Arts & Culture

‘Truly memorable year’ planned for UMKC conservatory’s first events at Kauffman center

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory’s series offer clever collaborations and international sensations, topped with a healthy serving of Gates barbecue in a brand-new venue.

Most of the concerts in the 2011-2012 Conservatory Artist Series will be at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this historic moment,” Peter Witte, conservatory dean, said. “The opportunity for us to put our students and faculty together in the new hall is just exceptional in what promises to be a truly memorable year for this city.”

The concerts in the series display the talent and dedication of UMKC students of music and dance as well as the faculty that work with them throughout the year. Every season attempts to outdo the last, and the coming season is no exception.

A take on local sounds will be explored in the conservatory’s opening performance: “The Gates BBQ Suite.”

“We knew immediately that it would be the first composition we performed at Kauffman. What better way for Kansas City’s conservatory to open a new era than to play a work that celebrates the essence of our city’s greatness,” Witte said.

The prestige of this season’s venue is creating excitement, but there’s a sentimental component, too. For Witte, performing at the Kauffman Center will fulfill grand expectations once hoped for by a dedicated benefactor.

“Muriel McBrien Kauffman was a great friend of the conservatory, and we hope she would have been thrilled to see our students on stage,” Witte said. “Her dream was to create a home for the kind of diverse and exceptional performances our faculty imagined.”

According to Witte, more than 300 conservatory students will have the opportunity to perform in Helzberg Hall.

A second series, the Music Alliance, boasts an impressive list of internationally acclaimed talent, such as Konstantin Lifschitz, the Morgenstern Trio, Jennifer Koh and Shai Wosner. The Music Alliance is a collaborative series in its second year with Friends of Chamber Music. Concerts will be at the conservatory’s home in White Recital Hall and in the Folly Theater.

Single tickets ($10 to $20) and season packages can be purchased through UMKC’s Central Ticket Office, 816-235-6222 or


Conservatory Artist Series
Sept. 28:

Conservatory Concert Jazz Band, Conservatory Wind Symphony, Prism Quartet, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m.

Bobby Watson conducts “The Gates BBQ Suite” with the conservatory’s Concert Jazz Band. The wind symphony performs Corigliano’s Circus Maximus, Symphony No. 3, and the Prism Quartet performs William Bolcom’s Concerto Grosso for saxophone quartet and winds.

Feb. 1:

Pro Arte Quartet, White Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

The quartet celebrates its centennial this season and will have a master class at the conservatory.

Feb. 20:

Conservatory dancers, choirs and wind symphony: Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” Kauffman Center, 7:30 p.m.

Conducted by Robert Bode and choreographed by Paula Weber, the cantata evokes the coming of spring through poetry and Burana’s changing life.

April 28

: Conservatory orchestra, Kauffman Center, 7:30 p.m.

The orchestra will perform Chen Yi’s “Chinese Myths” with traditional Chinese instrumentalists and the conservatory’s dancers and choir. Robert Olson directs.

Music Alliance Feb. 19:

Konstantin Lifschitz, piano, White Recital Hall, 2:30 p.m.

A child prodigy who later performed “the most powerful pianistic interpretation” of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” since Glenn Gould, per The New York Times, also will perform in the Friends of Chamber Music’s Bach Festival in 2012. Lifschitz will offer a master class.

March 16:

Morgenstern Trio, Folly Theater, 8 p.m. Stefan Hempel, Catherine Klipfel and Emanuel Wehse playing the violin, piano and violoncello, respectively, will perform at the Folly and give a master class at the conservatory.

April 21:

Jennifer Koh, violin, Shai Wosner, piano, White Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Internationally renowned Koh partners with Wosner for a night of mixing. A master class will be offered.