In Friday’s (10/30) Grand Rapids Press (Michigan), Jeff Kaczmarczyk writes, “Back in the day, being the 18th century, composers culled soloists from within their orchestras. Players not only didn’t have to travel, they didn’t even have to rise from their chairs. This was idea for the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Rising Stars Series concert Thursday. From there, associate conductor John Varineau let his imagination absolutely run wild while conducting masterfully in St. Cecilia Music Center.” The signature work on the program was Pulitzer-Prize winner William Bolcom’s Commedia for “Almost” 18th Century Orchestra, which he penned in 1971. “The real Rising Star was composer James M. Stephenson, whose Triple Concerto for Brass was premiered. Trumpeter Charley Lea, hornist Erich Peterson and trombonist Daniel Mattson each rose from their respective second chairs for a solo spot. It’s 17 minutes of propulsive music, often syncopated a la Bernstein, orchestrated with far-out combinations of instruments, almost always tuneful. … Igor Stravinsky’s Suite from ‘Pulcinella’ wrapped up the night.”

Posted October 30, 2009