From Sea to Shining Sea

From Sea to Shining Sea

Sunday, March 8th, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Dalton Theater, Light Fine Arts Center, Kalamazoo College

Lou Harrison Symphony No. 3
Florence Price Ethiopia’s Shadow in America  
Roberto Sierra Symphony No. 4

We continue our anniversary season by taking a deep dive into music that is unknown: in this case, three works by far-flung American composers.  Lou Harrison was a one-of-a-kind presence: he was an openly gay hippie of the West Coast and an absolutely voracious absorber of styles (his influences are as disparate as Balinese music, microtonal tunings, serialism, and Charles Ives).  But his Third Symphony is simply hypnotically beautiful, sounding somehow like everything and nothing else at once.  Florence Price is a composer only belatedly getting some recognition, after a store of manuscripts was discovered in an attic about 10 years ago.  This relatively short work is perhaps her most direct confrontation with the black experience in America, specifically through the lens of her enslaved ancestors.  Finally, Roberto Sierra is a Puerto Rican-born composer with a style that deftly balances modernism with classicism, and Beethovenian motivic development with Latin rhythms.  His Fourth Symphony is a compact contemporary masterpiece.

CANCELED!  In response to the ongoing uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic, this concert will instead be rescheduled in our 20-21 season.  


Saturday, May 30th, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave.

Carl Nielsen Symphony No. 3 “Sinfonia Espansiva”  
Johannes Brahms Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny)    
Ralph Vaughan Williams Toward the Unknown Region  

in collaboration with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus, Christopher Ludwa, conductor

To conclude our anniversary season, we once again collaborate, this time with our oldest and most consistent partners, the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus.  The first half, led by Philharmonia music director Andrew Koehler, will feature the uncategorizable music of Carl Nielsen, whose Third Symphony has moments that contrast, in the composer’s own words, “the gust of energy and life affirmation blown out into the wide world” with “the purest idyll, the peaceful mood…in Paradise.”  Bach Fest Music Director Christopher Ludwa will conduct the second half of the program in stunning choral works by Brahms and Vaughan Williams, both of which muse on what lies ahead after our time on earth.  

Tickets for all Kalamazoo College performances are available at the door, and cost $5 for adults and seniors, $2 for students, and are free for Kalamazoo College students.  Tickets for our Chenery Performance will be available for pre-purchase through the Bach Festival

For questions about attending our concerts, or to reserve your tickets in advance, please call 269-337-7070, or email susan.lawrence@kzoo.edu.  

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