The Kansas City Symphony prides itself in that the organization offers many choices and options to please everyone from young to old, from classical music enthusiast to contemporary music fans as it initiates its 2013-14 concert season.
“Light-hearted or serious, family fun or date night, choral loft or parterre, from violin sensation Joshua Bell to the iconic Kenny G, and from The Wizard of Oz to Ben Folds and more, concertgoers can choose how they want to experience the delightful sounds of the Kansas City Symphony” a Kansas City Symphony spokesman, said.
“ This season includes a myriad of distinguished guest artists, innovative concert formats and a variety of musical programming designed to showcase the Symphony and the sublime acoustics of Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.”
Music Director Michael Stern, said he looks forward to the upcoming season with enthusiasm and excitement. Stern returns for his ninth year as conductor.
“We’ve put together a season replete with great guest artists and extraordinary music,” Stern said. “The beginning of a new concert year is always something exciting, but I truly don’t remember ever being as thrilled to embark on a new season as I am for this one. I’m energized by what is happening here, on stage in Helzberg Hall and in the community as well as by the increasing primacy of music and the arts as a defining part of our lives here in Kansas City.”
KCS prepares and presents weekend concerts over Friday, Saturday evenings, and Sunday afternoons with 14 programs each presented for three performances at Helzberg Hall, The Symphony’s season begins on Oct. 4-6.
The classical season includes great works by Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Dvořák and Berlioz as well as music by Bartók, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff and Mahler. American composers are represented with music by Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ives, Steven Stucky, John Corigliano, plus the Kansas City commission and world premiere of a work by gifted, young American composer Chris Rogerson, a KCS release said.
The Kansas City Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Charles Bruffy, also joins the Symphony for powerful performances of Requiems by composers Gabriel Fauré and Giuseppe Verdi.
To add to the depth and excitement, the classical season also boasts of an impressive addition of guest artists and conductors, including: legendary pianist Leon Fleisher playing Ravel’s Piano Concerto (Left Hand Alone); violinist Joshua Bell returning to perform Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole; and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 performed by beloved pianist André Watts.
Other much-anticipated guests include conductors Bernard Labadie, Jun Märkl and Carlos Miguel Prieto, and beloved programs, such as Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Mahler’s Ninth and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances.
Other guests include the return of violinist Stefan Jackiw and Kansas City’s own brilliant concertmaster Noah Geller, debuting his Classical Series solo for Beethoven's Violin Concerto. Guest pianists Alon Goldstein, Bezhod Abduraimov and Yuja Wang return to appear with the Symphony. gifted prodigy pianist, Andrew Tyson, makes his KCS debut. Virtuoso percussionist Martin Grubinger, returns in 2014. Conductor Gilbert Varga, debuts with the Symphony in the spring. Guitarist Jiyeon Kim also will debut with the Symphony in March 2014. The Almy Legacy Fund, a program that makes it possible each season to feature one of the most promising young talents from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (and the alma mater of Music Director Michael Stern), is providing support for Kim’s performance, a spokesman said.
As an added bonus to the season, music Director Michael Stern will conduct the world premiere and KCS commission of composer Chris Rogerson’s new work. At only 23 years of age, Rogerson brings his established praise and fame, receiving commissions and performances from major performing ensembles across the nation.
Pops, Family and Holiday Concerts With two nights of each performance, the Pops Series features Instrumentalist Kenny G, an ‘80s show with Sheena Easton and Sam Harris, a ‘60s-hits show, plus singer Tony DeSare for Valentine’s Day, comprise the Pops Series for the KCS. The Pops weekends, allows for only two performances as opposed to the normal three for classic concerts, a press release stated. Another feature of the KCS comes from its Family Series. The Family Series includes one performance of the following shows: Beethoven Lives Upstairs; a fun Dr. Seuss-themed show; and a hip trio with a beatboxing flutist.
As the annual holiday season beacons, the Symphony continues holiday traditions with three performances of Handel’s Messiah (featuring the Symphony Chorus and the Independence Messiah Choir) and the return of six performances of the family-favorite Christmas Festival, a holiday concert of classic carols and seasonal songs.
While the standard season series promise to dazzle audiences, this season’s other series and special concerts are equally of note. According to a KCS press release, they include:
Screenland at the Symphony Series: The Symphony and Screenland Theaters present a Halloween night showing of the 1925 silent film, Phantom of the Opera, with live organ accompaniment, and a two-night screening (Feb. 27-28) of The Wizard of Oz as the Symphony performs Harold Arlen’s masterful lost scores for the 75th anniversary of the iconic film.
Special concerts: The female duo, Indigo Girls, performs with the Symphony on Feb. 22, 2014, and pop vocalist Ben Folds stars alongside the Symphony on June 10, 2014.
Classics Uncorked Series: Less formal and themed, the Symphony offers five Classics Uncorked concerts for the season. The concerts feature an earlier start time, shorter concerts and talking from the stage.
Free Happy Hour concerts: The Symphony invites locals to step up to the cash bar for a drink, prior to the 6 p.m. free chamber music concert featuring Symphony musicians. The first concert features works by Beethoven and Brahms on Sept. 6, which is also a First Friday in KC’s Crossroads Arts District. Those interested are encouraged to RSVP in advance via kcsymphony.org.
Symphony Organ Concert Series: Showcasing Helzberg Hall’s magnificent Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant organ, the Symphony continues this three-concert recital series featuring some of today’s most gifted organists.
Special Benefit Concerts: Broadway star and luminous soprano Audra McDonald performs with the Symphony at 8 p.m., Nov. 16 as a benefit for Kansas City Young Audiences. The Texas Tenors, a three-man ensemble blending country, gospel, classical and Broadway, appear with the Symphony at 8 p.m., Dec. 13 as a benefit event for the Mission Project and First Downs for Down syndrome.
The KC Symphony offers a range of ticket prices on both subscriptions and single tickets. Classical subscriptions begin at $100, Pops Series subscriptions at $116 and a child’s subscription is only $10 to the Family Series with a paid adult subscription, which starts at $80.
The 2013-14 season ticket packages are still available online and by calling the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.kcsymphony.org/ for more information.
Tickets for all individual Symphony performances available now.