2018 Bank of America Celebration at the Station to re-air Fourth of July

The rebroadcast of Kansas City Symphony’s 16th annual Bank of America Celebration at the Station concert from Sunday, May 27, 2018, will air on or near Fourth of July in the following markets. Check local listings to confirm days and times.

KCPT, Kansas City Public Television — Wed., July 4 at 8:30 p.m. on 19.1 and Sat., July 7 at 8 p.m. on 19.2

Nebraska ETV (state wide) — Sun., July 1 at 5 p.m. on NET
Iowa Public Television (state wide) — Sun., July 1 at 1 p.m. on IPTV.1
Smoky Hills Public Television, Bunker Hill, KS
KPTS, Wichita, KS — Wed., July 4 at 10 p.m.
KTWU, Topeka, KS — Wed., July 4 at 8:30 p.m. on 11.1; Wed., July 4 at 11 p.m. on 11.3 and Tues., July 10 at 9:30 p.m. on 11.3
St. Louis Public Television — Sun. July 1 at 3 p.m. and Thur., July 5 at 1 a.m.
KMOS, Warrensburg, MO — Wed., July 4 at 8:30 p.m. and Thur., July 5 at 12 a.m.
Ozarks Public Television, Springfield, MO — Thur., July 5 at 8 p.m.
AETN, Arkansas Public Television — Sun., July 1 at 12:30 p.m.
RSU Public TV, Rogers State University, Claremore, OK — Wed., July 4 at 1 p.m. on 35.1 HD

To read more about the Kansas City Symphony’s 2018/19 season, visit the upcoming concerts page.

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Get to Know Guest Violinist Augustin Hadelich

Augustin Hadelich
Augustin Hadelich

Hadelich performs with the Kansas City Symphony led by Michael Stern for the June 15-17 concerts — Mendelssohn’s “Italian” and Haydn. For tickets, call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 or select seats online. 

We’re happy to have you back, Augustin! You were last with us in 2015 to perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Are you looking forward to performing again with the orchestra in Helzberg Hall?

I am really looking forward to returning to Kansas City! I love the collaboration with Michael [Stern] and the orchestra, and the hall was wonderful as well. This time we’ll do very different repertoire, which I think is ideally suited for such a great concert hall. In a way, the hall is like a second instrument that adds its sound and resonance to the sound of my violin. When that “second instrument” so beautifully complements the sounds of my violin, it’s a joy to play in it. 

You’re performing Haydn’s First Violin Concerto and Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto, “Concentric Paths.” Can you tell us a little about each piece? You’ll also be playing your own cadenza for the Haydn, correct? How long have you been working on that?

The Haydn Concerto in C Major has been a favorite of mine for many years. It is a delightful piece, which is often neglected in favor of Mozart’s concertos. As is typical of Haydn, the music is witty with many surprises, and the form quite unpredictable. The slow movement is sweet serenade played over plucking strings — half love song, half prayer. It almost feels like time is standing still.

At the time the piece was written, it was the tradition that the violinist would compose or improvise a cadenza, reflecting on the themes of the movement or showing off on the violin. During the 19th century composers trusted violinists less and less to write tasteful cadenzas, and increasingly wrote the cadenzas themselves. About 10 years ago, I decided to write my own cadenzas for the Haydn, and had a lot of fun doing so! I will be playing my own cadenzas for these concerts.

I believe that “Concentric Paths,” the violin concerto by Thomas Adès, is the most important addition to the violin repertoire since Ligeti’s concerto appeared in 1992. Concentric Paths is cast in three contrasting movements: the first movement, “Rings,” is very fast and colorful, a kaleidoscope full of circular, irregularly pulsating patterns. The profoundly emotional second movement, “Paths,” is a passacaglia, (an homage to Bach’s Chaconne). The sequences advance like concentric circles, each note pushing on the next, constantly increasing the tension until it finally reaches an almost unbearable intensity. Eventually, a release occurs: the circles start descending the other way, each note a poignant resolution from the previous one. Every time I perform this piece, the music is stuck in my head for weeks.

“Rounds,” the groovy final movement, is lighter in spirit. It makes me think of cavemen dancing around a fire! Eventually the circles become faster and faster until the music leaves orbit, or crashes back down to earth, depending on how you look at it.

The entire concerto is extremely difficult for everyone involved. Adès asks the soloist to go to the extremes of what is possible on the instrument, often playing incredibly high pitches on the instrument. At the same time, his amazing orchestration explores the lowest registers. There are moments that sound like a chasm is opening up! 

You’ve performed all over the globe. What have been some of your highlights to date? What’s next for you after Kansas City?

After Kansas City, I will actually have a short holiday, which I will spend in Italy visiting my family, before an exciting summer season starts. This summer, I’ll be performing in Mexico, in Aspen and Vail, Colorado, at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and on a tour across New Zealand with the New Zealand Symphony!

I’ve lived in New York City since 2004, so performing at Carnegie Hall and at Lincoln Center is always a special highlight. Also, playing my debuts at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Wigmore Hall in London were moments I will always remember. 

Who are your favorite composers of all time, and why?

I find it impossible to pick a favorite — that would be an injustice to the others that I also love. I am totally focused on what I am playing at the moment, so if you ask me this question in June 2018, the answer will be Haydn and Thomas Adès! I greatly enjoy the variety of playing so many works by composers so different from each other! If I had to pick only one composer whose complete works I could take on a desert island, I would have to go with Beethoven — not only because of his violin music, but also his piano and string quartet writing.  

When not making music, what do you like to do? Is there anything you want to do in KC while you’re here visiting beyond the rehearsals and concerts?

Many people don’t realize how little of my time is spent playing my instrument, and how much is traveling, writing, thinking up programs and booking flights. The playing is the fun part!

When I am home in New York, I often get together with friends and play board games!


Tickets for Mendelssohn’s “Italian” and Haydn start at only $25. Purchase online or by calling the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Get to Know Guest Pianist Martin Helmchen

We’re thrilled you’re joining the Kansas City Symphony and Maestro Johannes Debus for the June 1-3 concerts. Will this be your first time playing with the Kansas City Symphony in Helzberg Hall?

Yes, it will be my first time, even my first time in Kansas, so I’m extremely excited!

Tell us about performing Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto. What’s preparation like for you? Since you’re constantly performing in new spaces on different instruments, what types of adjustments do you make upon arrival of a new place?

This adjusting process is one of the big challenges in a pianist’s life. Because it is about a new place, new acoustics and an unknown piano all at once. It’s about getting an intuitive feel for an instrument and a space within a short period of time. Sometimes on a tour, [I have] just a 20 minutes of practice time in the hall. The “Emperor” Concerto, though, is in that context relatively easy, as it works very well on very different types of instruments. Beethoven anyway always dreamt of (and wrote for!) instruments he didn’t have at the time.

When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician? Did you only play piano?

I knew that after about one year of getting piano lessons, when I was 7 or 8. There was nothing more exciting and rewarding right from the start. But there was always so much to work on and to explore, I never seriously thought about learning another instrument. Still, I find the way that a piano works quite mysterious and challenging — actually it can only play softer or louder, you cannot shape a single note, so many things that make singing or a melody instrument fascinating (like the breath, etc.) you have to create “artificially.”

What advice do you give to aspiring pianists?

Follow the route that you find artistically valuable and that you feel drawn to, not what you think people would want to hear, or expect you to play like. Never stop learning and developing your own personal voice in all commitment and dedication to the composer’s intent and the miracle of their works. And do improvise! I regret that I never really did that…

When you’re not practicing or performing, what do you like to do in your leisure time?

Family time, gardening work, sports cars, Theology, soccer.


To purchase tickets to hear Beethoven’s “Emperor” and Wagner’s Ring concerts on June 1-3 in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City, please contact the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or select seats online.

Get to Know Guest Conductor Johannes Debus

Johannes DebusyMaestro Debus leads the Kansas City Symphony for the June 1-3 concerts. The program features selections from Wagner’s Ring cycle and Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto featuring Martin Helmchen. Tickets from $25. Learn more.

We’re looking forward to the June 1-3 concerts! Tell us about the program. Why did you choose to pair the Beethoven “Emperor” with selections from Wagner’s Ring?

The starting point for the program was the “Emperor” concerto, arguably one of the greatest, most sublime, august, grand, complete and almost supernatural creations in that genre. Somehow I felt a “Ring Without Words” would be a perfect match. Wagner seems to continue with Beethoven’s key signature ideas. In a different way, we encounter in the Ring as well the sublime, august, grand, heroic and supernatural. To Beethoven’s dimension of universality and the absolute, Wagner adds his ideas of transcendence and redemption.

Have you conducted the Kansas City Symphony before? Will this be your first time in Helzberg Hall?

Since I have always heard such amazing things about Helzberg Hall and its “home team,” I’m very much looking forward to making my debut with the Kansas City Symphony in its celebrated concert hall. This will also mark my very first visit to Kansas City. BTW: Congrats on being designated by the UNESCO as a “City of Music.” Speaks for itself!

When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician? Did you always want to be a conductor?

The fascination of being a conductor, the fascination of somehow sculpting and defining the manifold waves of sound an orchestra builds, the idea of bringing all those incredible masterpieces encoded in music scores to life and bringing the various voices in it together — I guess I must have been in my early teens when this seed of a passionate dream started to grow. There was a magnetic force of attraction towards this profession.

What advice do you give to aspiring students?

You live and learn.

After Kansas City, what’s next in your schedule? What are upcoming highlights for you?

Right after Kansas City, I will be at Scotiafest in Halifax celebrating Philip Glass. Then off to the Bregenz Festival where we are going to bring Berthold Goldschmidt’s masterpiece Beatrice Cenci on stage. My personal highlight of this summer, however, will be the launch of a new festival in Prince Edward County end of August.


To purchase tickets to BEETHOVEN’S “EMPEROR” and WAGNER’S RING on June 1-3, 2018 in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, please call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 or select seats online.

 

Free Kansas City Symphony Concert, Fireworks, Family Activities, Veteran Services on Deck for 2018 Bank of America Celebration at the Station

The Symphony’s 16th annual Memorial Day weekend event features live pre-show music, food trucks, family activities, veteran services, Symphony concert and KC’s largest fireworks display.

The Kansas City Symphony welcomes all ages to its 16th annual Bank of America Celebration at the Station on Sunday, May 27, held at Union Station.

As the largest FREE Memorial Day Weekend event in the Midwest, with an expected attendance of 50,000, the Symphony continues to expand its annual gift to the region while honoring the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Grounds open at 3 p.m. with pre-concert entertainment by the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America’s Hot Brass! ensemble, A La Mode and Heartland Men’s Chorus. Adding to the festivities, an array of family friendly activities in the Lee Jeans Family Zone, veteran offerings in the Honeywell Veterans Place and nearly 20 food trucks, will be on site.

The Honeywell Veterans Place includes the Veterans Community Project tiny home model, the V.A. Mobile Vet unit, Kansas City Public Television’s large-scale Vietnam map, Warrior’s Best Friend, KC Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Bank of America’s financial health information and resources for veterans and active-duty military, as well as a tent with even more resources and opportunities for veterans.

At 8 p.m., Music Director Michael Stern will lead the Kansas City Symphony and guests in a 100-minute, no-intermission concert filled with patriotic favorites such as “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Armed Forces Salute” and Tchaikovsky’s ever-rousing “1812 Overture.”

To recognize the great Leonard Bernstein, who would have been 100 this year, the Symphony will perform selections from the musical “On the Town.” As orchestras across the world commemorate Bernstein this year, the Kansas City Symphony continues its celebration of the composer not only in this outdoor concert but also at its season finale concerts, June 22-24, with Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety performed by guest pianist Ran Dank.

To mark the 100th anniversary of WWI ending in 1918, guest baritone John Brancy will sing a WWI-era song, “God Be with Our Boys Tonight” as well as “Danny Boy.” Guest host and narrator Jim Birdsall (announcer for CNBC and NFL Films) and members of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America also will take part in the concert, including Airman First Class Melissa Edgmon who will sing “God Bless America” and “Star-Spangled Banner” with a flyover by KC Flight.

The program culminates at 9:40 p.m. with a grand finale when all eyes turn skyward for the city’s largest display of choreographed fireworks, presented to the beat of patriotic music and overlooking the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

Attendees are encouraged to take the Kansas City streetcar, which is free to ride, and will operate until 11 p.m. The streetcar runs a 2-mile loop with 16 stops from the River Market area through downtown and the Crossroads Arts District to Union Station, which is the event stop. For additional parking options, view a map here.

As the event draws near, the Symphony will post details regarding pre-show entertainment, special exhibits and more at kcsymphony.org/celebration and on the Symphony’s FacebookTwitterInstagram and Snapchat accounts. The official event hashtag is #celebrationkc.

Kansas City Public Television (KCPT) will broadcast the event live on Channel 19 and re-air the event on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. The rebroadcast airs regionally on Independence Day as well. For the first time, the Bridge 90.9 FM also will live stream the concert on the radio and online at bridge909.org.

Remembering Leonard Bernstein

By Michael Stern, music director

Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 years old on August 25, 2018. As we launch into his centenary, we devote these varied programs to celebrating his legacy, and it is right and fitting, and should come as no surprise to anyone. No musician before him, and none since, has loomed quite as large on the musical landscape. No one has had such a multifaceted impact, mostly because no one has been so multitalented. No musician ever stood for music, for the arts, and for the social impact of what music and musicians might accomplish more than he did. Now, more than ever, I think about that, and him.

Leonard Bernstein

Lenny — as he exhorted everyone to call him — identified himself as a composer, though he was in fact so much more. It’s impossible, in considering the totality of what he was, to separate his private musical muse from his onstage personality as a performer or his social profile as a public figure. His legacy as a composer, however, is undeniable. The synergy of his imagination and talent collided spectacularly with the energy and possibility of America as she emerged from World War II. Ambition, daring, enormous hard work and a refusal to be straightjacketed by the conventions of the past defined the post-war climate in our country, and these are all hallmarks of his music. Lenny threw open the gates to allow American music to express itself in a completely new way. There had been authentically American composers who made their mark, of course, from Ives, Griffes and all of Tin Pan Alley, including Gershwin, to his own contemporaries. Lenny intimately knew and understood their music, and chief among them was his mentor Aaron Copland. However, in his synthesis of popular music, jazz, Jewish folk and sacred music as well as his deep understanding of the language of Western Art music from Baroque to its most modern iterations, Lenny was unique.

In trying to represent his eclectic legacy, I chose works to celebrate his many facets as a musician. Aside from unassailable masterpieces such as West Side Story and Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, we hear his easy gift as a vocal composer in some of his songs from Arias and Barcarolles and Songfest as well as his Broadway classics. The ambitious and extraordinarily creative leap of faith in his gigantic theater piece Mass is given haunting expression for cello and orchestra in his arrangement of Three Meditations. His love of piano and jazz is exuberantly on display in The Age of Anxiety. He even got it right in Hollywood. While never having written for a movie before, with no prior knowledge or experience, his score for “On the Waterfront” is a model of how integral music can be to the unfolding narrative on the screen. Yet the music also stands on its own as a work of extraordinary power and beauty.

For all American musicians, Lenny was much more than a composer. As a pianist, educator, TV personality, and above all, conductor, Lenny was the face of American music for almost half a century. For me, growing up in New York, his tenure at the Philharmonic and his celebrated Young People’s Concerts were my hometown fare. His personality was hypnotizing to me, even as a child. A lifelong friend and professional colleague of my father, Lenny and his wife Felicia were close with both of my parents. We lived across the hall from Phyllis Newman and Adolph Green, Lenny’s closest childhood friend with whom he collaborated for On the Town and many other works, and our three families mingled together easily.

Michael and Shira
Michael Stern, age 4, at the New York Philharmonic in 1963 with his older sister, Shira.

Lenny also guided me during my time at Harvard University and the Curtis Institute of Music. I remember to this day the hours Lenny spent talking to me on the phone and in person when I was writing my undergraduate senior thesis about Copland, Gershwin and Marc Blitzstein, sharing his unique insights on these people he knew well. But, as a conducting student, I realized how much of a hero he was to me. Lenny’s music-making was larger than life, whether you agreed with every musical choice or not. Well before he invited me as one of three young conductors to appear with him on a program at the New York Philharmonic, I sat in the orchestra at Curtis with him on the podium. It was then I realized that, more than anyone I had ever witnessed, Lenny could instantly transmit to the players in front of him much more than how to play together and in balance. Playing for him, you knew clearly where and when to play, but much more importantly, why. To me, there has never been anything, or anyone, quite like that.

I miss him more than ever.

Leonard Bernstein b&w


Upcoming Kansas City Symphony concerts featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein:

A Century of Bernstein: BEETHOVEN’S “EROICA” with BERNSTEIN’S SERENADE
Friday and Saturday, February 2-3, 2018 at 8 p.m. | Sunday, February 4, 2018 at 2 p.m.

Free Symphony Happy Hour: BERNSTEIN and BEYOND
Wednesday, February 7 at 6 p.m.

A Century of Bernstein: BERNSTEIN, PROKOFIEV and SCHUMANN
Friday and Saturday, February 23-24, 2018 at 8 p.m. | Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 2 p.m.

A Century of Bernstein: JOYCE DiDONATO SINGS BERNSTEIN and BERLIOZ
Friday and Saturday, March 16-17, 2018 at 8 p.m. | Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 2 p.m.

A Century of Bernstein: YO-YO MA, PINES OF ROME and BERNSTEIN
Friday and Saturday, March 23-24, 2018 at 8 p.m. | Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 2 p.m.

A Century of Bernstein: BEETHOVEN, TCHAIKOVSKY & BERNSTEIN
Friday and Saturday, April 13-14, 2018 at 8 p.m. | Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 2 p.m.

A Century of Bernstein: SEASON FINALE FANTASTIQUE with BERNSTEIN
Friday and Saturday, June 22-23, 2018 at 8 p.m. | Sunday, June 24, 2018 at 2 p.m.

To purchase tickets, click on the links above for concert details or call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

Make Holiday Memories with the Kansas City Symphony

Choirs? Check. Bells? Check. Brass? Check. Watch out, Santa, the Kansas City Symphony has made its list and checked it twice as the ensemble prepares for five separate concerts this December, including KC’s grandest holiday concert tradition, Kansas City Symphony’s Christmas Festival.

Canadian BrassKansas City Symphony Presents
CANADIAN BRASS: CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE!

December 1, 2017
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Douglas Droste, guest conductor

Hark! The herald trumpets sing — along with French horn, trombone and tuba in this most wonderful holiday concert together with your Kansas City Symphony. These five brass masters always amaze audiences with their exquisite ensemble playing, wide-ranging repertoire and the sheer joy of their music-making. Hear classic carols, sacred music along with fun Christmas tunes, such as the treasured A Charlie Brown Christmas. Tickets from $35. Learn more.

 

TubaChristmasKansas City Symphony Presents
TUBACHRISTMAS
December 4 & 8, 2017
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

 

Celebrate TubaChristmas in Helzberg Hall on Monday, December 4 AND Friday, December 8! All area tuba and euphonium players are invited to join in the festivities. All are welcome at the FREE lunch-hour concert to listen to the sounds of the season, tuba-style! Advance registration and a fee are required to perform. Call (816) 218-2639 for more information.

Janet M. Stallmeyer and Donald L. Flora generously underwrite TubaChristmas.

Handel's Messiah

Kansas City Symphony’s
HANDEL’S MESSIAH
December 8-10, 2017
Helzberg Hall
 | Kauffman Center

 

Matthew Halls, guest conductor
Kansas City Symphony Chorus | Charles Bruffy, chorus director
Kiera Duffy, soprano
Dann Coakwell, Tenor
Allyson McHardy, mezzo-soprano
Morgan Smith, baritone

This mosaic of the scriptures remains Handel’s most famous work, and it is one of the most triumphant choral pieces ever written. The impeccable acoustics of Helzberg Hall together with your Kansas City Symphony and Chorus make this THE Messiah performance of the season! With nearly 200 musicians and inspired special guest vocalists on stage, Messiah is sure to impress and delight you. Sponsored by Thrivent Financial. Adult tickets from $25 and youth tickets from $13. Learn more.

 

Christmas Festival

Kansas City Symphony’s
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
December 15-19, 2017
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

 

Jason Seber, David T. Beals III Associate Conductor
Kansas City Symphony Chorus | Charles Bruffy, Chorus Director
Christiane Noll, guest vocalist
Allegro Choirs of Kansas City
Rezound! Handbell Ensemble

We’re sending a musical Christmas card to you! Join the Kansas City Symphony and Chorus for this spectacular holiday celebration filled with lush symphonic arrangements of Christmas classics, fresh versions of your favorite carols, and many melodic surprises. Share the spirit of the season with your entire family as you enjoy enchanting performances by the Symphony, Symphony Chorus, Allegro Children’s Choir, the Rezound! Handbell Ensemble and a special early visit from Santa Claus! At each performance, we’ll give away a dazzling piece of diamond jewelry from Helzberg Diamonds, no purchase necessary. Sponsored by Helzberg Diamonds. Adult tickets from $30 and youth tickets from $15. Learn more.

 

Nightmare Before ChristmasKansas City Symphony Presents
DISNEY IN CONCERT: TIM BURTON’S
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
December 22-23, 2017
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

 

Jason Seber, David T. Beals III Associate Conductor

What’s this, what’s this?! It’s the wildly inventive world of Tim Burton’s macabre classic shown in its entirety on a huge screen in Helzberg Hall for this Screenland at the Symphony presentation. Danny Elfman’s rambunctious, colorful score will roar to life in the hands of the Kansas City Symphony as you follow Jack the Pumpkin King’s quest to seize Christmas. Sponsored by Hallmark. The movie will be presented with out intermission. Adult tickets from $40 and youth tickets from $25. Learn morePresentation licensed by Disney Concerts © All Rights Reserved

For more information and to purchase tickets, contact the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 or visit kcsymphony.org. The Symphony offers a range of ticket prices and packages. Group and senior student discounts are available.

Kansas City Symphony Increases Endowment by $55 Million with Historic 5-Year Campaign

Kansas City Symphoyn - 2017 - Todd RosenbergMore than 1,000 donors collectively committed $55 million to the Masterpiece Campaign, raising $3 million in the final 6 months.

Thanks to many generous donors the Kansas City Symphony has completed the Masterpiece Endowment Campaign, its largest fundraising effort to date, raising just over $55 million in new endowment funds to strengthen and secure the future of the Symphony.

“Completing the Masterpiece Campaign is a landmark accomplishment for the Symphony and our community,” said Kansas City Symphony Executive Director Frank Byrne. “As the region’s largest performing arts organization, reaching hundreds of thousands of people each year, we are deeply invested in the Kansas City community. It is wonderful to see the community respond so generously to invest in the Symphony, thereby enabling us to build on all the important work we have done. We are very grateful to all who donated to the campaign, and to our Chair, Bill Lyons, whose leadership and tireless efforts were essential to our success.”

The Kansas City community responded enthusiastically to the campaign, contributing $52 million quietly over 4 1/2 years and $3 million during the concluding six-month public phase. Together, more than 1,000 donors pledged gifts ranging from $10 to $10 million during the five-year period. When all campaign pledges are fulfilled, the Kansas City Symphony’s endowment will total more than $100 million, bringing it to a level comparable with peer organizations. With an annual operating budget of nearly $17 million, the Symphony plans to draw an average of 4 percent annually from endowment. In time, this will translate to roughly $4 million or just less than a quarter of the annual operating budget.

The Masterpiece Campaign grew out of the Symphony board’s goal to continue the artistic and financial success that has distinguished the Kansas City Symphony. Through a comprehensive financial analysis and study of industry best practices, the Symphony observed that the most successful American orchestras required a robust endowment to supplement ongoing and growing annual fundraising. While the completion of the Masterpiece Campaign will provide a much more stable base of funding, Symphony leaders understand that operating expenses will continue to grow and that a growing annual fundraising effort will be required to sustain the Symphony’s impressive momentum.

“The success of the Masterpiece Campaign provides powerful evidence of our community’s belief that the arts are essential,” said Campaign and Board Chair Bill Lyons. “As a result of the extraordinary generosity of our donors and the passionate work of our campaign staff and volunteers, we have dramatically increased the likelihood that top tier, live orchestral music will be part of Kansas City for this generation and many to come. We are so fortunate to have the strong, longstanding artistic and administrative leadership of Michael Stern and Frank Byrne, the strong Symphony Boards, past and present, led by civic leaders like Crosby Kemper and Shirley Helzberg, a magnificent performance venue in the Kauffman Center, and a community that believes in philanthropy like no other. All of these came together to achieve this unprecedented result.”

While it is common to cover endowment campaign expenses out of donations, the Kansas City Symphony broke this mold. Instead, the Symphony funded all endowment campaign expenses from its annual operating budget.

“What the Kansas City Symphony was able to achieve with this campaign is remarkable in many regards,” said Peter Hoskow, Principal and Managing Director of CCS Fundraising, the international fundraising consulting firm that partnered with the Symphony at various stages of the campaign’s activity. “Symphonies across the U.S. and around the world are struggling due to rising costs, decreasing demand and difficulties raising money. Despite the challenges faced by so many of these organizations, the Kansas City Symphony was able to execute a powerful campaign that will ensure this cultural icon will have a positive impact on the community for years to come. Even more, they were able to conduct this campaign in a truly efficient manner. No donations were spent on campaign expenses; all expenses were resourced from the organization’s operations budget. In our experience working with dozens of orchestras, this is an incredible accomplishment. We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with such an amazing organization in the design, early management, and ongoing evaluation of this extraordinary campaign.”

The Kansas City Symphony has played a key role in shaping the artistic landscape of Kansas City. As a driver of the city’s cultural renaissance, the Symphony is setting the standard for how a professional symphony orchestra can thrive and be connected to its community.

  • The Symphony provides nearly 70 percent of the live music at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, presenting more than 100 performances each season of 45 different programs. The Kansas City Symphony also plays 60 performances with the Kansas City Ballet and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
  • Each season, nearly 75,000 people attend a free Kansas City Symphony performance, and more than 50,000 adults and children participate in Symphony education programs.
  • After six seasons at the Kauffman Center, the Symphony continues to increase audiences with an innovative and smart mix of programming.
  • Advancing its destination reputation, the Symphony has attracted attendees from nearly all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico plus more than a dozen foreign countries each season since 2011.
  • The Symphony helps make our city a vital and thriving community, creating a $22-million annual impact on the economy, generating $1.7 million in state and local taxes.

The completion of the Masterpiece Campaign is the latest in a series of successes defining the organization’s evolution in recent years.

  • In June 2016 and one year before its expiration, Symphony management and musicians harmoniously extended their collective bargaining agreement through June 2021.
  • The Symphony has successfully extended contracts with Music Director Michael Stern (through 2019-20), Symphony Chorus Director Charles Bruffy (through 2019-20) and David T. Beals III Associate Conductor Jason Seber (through 2018-19).
  • The organization has set all-time records in attendance and revenue in recent seasons.
  • For many years, the Symphony has balanced its budget (or better) and devoted more than 70 percent of its annual budget toward programming.

Music Director Michael Stern said the combination of these elements makes it thrilling and rewarding to be part of the Kansas City Symphony family.

“Successfully completing the $55 million Masterpiece Endowment Campaign is significant for all of us at the Kansas City Symphony,” Stern said. “It’s a wonderful testament to the deep connection we have with our family of donors and advocates throughout our community. This watershed moment gives us the artistic and organizational stability that will allow us to continue the artistic evolution for which we have worked so diligently over the last 12 years. With this new chapter, we can and will continue to advocate for great music, and to be a model for how music and the arts can and must inform a great American city in the 21st century.”

To celebrate and acknowledge this milestone, the Symphony plans to hold an event in the spring for those who contributed $1,000 or more to the Masterpiece Campaign. Those who wish to contribute to the Symphony’s endowment or annual fund may call (816) 471-1100 or visit kcsymphony.org.

New Concerts Added for 2017/18 Season

OUT OF THIS WORLD!

A sensory-friendly family concert

Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Jason SeberDavid T. Beals III Associate Conductor

The Kansas City Symphony welcomes patrons and families with sensory-sensitivities to a symphonic performance on Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. The program will feature repertoire from the Young People’s Concert: Out of this World, combining symphonic music with visual elements. This fun and diverse performance will be specially adapted so families and friends of all abilities may enjoy symphonic music in a safe and welcoming environment. Tickets are $10.

Visit this page to learn more or call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.


SOUNDS RELAXING

A soothing evening of meditation and music

Tuesday, October 24 at 6 p.m.
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Prepare to unwind as our certified Relax and Renew® trainer Anita Bailey coaches you through various breathing and meditation techniques. Symphony musicians will perform selections to assist in your relaxation. Tickets are $10. To learn more visit this page or call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400.


MOZART’S GRAN PARTITA

A side-by-side performance with students of the UMKC Conservatory of Music

Wednesday, October 25 at 6 p.m.
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

This early evening performance of Mozart’s tuneful Serenade in B-flat major, “Gran Partita,” written for 13 wind instruments and bass will be a true “side-by-side” between Kansas City Symphony musicians and UMKC students. This is event is free and open to the public.

Reserve free seats here or call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400.

Sept. 12: Concertmaster Noah Geller to Play National Anthem at Royals Game

Matt Slocum | AP
Kansas City Symphony performing at 2014 World Series Game 6 | Photo credit: Matt Slocum

Kansas City Symphony Concertmaster Noah Geller will perform the national anthem on Tuesday, Sept. 12 before the 12:15 p.m. Royals game for “Symphony Day at the K” against the White Sox.

Geller joined the Symphony as concertmaster in 2012 at the invitation of Music Director Michael Stern. Previously, Geller has performed the national anthem with the full Symphony on several occasions at Kauffman Stadium, but this will be his first time performing the “Star-Spangled Banner” as soloist.

Many Symphony musicians and staff will attend to cheer him on! Let’s go, Royals!

For tickets to the game, visit mlb.com/royals.

For a list of upcoming Symphony performances, visit this page.