Arts & Culture

Half of Harriman-Jewell season will be at Kauffman Center

After being squeezed out of its part-time home in the Music Hall, the Harriman-Jewell Series has presented all of its performing arts programs for the last three seasons in the Folly Theater.

Come fall, the cultural landscape changes, and Harriman-Jewell will have two more (and larger) venues to employ -- the theater and concert hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The series, indeed, will present half of its 2011-12 season at the Kauffman Center.

And, as with other top cultural organizations in town, Harriman-Jewell pumped up its budget and planned a season filled with formidable enticements.

"Despite the up-and-down economy, we have to recognize that this is an amazing moment -- what we’ve become as a cultural community in Kansas City. Our hope is that everyone sells more tickets next year," said Clark Morris, Harriman-Jewell’s executive and artistic director.

For one thing, the Kauffman Center’s Helzberg Hall, a state-of-the-art concert facility with 1,600 seats, will allow Harriman-Jewell to return to its longtime practice of presenting some of the great orchestras of the world.

So next season, the series includes the symphony orchestras of Vienna (Nov. 9) and Hamburg (Jan. 25, 2012) in the new concert hall.

"The Kauffman Center helps us to fulfill our mission to bring the best," Morris said. "We haven’t been able to bring orchestras of that size and renown to the Folly. And that’s something that has been uniquely our role in the community."

Traditional European orchestras boast upward of 100 musicians, so the staging and economics are key factors.

"We couldn’t have done the Vienna Symphony in the Folly," Morris said.

The Folly, at about 1,000 seats, will be Harriman-Jewell’s home for nine of its 18 events next season, and Morris was quick to note that the intimate space of the historic theater remains a favorite for virtually every musician who plays there.

"They love its excellent acoustics and that intimate feeling," Morris said.

The Harriman-Jewell season opens Sept. 24 with a recital by violinist Caroline Goulding at the Folly, one of four free Discovery Concerts featuring rising young artists.

Big-name soloists returning to the Harriman-Jewell program in 2011-12 include pianists Marc-André Hamelin, who gave a knockout recital here last spring, and Murray Perahia; flutist James Galway; and violinist Midori. Vocalists include Vivica Genaux, mezzo-soprano; tenor Juan Diego Flórez and tenor Giuseppe Filianoti, who’ll be continuing another Harriman-Jewell tradition by making his American recital debut on a Kansas City stage.

The first series event at the Kauffman Center will be Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on Oct. 1. That will be an early opportunity to hear how Helzberg Hall’s highly anticipated sparkling acoustics treat a brass-heavy, concert-style big band.

In addition to the Kauffman’s concert hall, Harriman-Jewell has scheduled two dance programs in the 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theater. Parsons Dance Company, led by Kansas City native David Parsons, returns to the series on Jan. 28, 2012. On its program will be a new work, premiered last week in New York, that Parsons wrote in honor of series founder Richard Harriman.

Harriman first presented Parsons when he danced with the Paul Taylor company in 1984, then booked Parsons’ own company on its first national tour in 1988 -- who can forget seeing Parsons’ electrifying "Caught" for the first time?

Morris, who became series impresario after Harriman’s death in July, already considers the 2011-12 season to be a poignant one.

In his last hours in the hospital, Morris recounted, Harriman told him that his only regret was not being around long enough to see the opening of the Kauffman Center.

To reach Steve Paul, call 816-234-4762, or use or


The 2011-12 series will be Harriman-Jewell’s 47th season. The lineup includes nine programs each at the Folly Theater and the Kauffman Center. Full-season and partial ticket packages are available now; for information: 816-415-5025. Those who subscribe by April 1 will receive free tickets to the holiday concert by the DePue Brothers Band.

The lineup:

Sept. 24: Violinist Caroline Goulding. Folly. Discovery Concert, free.

Oct. 1: Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Helzberg Hall.

Oct. 15: Marc-André Hamelin, piano. Folly.

Oct. 27: Midori, violin. Folly.

Nov. 3:, James Galway, flute. Folly.

Nov. 9: Vienna Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fabio Luisi, with Eroica Trio (in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto); last heard on the series in 2003. Helzberg Hall.

Nov. 19: Alek Shrader, tenor. Folly. Discovery Concert, free.

Dec. 19: DePue Brothers Band -- comprising four violinist brothers -- holiday concert. Helzberg Hall.

Jan. 20, 2012: Freddy Kempf, piano. Folly. Discovery Concert, free.

Jan. 25: Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, directed by Jeffrey Tate, with Guy Braunstein, violin soloist (in Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77). Helzberg Hall.

Jan. 28: Parsons Dance. The 11th series appearance by the company, led by Kansas City native David Parsons, includes a tribute to Richard Harriman. Muriel Kauffman Theater.

Feb. 3: Vivica Genaux, mezzo-soprano, with Europa Galante, an Italian chamber orchestra conducted by Fabio Biondi. The program will include works from the performers’ Grammy- nominated recording of Vivaldi arias. Folly.

March 11: Ray Chen, violin. Helzberg Hall. Discovery Concert, free.

March 14: Murray Perahia, one of the best-known and most admired pianists on the circuit. Folly.

March 16: Red Star Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble. The spectacle-oriented troupe with Soviet-era origins made its Harriman debut on its first national tour in 1992. Helzberg Hall.

March 31: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

April 7: Juan Diego Flórez, Peruvian tenor making his fourth appearance on the series. Helzberg Hall.

April 21: Giuseppe Filianoti, tenor, American recital debut. Folly.