A Symphony of Pianos: The Gilmore Festival’s Majestic Journey Through Michigan’s Finest Orchestras

March 23, 2024

The 2024 Festival begins in Grand Rapids, with our partners at the Grand Rapids Symphony. The Festival calendar includes a series of events with symphony orchestras across southern Lower Michigan. Partner symphonies include nearly 300 musicians and share the Festival’s impact as far north as Grand Rapids and Lansing (Lansing Symphony Orchestra), to Benton Harbor (Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra), and east to Jackson (Jackson Symphony Orchestra) and here in Kalamazoo with the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra.

First up next week, French virtuoso pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet returns to Michigan for a collaboration with the Grand Rapids Symphony in a program with works by Ravel, Debussy, and Saint-Saëns. Marcelo Lehninger will conduct at DeVos Hall on Thursday, March 28. Find more information and purchase tickets, which start at $19.

It’s fitting that one of our youngest-ever Gilmore Young Artists (awarded last year for 2024) Harmony Zhu, will join the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra. She will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, with Andrew Koehler conducting, at Chenery Auditorium on Sunday, April 21 at 4 pm. Click for more information and to purchase tickets. Ms. Zhu made her concerto debut at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium at age 14, going on to win the 2021 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. She is a Young Steinway Artist, graduating from New York’s Brearley School this spring, and planning to attend Harvard in the fall.  

The Jackson Symphony Orchestra will welcome our second 2024 Gilmore Young Artist, Kasey Shao, to perform under the baton of Matthew Aubin. She will play Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 7 in a concert themed “Greetings From Austria, on Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 pm at the Potter Center. Learn more and purchase tickets. Ms. Shao made her concerto debut at age 12 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, is a Young Steinway Artist and 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar, and is pursuing a pre-med program at Princeton University.  

On Friday, May 10, Ms. Zhu will join the Lansing Symphony Orchestra at the beautiful Wharton Center in East Lansing, to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488. The evening program, conducted by Timothy Muffit, will include a new work by Jarred Miller, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 44. Learn more and purchase tickets.  

Saturday, May 11 offers two symphony orchestra presentations. 2016 Gilmore Young Artist Daniel Hsu performs with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Matthew Aubin conducting, to play George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor.  Learn more and purchase tickets

That same evening the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra will perform with 2022 Gilmore Young Artists Clayton Stephenson and Janice Carissa, and 2002 Gilmore Artist Piotr Anderzsewski. He doesn’t visit the U.S. often, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear him play and conduct Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15 from the bench. The Gilmore Young Artists will be conducted by Andrew Grams. We love collaborating with our colleagues at the KSO – the largest orchestra of these five, numbering more than 80 musicians. This event, at the venerable Chenery Auditorium, happens on Saturday, May 11 at 7 pm. Come early to enjoy a 6 pm concert preview with Dr. Zaide Pixley. More information and tickets are available online

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