Classical Music & Dance

The Classical Beat: Canadian choral music blows into KC, and Symphony goes from Bach to the future

Alex Espy, who has appeared in several Coterie theater productions, will narrate Sunday’s KC Symphony production of “Peter and the Wolf.”
Alex Espy, who has appeared in several Coterie theater productions, will narrate Sunday’s KC Symphony production of “Peter and the Wolf.”

Canada doesn’t readily spring to mind as a hotbed of contemporary classical music, but according to Charles Bruffy, some of the most beautiful choral music now being written is coming from Canada.

The Kansas City Chorale will give audiences a taste of this repertoire with two concerts called “North of the Border,” Sunday at Unity Temple and Tuesday at Asbury United Methodist Church.

The Chorale recently toured Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Bruffy was so taken with the music there he wanted to share it with Kansas City.

“Some of the music is high art and some of it is, just frankly, fun,” Bruffy said. “The buzzing of mosquitoes, the crags of mountains, the serenity of the forest and the banging of the woodpecker all come to life in this music.”

The chorale will perform some French songs from Quebec and songs from Newfoundland. Also on the program are two liturgical motets by Healey Willan, considered by many the dean of Canadian composers.

2 p.m. Sunday at Unity Temple, 707 W. 47th St. and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Asbury United Methodist Church, 5400 W. 75th St., Prairie Village. $10-$30. 816-235-6222

Stile Antico: Music for House of Hapsburg

Over the past decade, Stile Antico has established itself as one of the finest choral ensembles in the world.

The group of young British singers will present a program of Renaissance music written for the House of Hapsburg Friday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The Hapsburg monarchs commissioned glorious music ranging from delightful chansons to grand coronation anthems. Some of the greatest composers from around the world composed for the Hapsburg court, such as Thomas Tallis and Josquin des Prez.

Stile Antico will perform a nice sampling of this rich repertoire.

8 p.m. Friday. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 416 W. 12th. $35. 816-561-9999 or www.chambermusic.org.

Modern Night at the Folly: Choreographer’s Showcase

City in Motion will present its 12th annual choreographers’ showcase, “A Modern Night at the Folly,” on Saturday at the Folly Theater.

The annual program is a wonderful way to discover what cutting-edge choreographers are up to. This year’s program will feature works based on the themes of ancestral memory, struggle, survival, acceptance and forgiveness. Some of the choreographers taking part include Vance R. Baldwin, Muriel Cohan, Dale Fellin, Kameron N. Saunders and Mary Pat Henry.

8 p.m. Saturday. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th. $15-$25. 816-474-4444 or www.FollyTheater.org.

Northland Symphony Orchestra

The Northland Symphony Orchestra, one of the area’s excellent community orchestras, will give a concert of music by Gerald Finzi, Charles Gounod, Gustav Mahler and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky on Saturday at Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church.

A particularly delightful work on the program that is almost never heard in concert is Charles Gounod’s “Petite Symphonie.”

Gounod, the composer of the operas “Faust” and “Romeo and Juliet,” knew how to write a tune, and his “Petite Symphonie” overflows with melody. Another highlight on the program is the “Variations on a Rococo Theme” by Tchaikovsky. Susie Yang is the soloist for this cello showpiece.

7:30 p.m. Saturday. Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church, 7600 N.W. Barry Road. Free. www.northlandsymphony.org.

KC Symphony: Peter and the Wolf

Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” has introduced generations of children to classical music.

Over the years a diverse group of personalities has taken a shot at narrating the work, from Captain Kangaroo to David Bowie. The Kansas City Symphony conducted by Aram Demirjian will perform the beloved work Sunday at Helzberg Hall. Alex Espy, who has appeared in several Coterie theater productions, will do the narrating.

This performance will have a sports theme, with mascots from local sports teams and universities depicting the various characters. Audience members are invited to wear their favorite team’s sports regalia and cheer on Peter and his menagerie.

2:30 p.m. Sunday. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. $35. 816-471-0400 or www.kcsymphony.org.

Classics Uncorked: Bach to the Future

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach isn’t heard that often on the Kansas City Symphony’s main classical series, and that’s a shame.

I suppose Bach’s music, which uses a smaller-scale orchestra, doesn’t lend itself well to concerts where the audience expects to hear the symphony at full throttle. But the Kansas City Symphony led by associate conductor Aram Demirjian will give the baroque giant his due Thursday night at Helzberg Hall.

“Bach to the Future” is the next Classics Uncorked, one of the Symphony’s reasonably priced concerts that include a glass of wine or champagne with the price of the ticket.

True to the name, the program will include lots of music by Bach, like his Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and an oboe concerto, and will leap into the future with music by the 20th century composer Igor Stravinsky and even beyond into the 21st century with a work by Christopher Theofanidis.

To get you in the proper futuristic frame of mind, the Symphony will have a DeLorean car on display at the Kauffman Center. No word on whether it will be powered by a Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor. Tesla, eat your heart out.

7 p.m. Thursday. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. $25. 816-471-0400 or www.kcsymphony.org.

Patrick Neas is program director for RadioBach.com. To reach him, send email to pneas@jccc.edu.

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