Ailey dancers bring new works to Kauffman Center

In addition to the Big Three — the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera and the Kansas City Ballet — Kansas City’s other arts organizations are availing themselves of the sparkling new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey will present its first concert in the Kauffman Center when the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and at 2 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, 1601 Broadway.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said Tyrone Aiken, executive director of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. “We have five ticketed performances and two performances just for students from the metro. We have about 25 schools coming, and those performances are all sold out. Not only will the students have the opportunity to see the Kauffman Center, but also the company will look wonderful on that stage. There’s a reverence to the space that is very uplifting. It’s wonderful how close you feel to what’s happening on the stage.”

It has been a while since the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has visited Kansas City.

“They’re based in New York, but we’re their official second home,” Aiken said, “but they haven’t been here since 2008. Thirty dancers will be gracing the stage with some revivals but also many dances that are new to Kansas City.”

Robert Battle, who has been the company’s artistic director since July 1, has chosen two programs for its Kansas City performances.

“But all the programs will close with Alvin Ailey’s masterwork, ‘Revelations,’ ” Aiken said. “It’s just past the 50-year mark for that work. It’s a classic. But in addition to that, we have a number of new works, including some by Battle, like ‘The Hunt,’ which is a tour-de-force.

“They’ll also be performing other new works like ‘Anointed’ by Christopher Huggins and ‘The Evolution of a Secure Feminine’ by Camille Brown. ‘Anointed’ is really a beautifully vivid, powerful work performed by the whole company, and it’s very popular. People like it a great deal. ‘Evolution of a Secure Feminine’ is a solo work and is much more textured.”

Saturday night’s performance is fundraising gala for the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

“Saturday night is special because we’re having a premiere, which we’re calling a preview because its official premiere will be in New York,” Aiken said. “It’s a hip-hop piece about people who have been impacted by HIV-AIDS. It’s a new work by Reginald Harris, and the piece is being made right now, so it’s not even titled yet.

“There’s an incredible variety to all the performances that the Ailey company will present in Kansas City, and variety is what Alvin always wanted.”

For tickets, call 816-994-7222 or visit



Friends of Chamber Music: Rebel

When the early music movement first got going in the late 1960s and early ’70s, the quest for authenticity often resulted in stiff, uptight performances that were the musical equivalent of brown rice and tofu — good for you but not very tasty.

In recent years, early music groups have started to loosen up and are playing with a lot more verve and sizzle. One of the liveliest of the recent period instrument ensembles is Rebel, which the Friends of Chamber Music will present at 8 p.m. Friday at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St.

For its program, “Out of the Eclipse: Music of Transformation and Revelation,” the New York-based group will be joined by tenor Rufus Müller. The “transformation” theme will be explored through the vocal and instrumental works of Henry Purcell, George Frideric Handel, Georg Philip Telemann and Antonio Vivaldi.

For tickets, call 816-561-9999 or visit



Harriman-Jewell: Alek Shrader

There’s often a lot of hyperbole where up-and-coming opera singers are concerned. A meteoric rise can soon sputter and fizzle. Alek Shrader, however, is a bona fide rising star.

He was one of the winners of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and he has already had starring roles with Opera de Lille, the Hamburg Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival. The critics can’t seem to say enough good things about the tenor. The Harriman-Jewell series will present Shrader in one of its free Discovery concerts at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.

Among the many composers whose songs Shrader will perform are Gabriel Fauré, Franz Liszt, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Igor Stravinksy and Kansas City native Virgil Thomson. He will be accompanied by pianist Allen Perriello.

To print off your tickets, visit



Bach Aria Soloists

How can you not love Ferdinand? The gentle bull just wants to smell the flowers and not fight in a bullring.

Munro Leaf wrote this sweet and charming story in 1936, mostly to give his friend, artist Robert Lawson, something to illustrate. Little did he know “Ferdinand” would become one of the most beloved books in children’s literature and even inspire a cartoon by Walt Disney that won the Academy Award for best short subject in 1938.

In 1971, British composer Alan Ridout took the work and adapted it for solo violin and narrator. Actor Stuart Rider, who has performed with virtually every Kansas City theater company, will join violinist Elizabeth Suh Lane, artistic director of the Bach Aria Soloists, for “Ferdinand the Bull” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Kansas City Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. Rider and the Bach Aria soloists also will perform other works to delight the whole family,

The concert is free and open to the public. To learn more about the Bach Aria Soloists, visit



Kansas City Wind Symphony

Autumn winds will rustle the leaves when the Kansas City Wind Symphony presents “All That Jazz” at 2 p.m. today at Lake View Village, 9100 Park Street, Lenexa, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 20 at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village

The ensemble led by Phillip Posey will perform lots of jazzy favorites, including dances from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” and George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

The concerts are free and open to the public. To find out more about the Kansas City Wind Symphony, visit



UMKC: ‘Marriage of Figaro’

Mozart lovers are striking gold this fall. Hot on the heels of the Lyric Opera’s production of “Così Fan Tutte,” the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance will present another Mozart/Lorenzo Da Ponte collaboration, “The Marriage of Figaro,” for four performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at White Recital Hall, 4949 Cherry St.

For tickets, call 816-235-6222 or visit