The Block

WMS Principal Clarinetist Jonathan Holden brings a classical ensemble to The Block Nov. 7

Muskegon, Michigan, Oct. 2 –Clarinetist Jonathan Holden joins an ensemble of professional musicians to play an evening of classical music at The Block, West Michigan Symphony’s alternative performance venue, Saturday, Nov. 7.

British born clarinetist Jonathan Holden is Principal Clarinetist of the West Michigan Symphony and assistant professor of Clarinet at Florida State University. Holden made his concert debut at the age of 17 and has performed concertos in Britain and the United States. As a student, he was winner of the Clarinet & Saxophone Society of Great Britain Competition and a semi-finalist in the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition. Holden has given performances, clinics and master classes at colleges in the U.S. and overseas and he has performed by invitation of the British Clarinet Congress, College Music Society, Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, International Clarinet Association, Festival Contempoaneo (Brazil), Affetti Music Festival (AK) and Alfredo de Saint Malo Festival (Panama).

The concert at The Block will begin with composer Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” Messiaen wrote most of this work after being captured as a French soldier during the German invasion of 1940. It is said that on a frigid January night in 1941 in Görlitz, Germany, the German officers and prisoners alike attended the premiere of the work, which took place in an unheated space in Barrack 27 of the Stalag VIIIA prisoner-of-war camp.

Messiean cites inspiration for the piece from the Book of Revelation, wherein an angel descends from heaven to announce the end of time. The mood of the scene alternates between serene and terrible, but it is always beautiful and offers meaning to individuals of every belief system. Holden has brought together an ensemble of professional musicians to join him for the piece featuring Julia Neckerman on violin, David Peshlakai on cello and Zhihua Tang on piano.

In the second half of the concert violinist Fangye Sun joins Holden and Tang for a world premiere of a new composition by local musician and composer, Daniel Tressel.

The concert is Saturday, Nov. 7, and begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $30 and can be purchased by calling the West Michigan Symphony ticket office: 231.726.3231 ext. 223; online at; or in person at 360 W. Western Ave. in Muskegon. Doors and bar open at 6:30 p.m. This ticket is also part of The Block’s “Chamber Series” one of the three subscription series packages that are offered for the 2015-16 season at The Block. For more information, visit

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