Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Complete “Firebird” Soars at Grand Rapids Symphony’s “Love and Life,” Nov. 21 & 22

The Grand Rapids Symphony will present a world premiere by Avner Dorman and The Firebird in its entirety at its fourth Richard and Helen DeVos Classical Series concert of the 2014-15 Season. David Lockington will lead two performances on Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22 at 8:00 p.m. These performances are generously sponsored by Dematic and the guest artist on these concerts is sponsored by the Edith I. Blodgett Guest Artist Fund. The Symphony will also perform a special matinee on Saturday, November 22 at 3:00 p.m. as part of the DTE Energy Foundation Family Series. All performances will be at DeVos Performance Hall.

Avner Dorman’s “Dialogues of Love,” is a Grand Rapids Symphony commission. Mr. Dorman, an Israeli-born composer, wrote “Dialogues of Love” after reading Dialoghi d’amore by Judah Leon Abravanel, one of the most important philosophical texts of the early 16th century.

“The book is incredibly poetic and deep, spiritual and rational, and aims to answer many of the basic philosophic and scientific questions we all have,” said Dorman. “What is love? What is happiness? Why do objects fall? When was the universe created?”

Inspired by the book, Dorman also used texts about love in many languages from a variety of religious, poetic and philosophical sources to create a work of drama celebrating and investigating the miraculous concept of love. Baritone Lee Poulis, The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus will perform the oratorio alongside the orchestra.

The concert’s second half will present the complete score to The Firebird by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. This is the first time the Grand Rapids Symphony will be performing the piece in its entirety. The Firebird was originally written for the 1910 Paris season of the Ballets Russes company and is based on Russian folk tales. The music tells the story of its hero, Prince Ivan, his antagonist, Kashchei the Immortal, and the magical glowing bird that is both a blessing and a curse to its owner.

Families can experience this compelling musical journey at “The Firebird,” a special, one-hour format concert. The 3:00 p.m. family matinee on Saturday, November 22 will feature music drawn from the full “Love and Life” concert. Beginning at 2:00 p.m., children and families can enjoy free pre-concert activities sponsored by Clark Hill, including an instrument petting zoo.

Children can also explore the story of The Firebird at “Firebird Uncaged,” an event presented by the Grand Rapids Symphony and Blandford Nature Center. “Firebird Uncaged” is on Saturday, November 15, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Blandford Nature Center. At the event, children will use nature to create a mural to be displayed in the DeVos Hall lobby before “The Firebird” family matinee concert on November 22.

The “Firebird Uncaged” event is free with paid admission to Blandford Nature Center. Blandford Nature Center members can attend for free. Attendees at the Blandford Nature Center event will receive a voucher for one free child admission to “The Firebird” family concert (one per household). In turn, attendees at “The Firebird” family matinee concert will receive one free admission to Blandford Nature Center.

Tickets Tickets start at $18 and are available at the Symphony office, weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.) Tickets are available by phone in the evening and on Saturday by calling 616.885.1241. Tickets are available at the DeVos Place Box Office, weekdays 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, 800.982.2787, online at or in person at Ticketmaster outlets: select D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Stores and Walmart. Tickets purchased at these locations will include a Ticketmaster service fee. Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the Symphony’s Student Passport program. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

About the Grand Rapids Symphony 
The Grand Rapids Symphony was officially organized in 1930 and is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Director David Lockington, ten concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are presented each year, touching the lives of some 170,000. Nearly half of those who benefit are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities reached through extensive education and community service programs. The Symphony’s Affiliated Organizations include the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. The Symphony also provides the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony please visit

This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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