Symphony and Kauffman Center to be featured nationally on PBS

The Kansas City Symphony and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will be featured in the nationally broadcast PBS Summer Arts Festival.

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will appear with the Symphony in March, and local public television station KCPT will film the performance for the multipart weekly series on PBS, which begins in June.

Having the Symphony and the Kauffman Center featured on the Summer Festival will allow Kansas City to strut its cultural stuff on the national stage, said Randy Mason, KCPT’s executive producer for cultural affairs.

“Very few times does a symphony outside the major markets get this kind of national attention — almost never, in fact,” Mason said. “We’ll sprinkle in the personalities and professional accomplishments of Michael Stern and Joyce DiDonato, the meeting of maestro and the mezzo, if you will, with some majestic music in a majestic hall. It should make Kansas City proud.”

Mason said plans to feature Kansas City’s new performing arts venue started to form while the affiliate was working on “Raise the Roof,” a documentary of the building of the Kauffman Center.

“It struck me that the stars might never align this well again,” he said. “We had the Symphony playing better than ever, plus a hometown hero (DiDonato) returning to our brand-new world-class venue — all coinciding with the PBS festival which aims to showcase the breadth of America’s arts activity. To top it off, Paula Kerger, the president of PBS, came to town for a conference, and thanks to Jane Chu, got whisked away on an impromptu after-hours tour of the center — which no doubt helped our cause greatly.”