Arts & Culture

KC Symphony’s new season of free happy hour concerts will feature stars for first time

The new free Happy Hour Chamber Music Series will include Midori.
The new free Happy Hour Chamber Music Series will include Midori.

With its celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday and the Isaac Stern centennial, the Kansas City Symphony’s 2019-20 main classical series promises to be a real corker.

But don’t forget about Classics Uncorked. Or the symphony’s free Happy Hour concerts.

These side series have proven to be as popular with audiences as the main concerts, with capacity crowds being the rule.

The symphony has announced its new season of Classics Uncorked and Happy Hour concerts, and they look as fun and intriguing as ever.

Classics Uncorked concerts are a trés elegant yet affordable way to unwind after a hard day at work. Two are scheduled next season.

The Happy Hour concerts should be extra happy. For the first time, big-name soloists will join the symphony’s own musicians for these chamber music recitals. It’s an opportunity to hear classical stars like pianist Emanuel Ax and violinists Midori and Vadim Gluzman absolutely free. Be sure to stay afterward to enjoy a libation with the musicians in Brandmeyer Hall.

Sounds Relaxing also returns. Relax and Renew trainer Anita Bailey leads the audience in guided meditation while the orchestra plays relaxing music. With the 2020 election season looming, Sounds Relaxing will be sorely needed.

For more information, 816-471-0400 or

2019-20 Classics Uncorked Concerts

Jan. 21, 2020: In the Spotlight. Flutist Michael Gordon is featured in a concert of Latin American music. Also on the program are two works by Aaron Copland, his Clarinet Concerto, with Raymond Santos as soloist, and “Quiet City.”

March 25: One-Hit Wonders. The hits include “Entrance of the Gladiators,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Sabre Dance.”

7 p.m. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. $25.

Free Happy Hour Chamber Music Series

Sept. 17: Bassooner or Later, It’s Elvis

Oct. 16: Music and the Holocaust

Jan. 30, 2020: Chamber Music with Emanuel Ax

Feb. 18: Fabulously French

April 1: Chamber Music with Midori

April 20: Chamber Music with Vadim Gluzman

May 5: The Bold and the Beethoven

6 p.m. Helzberg Hall. Free. Call 816-471-0400 to reserve tickets.

Sounds Relaxing

Oct. 8: Restorative

April 29, 2020: Revitalize

6:30 p.m. Helzberg Hall. $15.

Lee’s Summit singers — Mozart Requiem

In July 1791, an “unknown, gray stranger” showed up on Mozart’s doorstep with money and a request that the composer write a Requiem for a patron who did not want to be identified.

In the film “Amadeus,” the unknown patron was the composer Antonio Salieri. But it was really Anton Leitgeb, son of the mayor of Vienna and the valet of Count Franz von Walsegg, a lout who liked to pass off other people’s music as his own.

Leitgeb got his money’s worth. Although ill and on the verge of death, Mozart composed (and his pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed) one of the greatest sacred masterpieces ever written.

The Lee’s Summit Summer Singers, with outstanding soloists Victoria Botero, Kristee Haney, David Adams and Joshua Lawlor, will perform this moving work on Aug. 11 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lee’s Summit. Also on the program are two other sacred works by Mozart, his Regina Coeli and heavenly Ave Verum Corpus.

3 p.m. Aug. 11. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 416 SE Grand Ave., Lee’s Summit. $20-$100.

You can reach Patrick Neas at and follow his Facebook page, KC Arts Beat, at