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Symphony in the Summer Festival - Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra & Music Director Julian Kuerti

June 18, 2021 | By Jonah Creech-Pritchett
PR Assistant at Bucklesweet




KSO Returns to In-Person Performances with Three Outdoor Evening Concerts at the Gilmore Car Museum - 100-Year-Old Cars from Gilmore Collection To Be Incorporated Into The Summer Season


June 19 - Features Saxophonist Branford Marsalis
July 31st – Movie Music

Finale August 14th – Ode to Joy


June 17, 2021 – Kalamazoo, MI: The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO) is thrilled to announce its return to in-person concerts with Symphony in the Summer, a festival of outdoor concerts. Three ticketed performances will take place at the Gilmore Car Museum, continuing the KSO’s longstanding commitment to forging strong local connections through collaborations with neighboring institutions.

“We’re ready to come back,” said Music Director Julian Kuerti. “The Kalamazoo Symphony musicians and I are ready to be welcomed back into your hearts through the power of live music this summer. From virtuoso soloists to Hollywood favorites to Beethoven’s inspiring and uplifting Ode to Joy, the diverse offerings of our summer festival include something for every music lover. We can’t wait to see you again!”

In addition to beautiful music, each concert will highlight cars from the museum. On opening night, four distinct cars will be on display: a 1921 Roamer Speedster, built by the Barley Motor Car Company of Kalamazoo, a 1921 Ford Model T Touring Car, Ford Model T Runabout and a Ford Model T Depot Hack.

“This is a noteworthy collaboration between two nonprofits, during what’s been an incredibly challenging pandemic year,” said Josh Russell, Executive Director, Gilmore Car Museum. “The Orchestra needed suitable outdoor space to perform in celebration of its 100th season, and the Gilmore Car Museum had 90 acres of lawns, 100 years of automotive history, and ambition to establish itself as a concert venue.”

The festival opens on Saturday, June 19, with GRAMMY® Award–winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis joining the KSO for John Williams’s Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra from Catch Me If You Can, and Debussy’s Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra. The program concludes with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, featuring Concertmaster Jun-Ching Lin.

On Saturday, July 31, the KSO celebrates Movie Music with favorites from the scores to Star Wars, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Superman, Schindler’s List, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and more.

On Saturday, August 14, the festival reaches its spirited finale: Ode to Joy, featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony performed by the KSO, the brand-new Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and four acclaimed vocal soloists: Caitlin Lynch, soprano; Melody Wilson, mezzo-soprano; Ben Gulley, tenor; Scott Conner, bass baritone. This beloved work captures the joy of experiencing live music in person after so many months apart. The program also includes Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and the Coronation Scene from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.

 All concerts are at 8:00 p.m. Concert tickets cost $25–$55 and are available online at, by phone at (269) 349-7759, and in person at the KSO Box Office (hours: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.). Capacity is limited. Each concert has two primary general-admission sections: close to the stage (with a provided chair), and lawn seating (bring your own seats/blankets).

The KSO’s Symphony in the Summer centennial year festival also includes four community collaboration concerts and a series of pop-up Serenades.

On Thursday, June 24, at 8:00 p.m., the KSO joins the Bach Festival Chorus for Fauré’s Requiem, an online concert interspersed with spoken word for unity and reflection. Tickets are available through the Bach Festival at

Celebrate Independence Day with the KSO in Bronson Park for Patriotic Pops on July 3 at 7:30 p.m. Patriotic marches, the theme from the Lone Ranger and the rousing 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky will help light the barbecues and begin the weekend’s festivities. The concert also features music by John Williams, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and many more.

Singer-songwriter Nashon Holloway joins the KSO in Bronson Park on Saturday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m., for a free outdoor concert of her own original songs. Originally from Kalamazoo, Nashon Holloway’s music draws deeply from the R&B tradition, while keeping the listener captivated with jazz-tinged harmonies and playful rhythms.

Farmers Alley Theatre and the KSO offer Broadway in the Park on Sunday, July 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Bronson Park. Featuring favorite Broadway hits, Kalamazoo performers, and the KSO, this free concert will have attendees humming along and dancing in the park! 

Artists, repertoire, and performance times are subject to change. For more information visit and follow the KSO on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Summer Festival is being planned in adherence to the Michigan Department of Health’s COVID-19 protocols.



The world-renowned Gilmore Car Museum – North America’s largest auto museum with more than 400 vehicles on display -- is located midway between Chicago and Detroit, just 20 minutes north of Kalamazoo, or 45 minutes south of Grand Rapids. The museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to tell the history of America through the automobile. Learn more at

 Making symphonic music a part of everyday life for 100 years, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (KSO) shares lifelong musical experiences and learning throughout our community. We are on the stage—and online—actively collaborating with other Kalamazoo area organizations to inspire, care for, educate, and connect people through the arts. We are the state’s third-largest orchestra, serving Michigan’s sixth-largest metropolitan area with a professional roster of more than 80 musicians and a dedicated staff through exceptional symphonic music, world-class guest artists, and a vibrant educational program.

 The KSO receives major support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, and the Stryker Johnston Foundation, and we are supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Recognitions, awards, and grants include a major Ford Foundation grant to establish our innovative Artists in Residence program, and recognition from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. The KSO also receives generous support from other local, state, and national foundations, as well as private and corporate support.


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