LSO's Next Season Has Mystery Composer And A Berlin Homecoming

Jun 6, 2017

There are 6 concerts in the Lansing Symphony Orchestra 2017-18 season. WKAR’s Jamie Paisley explored some of the highlights with the LSO’s Maestro Timothy Muffitt.


In November this year, during their second concert of the season, the Lansing Symphony’s Maestro Timothy Muffitt get to relax while an MSU professor takes the reigns and goes for Baroque.

"Yes!" exclaims Muffitt. "Entirely Baroque and David Rayl is our guest conductor. He'll rehearse both orchestra and chorus together and I'll have the pleasure of enjoying it from the audience perspective.

[Music from Vivaldi's "Gloria"]

During January’s LSO Concert, a homecoming of sorts as David Cooper, who recently became principal french hornist of the Berlin Philharmonic comes home to play Gliere’s Horn Concerto. And once a season, the LSO tries to bring back a native to perform with the home orchestra.

"David Cooper is certainly one of them." says Muffitt. "He's a Grand Ledge native. He's very quick to credit the extraordinary music education he got here in our area as preparing him to win, easily one of the biggest jobs in the world for what he does as principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic."

[Music from Gliere's Horn Concerto.]

While composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto has pretty much become a concert standard nowadays, Maestro Muffitt selected another work of his for the Lansing Symphony’s February concert: The Korngold Symphony, which lasts just shy of an hour.

"I feel like this Symphony is a work that's going to come into the standard repertoire." predicts Muffitt. "It has qualities that I think the 20th Century audience is really going to latch on to. You know, Korngold was one of the first great film composers. That wasn't by his design, that's what he did to pay the bills. The musical language that made him a great film composer also makes him a great symphonist."

[Music from Korngold's Symphony.]

The March LSO Concert includes a century-long nod to a local musician:  James Niblock.

"This will be the year of [Dr.] Niblock's 100th birthday. He was a former concertmaster of the Lansing Symphony, still living in the area. He was also on the faculty of Michigan State University. How exciting to present this work there?! And I spoke with him and this was the work that he suggested for our program. I'm really excited to be including it in this concert."

Joining the Niblock 3 Dances on that March concert is another 3… The 3rd Symphony of Jean Sibelius.

"It might have a directness of expression that is greater than some of the other Symphonies." says Muffitt of the Symphony.

[Music from The Sibelius Symphony No.3.]

There is a mystery piece in the Lansing Symphony season finale concert in May of next year. It’s because that piece and soloist will be decided when Kalamazoo’s Gilmore Foundation crowns their Young Artist next season and the Lansing Symphony has already booked that winner, whoever it will be.

"Every two years we get a Gilmore artist and they never disappoint." explains Muffitt.

But this final LSO concert in May of next year ends with a bang and Mussorgsky’s famed "Pictures At An Exhibition," with "The Great Gate of Kiev."

"This is one of the great works in the repertoire, the Mussorgsky, Ravel orchestration, Pictures At An Exhibition and I think will bring— wrap things up in a very uplifting way."

Tomorrow on WKAR, Maestro Muffitt will speak to us about why the Lansing Symphony’s season opening concert will be about a month later than usual. Plus, more about the concert where the audience gets to choose what the LSO will play.

To learn more about the Lansing Symphony’s 2017-18 season, visit lansingsymphony.org