It was twenty years ago that British-born conductor David Lockington became the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 13th music director. It was January 1999. Twenty years later, he takes the baton again to conduct the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Lockington's 16 years of service, until May 2015, is the longest tenure in the 89-year history of the GR Symphony. Now Music Director Laureate, Lockington, who led the Grand Rapids Symphony to a Grammy Award nomination in 2006 and a debut in Carnegie Hall in 2005 returns on March 1-2 to conduct a program of music by English composers.

The program includes Elgar’s popular Enigma Variations. The most famous variation, “Nimrod,” largely inspired music for the 2017 film, “Dunkirk,” about the rescue of British troops from France in the dark days of 1940 during World War II.

Interestingly, William Walton’s Concerto for Violin, composed for the great violinist Jascha Heifetz, was premiered in Cleveland in December 1939 just as the war was underway. GRS violinist and concertmaster Jamie Crawford, who recently marked 25 years with the Grand Rapids Symphony, is soloist. Crawford joined the orchestra as leader of the violins in January 1994.

Terry Johnston

Tickets for the Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series start at $18 and are available at the Grand Rapids Symphony box office, weekdays 9 am - 5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across the street from Calder Plaza). Call (616) 454-9451 x 4 to order by phone. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum).

Tickets are available at the DeVos Place ticket office, weekdays 10 am - 6 pm or on the day of the concert beginning two hours before the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at GRSymphony.org.