Misty Copeland, the Kansas City-born dancer who has become a forceful voice for diversity in ballet, was named a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre on Tuesday – the first African-American ballerina to achieve that status in the company’s 75-year history.
Summerfest has made the blistering hot days of summer tolerable with chamber music performed by some of Kansas City’s finest musicians and superb guest artists from around the country. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Summerfest, and the ensemble has put together a season that celebrates its past and looks forward to the future.
On Monday night, in conjunction with KC Bass Fest, the legendary virtuoso François Rabbath performed a 90-minute recital with his son Sylvain on piano. Rabbath’s style is so spontaneous and organic that it’s difficult to tell where the written music leaves off and the improvisation begins.
There are many recordings of Camille Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony on the market, but Reference Recordings has just released a CD by the Kansas City Symphony that can take its place with the best of them.
The Kansas City Symphony ended its 2014/2015 season with a program celebrating the triumph of the individual. Friday night’s concert in Helzberg Hall showcased solo voices, guest pianist Vadym Kholodenko and Richard Strauss’ riotous heroic tone poem.
For the last year, the Symphony has been performing music written in the years leading up to World War I. It seems fitting that the Symphony will end its season with a major work by Richard Strauss, a composer who straddled the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries.
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The Kansas City Symphony’s program Friday in Helzberg Hall, with music director Michael Stern conducting, was heavily romantic. Its selections pushed the boundaries of traditional harmonies with thematic elements that challenged the social mores of their eras.
The Harriman-Jewell Series completed its 50th anniversary season Saturday with a celebratory performance from Parsons Dance in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The crowd-pleasing company made its 12th appearance for the series, exultant in its brand of high energy, vivacious movement.
The choices for classical music in coming days are varied, including Kansas City Symphony’s last free happy hour of the season on Thursday. The night before, quirky pop music legend and prolific film music composer Randy Newman will bring his combination of mass appeal and braininess to Helzberg Hall when he performs with the Symphony.
The Kansas City Symphony’s program Friday night in Helzberg Hall featured works by multifaceted artists, composers who also excelled in performance as instrumentalists and conductors, just like guest conductor Pinchas Zukerman himself, a virtuoso on violin and viola.
The Harriman-Jewell Series will conclude its memorable season June 6 at the Kauffman Center with Parsons Dance in a program of favorites and a newly commissioned work. The highlight of the evening will be “Finding Center,” which the series commissioned from Kansas City-born dancer and choreographer David Parsons. It’s a piece that was inspired by and uses the work of Kansas City visual artist Rita Blitt.
Pinchas Zukerman, a Stern family friend, will be in Kansas City May 29-31 to conduct his “little brother’s” orchestra and to serve as violin and viola soloist for music by Malcolm Forsyth, Paul Hindemith and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Some in this audience had only heard classical music in the movies, in elevators or at the grocery store. But six members of the Kansas City Symphony who played at Lansing State Penitentiary this week won new fans for classical music.
In a celebratory season replete with extravagant, exciting performances, the Harriman-Jewell Series presented pianist Emanuel Ax in an intimate concert on the William Jewell College campus, where the series started 50 years ago.
Concertgoers who spent a gorgeous May evening inside Helzberg Hall on Friday were rewarded with the Kansas City Symphony’s fantastic performance of Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable.” Taiwanese-American pianist Steven Lin, a lithe and expressive performer, was a guest soloist.
Friends of Chamber Music stalwarts like pianist Richard Goode, the Tallis Scholars and the Takacs Quartet are returning and others will make their debut on the series, like the early music ensemble Atalante.
Kansas City’s Fountain City Brass Band is a 30-piece unit ensemble of passionate brass players and percussionists. After concerts this month at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe and a couple in June in Missouri, the group will tour New Zealand and Australia.