As general manager of the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College, Emily Behrmann has a knack for combining high and low, mass appeal and esoterica in just the right measure.
Behrmann’s recently announced 2016-17 season is a perfect example of her talent for catering to a wide variety of tastes.
For the high-brow, there are the Bach Aria Soloists and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. For head-bangers, there’s Classic Albums Live performing Led Zeppelin.
And for lovers of the bizarre, Seven Fingers of the Hand will combine aerial acrobatics and … wait for it … cooking.
“We try to offer something for as many audiences as we can,” Behrmann said. “Things for families, things that are a little bit quirky, things that are more traditional. Our dance audience is smaller, but they have a specific taste, so we try to fill that niche with a lot of contemporary dance.”
Next year also will see the return of the Wichita Grand Opera company with Giacomo Puccini’s “La Boheme.” The company put on an impressive “Turandot” last year in Yardley Hall. Several chamber ensembles also will take advantage of the Polsky Theatre’s recently installed acoustical enhancements. Behrmann said musicians who have performed in the Polsky Theatre this past season have been overwhelmingly positive.
“Elizabeth Suh Lane (director of the Bach Aria Soloists) was here when we tuned the system and were testing it and setting the levels, and she was so impressed, she wanted to bring the Bach Aria Soloists back to the Polsky to perform with the system,” Behrmann said. “Soprano Sarah Anderson was also here and experienced what’s possible and she was also impressed. Local folks are starting to realize that this is a venue where they can perform and be showcased in a very positive way.”
Next season, audiences can also look forward to a freshened-up Carlsen Center. Renovations on Yardley Hall and the Polsky Theatre will begin June 1st and will be finished by mid-September.
“It’s been 25 years, and we’ll finally have new carpet and new paint,” Behrmann said. “Polsky is going to look quite a bit different because it will be a different color scheme. Yardley Hall will just look a little more updated. These spaces were built in the late 1980s, and that’s when mauve and brass were all the rage. It’s coming back a bit, but not enough.”
Behrmann said that Yardley Hall, which will have all of its seats re-covered, will incorporate more red in its color scheme.
“I think you’ll find it will be just as comfortable as it’s always been, but a little richer, and the warmth that the space has will be maintained.”
At 22, Edgar Moreau is already one of the finest cellists in the world, even if he isn’t exactly a household name. That’s where a Discovery Concert comes in.
The Harriman-Jewell Series will introduce the cello wunderkind to Kansas City in a free recital this Friday at the Folly Theater.
Moreau is truly an amazing talent. He won the Young Soloist Prize in the 2009 Rostropovich Cello Competition in Paris, in 2011 he won the Second Prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and in 2015 he was awarded the Harriman-Jewell Series Young Concert Artists Performance Prize. Moreau has also performed with some of the greatest classical artists of the day, such as Valery Gergiev, Gidon Kremer and András Schiff.
For his Kansas City debut, Moreau will be joined by pianist Jessica Osborne in music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Cesar Franck, Alfred Schnittke and Frederic Chopin.
Timothy McDonald, artistic director of Musica Sacra is never one to settle for the trite and familiar, when he can introduce his audience to the new and unusual. That’s why McDonald so often conducts the music of Michael Haydn. Everyone knows the music of Franz Joseph Haydn. The music of his younger brother, Michael, not so much.
Sunday at Arrupe Hall on the Rockhurst University campus, McDonald will lead his choir and orchestra in a real rarity: Michael Haydn’s Mass in Honor of St. Ursula. Completed in 1793, the St. Ursula Mass has a symphonic sound with a jubilant instrumentation of bassoons, trumpets, trombones and timpani. Come early at 6:15 for McDonald’s “Live Program” notes for more interesting tidbits about the work.
City in Motion 30th Anniversary
Since 1986, City in Motion Dance Theater has been a vital part of Kansas City’s arts scene.
The enterprising company has given area choreographers and dancers an opportunity to exercise their creativity and delight audiences. City in Motion has also done extremely important work through its educational programs and other outreach.
City in Motion will celebrate its landmark birthday with a 30th Anniversary Concert this Friday and Saturday and May 1 at the H&R Block City Stage at Union Station. Works by several cutting-edge choreographers will be featured, including pieces by the company’s co-directors, Andrea Skowronek and Stephanie Whittler.
▪ 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. May 1 at H&R Block City Stage Theater at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road. $15 to $20. 816-460-2020 or http://tinyurl.com/jk7lg64. To learn more about City in Motion, visit CityInMotion.org.
Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning “Amadeus” may not be historically accurate, but, come on, who cares? It’s so much fun, and, as someone aptly described it, the play is simply a “fantasia on Mozart’s life.” Spinning Tree Theatre will present “Amadeus” for 14 performances beginning Thursday at the Arts Asylum.
The Spinning Tree production stars Michael Reiser as the “boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile” Mozart and two of Kansas City’s best-known and best-loved actors fill out the other lead roles. Robert Gibby Brand is Mozart’s embittered rival, Salieri, and Walter Coppage, the dimwitted Emperor Joseph II.
Kansas City Chamber Orchestra
The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra led by Bruce Sorrell will perform a world premiere, as well as Baroque and classical favorites this Thursday at Old Mission United Methodist Church. George Frideric Handel’s ever-popular Water Music and Haydn’s Symphony No. 60 are the big works on the program and oboist Margaret Marco will be the soloist for “A Siege of Herons,” a brand new oboe concerto by Forrest Pierce. It’s one of Sorrell’s typically delightful programs of old and new.
You can reach Patrick Neas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JCCC Performing Arts Series 2016-17 Season
All performances at Johnson County Community College’s Yardley Hall unless otherwise noted. For more information, call 913-469-4445 or visit JCCC.edu/TheSeries.
▪ Oct. 9: Basetrack (partnership with JCCC Veterans and Military Resources)
▪ Oct. 15: Wichita Grand Opera performs “La Boheme”
▪ Oct. 21: Garrison Keillor
▪ Oct. 22: Art of Time Ensemble presents Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
▪ Oct. 28: Havana Cuba All-Stars
▪ Oct 29: Gingger Shankar (Polsky Theatre)
▪ Nov. 4: Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles featuring Aida Cuevas, vocals
▪ Nov. 6: Blues Brothers Revue
▪ Nov. 18: Foreigner Unplugged (the real band, minus Lou Gramm, not a tribute)
▪ Dec. 1: Annie (Broadway tour)
▪ Dec. 3: Ten Tenors Holiday Concert
▪ Dec. 8: Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Holiday Show
▪ Jan. 20-21, 2017: Koresh Dance
▪ Jan. 27: Jackie Robinson
▪ Feb. 3: Richter Uzur Duo (guitar and cello) (Polsky)
▪ Feb. 4: Classic Albums LIVE – Led Zeppelin
▪ Feb. 17: Five Irish Tenors
▪ Feb. 18: Bach Aria Soloists performs Igor Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat" (Polsky)
▪ Feb. 23 & 24: Ethel String Quartet and Robert Mirabal, native American flute (Polsky)
▪ Feb. 25: Bodytraffic, contemporary dance
▪ March 3: The Triplets of Belleville, film with live accompaniment (Polsky)
▪ March 10: Dakha Brakha (Polsky)
▪ March 11: Seven Fingers of the Hand, Cuisine and Confessions
▪ March 18: Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (partnership with Friends of Chamber Music, Kansas City)
▪ March 19: Jazz 100 — celebrating 100th birthdays of Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Manga Sanataria and Duke Ellington, featuring Danilo Perez, piano, Lizz Wright, vocals plus more
▪ March 22-25: Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, script in hand performances (Polsky)
▪ March 31: Paragon Ragtime Orchestra (Polsky)
▪ April 7 & 8: Trio Virado (Polsky)
▪ April 21: Bobby McFerrin
▪ April 30: Muppet Movie Singalong (Polsky)
▪ May 13: Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway
▪ May 20: Joey Alexander, jazz piano