Kansas City Symphony to Welcome Big Stars, Celebrate Anniversaries in 2019/20 Season

Joshua Bell, Emanuel Ax, Midori, Leslie Odom Jr., The Temptations to appear in 2019/20 season along with Film + Live Orchestra concerts of Mary Poppins, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and more

The Kansas City Symphony 2019/20 season is a blockbuster lineup with epic music, many superstars and timeless films for audiences of all ages.

The Symphony offers three main series: Classical, Pops and Family. The 2019/20 Classical Series will honor three major anniversaries — 250 years of Beethoven, Isaac Stern’s centennial and Michael Stern’s 15th year as Music Director.

“This new season is a celebration of music and musicians where we honor Beethoven’s 250th birthday and the 100th anniversary of Isaac Stern’s birth,” says Executive Director Frank Byrne. “While Isaac Stern deserves gratitude for the many ways he championed music, advocated for music education, mentored young musicians and fought for the arts, he also was a truly exceptional violinist. With his son, Michael, as our Music Director there is no orchestra in America better positioned to celebrate the life and accomplishments of this great man. With wonderful repertoire, exceptional soloists, brilliant guest conductors and creative pairings of music on each program, we can say with pride that the 2019/20 season shows Kansas City as a world-class destination for great orchestral music.”

The 14-concert Classical Series begins in September and runs through June 2020. The Classical Series is available in three options: Bravo Series (7 concerts), Ovation Series (7 concerts) or Masterworks Series (all 14 concerts). The 2019/20 season will mark Music Director Michael Stern’s 15th season this September and the Symphony’s ninth season in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

2019/20 CLASSICAL SERIES
Fourteen concert weekends: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. 

  • Opening Weekend: Finlandia and Schumann’s Piano Concerto (Oct. 4-6)
  • Brahms’ Fourth and Bach’s Fantasia (Oct. 25-27)
  • Stern Conducts Bruckner’s Seventh (Nov. 1-3)
  • Also Sprach Zarathustra (Nov. 22-24)
  • Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (Jan. 17-19, 2020)
  • Ax Performs Beethoven (Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2020)
  • Zukerman Plays Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (Feb. 7-9, 2020)
  • Beethoven’s Mass in C (Feb. 28-March 1, 2020)
  • Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto (March 20-22, 2020)
  • Midori Plays Dvorak (April 3-5, 2020)
  • Beethoven’s Fifth (April 17-19, 2020)
  • Beethoven’s “Pastoral” (May 29-31, 2020)
  • Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Tree of Dreams (June 5-7, 2020)
  • Season Finale: Ode to Joy — Beethoven’s Ninth (June 19-21, 2020)

“Three anniversaries — 15, 100, 250 — come together for one very special season,” Stern says. “I’m thrilled to mark my 15th season as Music Director with two interwoven and wide-ranging themes, Isaac Stern’s centenary celebration, and the 250th anniversary of the birth of arguably the most influential composer of Western music, Ludwig van Beethoven.

“Beethoven’s place in our hearts and minds is forever assured,” Stern says. “This milestone year allows us to reexamine his music. And I’m grateful to share the celebration of my father with my extended Kansas City family. Aside from being one of the towering violinists of the 20th century, his advocacy for the arts as an agent of change, for music as a force for good, and for education resonates more powerfully today than ever before. He’d have been proud to see how the Kansas City Symphony has made the case for music in our city.

“We present iconic masterpieces from Mozart and Brahms to Bartók and Stravinsky,” Stern adds. “We’ll perform an overview of Beethoven’s works, including contemporary pieces inspired by Beethoven, a major concerto by Henri Dutilleux, and the world premieres of commissions by Jonathan Leshnoff and Daniel Kellogg. We’ve invited Peter Oundjian, Johannes Debus and Matthew Halls to guest conduct, adding to the Classical Series debut of our own Jason Seber. We’ll highlight the Symphony Chorus in three different programs. And, most happily, former students, colleagues, friends and musical partners of my father’s will grace our stage, from violinists such as Vadim Gluzman, Midori and Pinchas Zukerman, to cellist Jian Wang and pianist Emanuel Ax, to name just a few. As a bonus, violinist Joshua Bell will reprise his role and join us to accompany two screenings of ‘The Red Violin,’ which won an Academy® Award for Best Original Score. There’s truly something for everyone in this 2019/20 season.”

David T. Beals III Associate Conductor Jason Seber and guest conductors lead the 2019/20 Symphony Pops Series, which promises lots of fun.

2019/20 SYMPHONY POPS SERIES
Four concert weekends: 8 p.m. Fridays and 7 p.m. Saturdays (new time!). Additionally, three Sunday afternoons and one Thursday evening concert date available. Visit kcsymphony.org details. 

  • The Temptations with the Kansas City Symphony (Sept. 13-15)
  • Chicago — the Musical in Concert (Jan. 24-26, 2020)
  • The Music of ABBA (March 26-28, 2020)
  • Frank and Ella, Together Again (May 15-17, 2020)

The Symphony Family Series is perfect for introducing children ages 4-13 to symphonic music, including the full-length Christmas Festival. Each child subscription is only $10 with the purchase of an adult subscription.

2019/20 SYMPHONY FAMILY SERIES
Four concert weekends: 2 p.m. Sundays 

  • Symphony in Space (Sept. 22)
  • Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (Nov. 10)
  • Christmas Festival (Dec. 22)
  • Classical Kids: Beethoven Lives Upstairs (March 8, 2020)

In addition to the core series, the Symphony presents special and holiday concerts each season. Subscribers can add these holiday and specials concerts on when buying 2019/20 season tickets. Single tickets for most concerts go on sale to the public in July.

SPECIAL CONCERTS 

  • Film + Live Orchestra — Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back™ in Concert (Sept. 4-6 and 8)
  • Silent Film + Live Organ: The Phantom of the Opera (Oct. 29)
  • A Tribute to Tom Petty (Nov. 16)
  • Film + Live Orchestra — Mary Poppins in Concert (Nov. 27-29, 2020)
  • Film + Live Orchestra — Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in Concert (Jan. 10-12, 2020)
  • Valentine’s Day Weekend with Leslie Odom Jr. (Feb. 15-16, 2020)
  • Michael Bolton with the Kansas City Symphony: The Symphony Sessions (April 24, 2020)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix™ in Concert (May 7-10, 2020)
  • Film + Live Orchestra — The Red Violin in Concert featuring Joshua Bell (May 13-14, 2020)

HOLIDAY CONCERTS

  • Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 6-8)
  • Christmas Festival (Dec. 20-23) 

The Symphony will announce the rest of the 2019/20 concerts, such as Classics Uncorked and the free Happy Hour Series concerts, closer to July when single tickets become available.

April 1 is the deadline to renew or purchase a new subscription for the 2019/20 season. Symphony subscribers can secure the best seats at the best prices and receive free exchanges for most concerts. Subscribers also receive discounts on additional ticket purchases.

Classical Series season ticket holders who subscribe by April 1 will receive a “Share the Symphony” voucher good for two free tickets to a select Kansas City Symphony 2018/19 Classical Series concert. Some of the top subscriber benefits include access to the best reserved seats at the best prices offered, free exchanges, subscriber discounts, reserving parking in advance, opportunities to buy special concert events before the public, and much more.

To renew or learn more about becoming a Kansas City Symphony season subscriber, visit kcsymphony.org or call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400.

VIEW THE 2019/20 SEASON BROCHURE.

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. J.K. ROWLING’S WIZARDING WORLD™ J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s19)

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Free Symphony Ticket Offer this Weekend for Furloughed Government Employees

Up to 2 free tickets for Symphony’s concerts this weekend (Jan. 25-27)

The Kansas City Symphony is offering up to two free tickets to furloughed government employees for this weekend’s concerts (Jan. 25-27) while supplies last.

The concerts are this Friday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The program led by conductor Michael Stern, “Enchanting and Exotic: Firebird, Aladdin and Rachmaninoff,” features guest pianist Alon Goldstein on Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto along with Stravinsky’s Firebird, Nielsen’s Aladdin Suite and Griffes’ The White Peacock.

“Many Federal workers and their families are having a tough time,” said Symphony Executive Director Frank Byrne. “We hope that the gift of music will bring beauty and a respite from the challenges.”

To redeem while supplies last, please call the Kansas City Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays and identify yourself as a furloughed government employee. Limit one pair per household.

Tickets will be assigned at the Will Call ticket desk at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway) on the day of the performance starting two hours prior to the concert. Tickets must be picked up in person, and furloughed employees must present a valid government employee ID when picking up the tickets. Offer is not valid toward previous purchases.

For additional questions, please contact the Kansas City Symphony at (816) 471-0400 or visit kcsymphony.org.

From the Desk of Michael Stern | 2018/19 Classical Series Begins

DEAR FRIENDS,

THERE’S NOTHING QUITE LIKE THE HAPPY EXPECTATION AND EXCITEMENT OF A new season! Dance dominates our opening weekend (Sept. 14-16). Rachmaninoff’s last major masterpiece, Symphonic Dances, is a piece I’ve come back to many times in my life, Music Director Michael Sternalways finding something new. It’s not just Rachmaninoff’s signature romanticism, the magnificent melodies or the irresistible rhythmic momentum that captivate me. I love the nostalgic melancholy showing us how homesick he was for his native Russia long after he came to the United States. The concert opener couldn’t be quirkier or more fun than Aaron Jay Kernis’ New Era Dance, an energetic accompaniment to the political and social upheavals of the early 1990s. And for a long overdue treat we’ve not played in more than two decades, three great soloists join us for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto — Noah Geller, back from Seattle for these concerts, Mark Gibbs, celebrating his 20th anniversary as our principal cello, and Sean Chen, an immense talent whose debut here is also overdue.

The dancing continues with Beethoven’s Seventh (Oct. 5-7), which Wagner called “the apotheosis of the dance.” Whether or not Beethoven had that explicitly in mind is beside the point; we readily respond to its lilt. I met the wonderfully inventive composer Michael Kurth when I was conducting the Atlanta Symphony, where he’s a bass player, and I wanted to bring his colorful and evocative A Thousand Words to Kansas City as soon as I discovered it. I’m equally thrilled that the brilliant George Li is returning to perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto with us.

There was something very moving to me pairing Mozart’s exquisite Ave verum corpus (Hail, True Body) with J.S. Bach’s sacred motet “O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht” (O Jesus Christ, My Life’s Light) in our next concerts (Nov. 16-18). Mozart wrote 46 perfect measures essentially as a stream of consciousness, and it’s even more emotional realizing his life ended almost exactly six months later. Bach’s glorious music was meant for a funeral. Together, these deeply human utterances introduce John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls, his profound emotional response to those lost in the tragedy and sacrifice of 9/11. In all three, our Symphony Chorus musicians are the soloists. For me, the extraordinary life affirmation in every bar of Schubert’s monumental last symphony was absolutely fitting to bring our program full circle.

See you at the concerts!


MICHAEL STERN | Music Director, Kansas City Symphony


To secure seats, visit kcsymphony.org or call (816) 471-0400.

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.

 

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.

Kansas City Symphony 2017-18 Star-Studded Season features Yo-Yo Ma, Joyce DiDonato, many more

Kansas City Symphony 2017-18 SeasonFrom iconic stars to timeless music, there’s never been a better time to be a season subscriber to the Kansas City Symphony. Subscribe today for access to the best seats at the best prices. The season begins in September and runs through June 2018.

Kansas City Symphony Classical Series2017-18 CLASSICAL SERIES
Fourteen concert weekends: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; or 2 p.m. Sundays. Purchase Bravo Series (7 concerts), Ovation Series (7 concerts) or Masterwork Series (all 14 concerts). Led by Music Director Michael Stern or guest conductors. 

2017-18 SYMPHONY POP SERIES
Four concert weekends: 8 p.m. Fridays or Saturdays. Led by David T. Beals III Associate Conductor Jason Seber. 

2017-18 SYMPHONY FAMILY SERIES
Four concert weekends: 2 p.m. Sundays. Perfect for children ages 4-13. Includes full-length version of the Symphony’s Christmas Festival. Each child subscription is only $10 with the purchase of an adult subscription. 

SPECIAL CONCERTS
Subscribers have the option to add on these holiday and specials concerts when purchasing a 2017-18 subscriptions. *Single tickets to some concerts on sale now. 

  • Screenland at the Symphony: Star Trek Into Darkness Live (Sept. 8 and 10)*
  • Brian Stokes Mitchell with the Kansas City Symphony (Oct. 7)*
  • Screenland at the Symphony: Nosferatu (Oct. 31)*
  • Queen’s Greatest Hits with the Kansas City Symphony (Nov. 18)*
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert (Feb. 15-18, 2018)
  • The Music of Prince with the Kansas City Symphony (March 10, 2018)
  • Audra McDonald with the Kansas City Symphony (May 5, 2018)

*Indicates single tickets on sale now. 

HOLIDAY CONCERTS

  • Canadian Brass: Christmastime is Here! (Dec. 1)
  • Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 8-10)
  • Christmas Festival (Dec. 15-19)
  • Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Dec. 22-23) 

The Symphony will announce other 2017-18 concerts and events, such as Classics Uncorked Series and the FREE Happy Hour Series concerts in July. 

Single tickets on sale Monday, July 24 at 10 a.m. 

To learn more about becoming a Kansas City Symphony subscriber or to purchase single tickets to select concerts now, visit kcsymphony.org or call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400.

From the Desk of Michael Stern

DEAR FRIENDS,

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HELZBERG HALL, AND LITERALLY DECADES
of absence from the Kansas City Symphony’s programs, we present a towering 20th-century magnum opus (May 5-7). It is an understatement to categorize Britten’s searing masterpiece, War Requiem, as large-scale. Despite two discrete orchestras, a large chorus, a separate children’s chorus and three powerful soloists, for me, the overwhelming impact of this magnificent music comes from much more than its sheer size. Nine powerfully beautiful poems by Wilfred Owens, an English poet and soldier who perished just days before the armistice ending World War I, are interspersed with the traditional liturgical Latin text of the Requiem Mass.

Britten was commissioned to write this work to rededicate Coventry Cathedral, destroyed during World War II, but this work speaks to us on many levels. A lifelong pacifist, Britten reacted personally to the bloodshed of his times with a prayer for peace that is an indictment of war and violence itself, making the Requiem into a statement for all humanity. On the score’s first page, Britten quotes Owens: “The Poetry is in the pity… /All a poet can do today is warn.” Now, more than ever, this music is essential. With our brilliant soloists Christine Brewer, Anthony Dean Griffey and Stephen Powell, I am thrilled that we can share this music together.

Then too soon, our season ends in June with two outstanding concerts. Returning to play two Mozart piano concerti is my longtime friend and great artist Emanuel Ax (June 2-4). The merriment of Manny’s insights into Mozart create a perfect foil to Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel.

Rachmaninoff’s luxurious Second Symphony closes our finale concerts (June 16-18) where we also welcome two wonderful artists. Dynamic violinist Philippe Quint returns to our stage with Barber’s glorious Violin Concerto. Narong Prangcharoen, a brilliantly gifted young composer with University of Missouri-Kansas City roots, opens the program with his colorful and driving Phenomenon. It is an honor to bring this music to Kansas City. Music is alive and well here, and we are grateful to you all for this season — and for the future.


MICHAEL STERN | Music Director, Kansas City Symphony


To secure seats, visit kcsymphony.org or call (816) 471-0400.

GUEST VIDEOS: Soprano Christine Brewer & Tenor Anthony Dean Griffey

Britten's War Requiem

Join us for a moving and powerful concert event like no other. An extraordinary statement of peace that still resonates today, Britten’s War Requiem is a towering 20th century masterpiece. The Kansas City Symphony, Symphony Chorus, and special guests will perform this epic work on May 5-7 in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Hear from a couple of our special guests:

Guest Soprano Christine Brewer:

Guest tenor Anthony Dean Griffey:

To secure your seats, call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, or select seats at kcsymphony.org.