Free Tickets on 9/11 for Active Duty Military, Veterans and First Responders

As we remember 9/11, the Kansas City Symphony is offering up to four free tickets to active duty military, veterans and first responders to attend its Opening Weekend concerts (Sept. 14-16) while supplies last.

The concerts are Friday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 16 at 2 p.m. The program, “Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Symphonic Dances,” features 2013 American Pianists Awards winner and Van Cliburn competition finalist Sean Chen, violinist Noah Geller and Principal Cellist Mark Gibbs on Beethoven’s playful Triple Concerto.

“Our nation and our community owe a tremendous debt to our first responders and their families,” said Symphony Executive Director Frank Byrne. “As we mark the anniversary of 9/11, we offer the gift of music in appreciation of their service and many sacrifices.”

To redeem, please call the Kansas City Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The offer is only available through the Symphony Box Office via phone and only available to redeem on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Tickets will be held in Will Call at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway) ticket desk. To pick up tickets ordered on the day of concert, please present a valid military ID or departmental ID if a first responder.

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

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Meet Our New Musicians | 2018/19 Season

We’re pleased to introduce several new musicians who have joined the Kansas City Symphony roster for the 2018/19 season.

TIM DANIELS, English horn and oboe

English horn and oboe player Tim Daniels joins the Kansas City Symphony in fall 2018. He has appeared on oboe and English horn with the San Francisco, New World and Memphis symphonies, as well as the Metropolitan Opera and IRIS Orchestra. In the summer of 2018, he toured Japan as a fellow with the Pacific Music Festival led by Valery Gergiev. He has held additional fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute and Spoleto Festival USA. An ardent advocate for new music, he has commissioned and premiered works for oboe and English horn by composers Rob Hutchinson, Teddy Niedermaier and Greg Simon. Deeply committed to education for both young artists and audiences, he has taught a number of private students while pursuing his own studies and is always searching for new ways to connect them to music. His efforts to reach and excite new audiences have led him to perform and instruct in public schools, restaurants and hospitals across the country.

Daniels holds a bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, a master’s degree from the Juilliard School and a performance studies diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is also a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. His primary teachers include Elaine Douvas, Eugene Izotov, Joey Salvalaggio, Daniel Stolper and Robert Walters. Daniels grew up in the Memphis area and looks forward to seeing how Kansas City’s BBQ stacks up.

NICOLE HAYWOOD, bassoon

Bassoonist Nicole Haywood enjoys an exhilarating career as an orchestral musician, soloist, chamber musician and educator. She is thrilled to join the Kansas City Symphony as acting second bassoon for the 2018/19 season. Haywood also was recently appointed assistant principal and second bassoon of the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago. She previously served as acting principal bassoon of the Charlottesville Opera, and she has held the positions of second bassoon in the Round Rock Symphony and acting second bassoon in the Mid-Texas Symphony.

Her freelance work has led to guest performances with the San Antonio Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera and Chorus Austin. In 2017, she made her solo debut with the Vermont Mozart Festival, performing Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto. Haywood also was a semifinalist in the 2014 Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition, performing Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto in G Minor.

Haywood received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied with Kristin Wolfe Jensen. She earned her master’s degree from Rice University, studying with Benjamin Kamins. Her other principal teachers have included Sharon Kuster and Mark Rogers.

FILIP LAZOVSKI, first violin

Macedonian violinist Filip Lazovski has appeared as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician throughout Macedonia, China and the U.S. He has collaborated with numerous artists,
including Daniel Hope, Benny Kim, Keith Robinson, Eric Kim and Scott Lee, as well as musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra and Kansas City Symphony. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Kent State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His teachers include Oleh Krysa, Benny Kim, and the Takács and Miami quartets.

Lazovski has received prizes from the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association and Tuesday Musical, as well as international competitions in Serbia and Macedonia. He has been part of the Kent Blossom, National Repertory Orchestra and Madeline Island music festivals. In addition to playing with the Kansas City Symphony, he teaches at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Community Music and Dance Academy. He enjoys playing soccer and loves going to Sporting KC games.

SARAH PETERS, second violin

Sarah Peters is a violinist with the Kansas City Symphony. She also is a member of the Britt Festival Orchestra and a former violinist with the New World Symphony, and she has performed with Louisville Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic and Sarasota Orchestra. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Peters has appeared on Kansas Public Radio and collaborated with members of the Borromeo Quartet and Boston Symphony Orchestra. Her festival appearances include New York String Orchestra Seminar, Spoleto Festival USA, Pacific Music Festival and Tanglewood Music Center, where she received the Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize.

A passionate educator and avid ambassador for community engagement, Peters served on the faculty for Carnegie Hall’s NYO2 program and Heartland Chamber Music Festival’s Overture camp for young musicians. She also wrote scripts and served as producer for education and outreach performances for the New World Symphony. Born in Tokyo, Peters grew up in Kansas City where she studied violin with University of Missouri-Kansas City professor Benny Kim. She received her bachelor’s degree and graduate diploma in violin performance from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Paul Biss and Nicholas Kitchen.

JESSICA PETRASEK, flute and piccolo

Jessica Petrasek, originally from San Antonio, Texas, is an Atlanta-based flutist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in classics from Princeton University and a master’s degree from Rice University. Petrasek has served as principal flute of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and piccolo player for the Sarasota Opera Orchestra. Currently, she is principal flute for the Breckenridge Music Festival. She has held fellowships at Yellow Barn Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, National Repertory Orchestra and Tanglewood Music Center. Her favorite hobby is horseback riding. Read more about her and listen to her recordings at JessicaPetrasek.com.

RACHEL SANDMAN, first violin

Los Angeles native Rachel Sandman joins the Kansas City Symphony for the 2018/19 season. Prior to moving to Kansas City, she completed two seasons with the New World Symphony,
where she was concertmaster in the season’s opening and closing subscription concerts under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas.

While completing graduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Sandman was associate concertmaster of the Canton Symphony and on the faculty at the Aurora School of Music. She has been a soloist and guest concertmaster with the Canton Symphony and a substitute violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra. Other engagements include performing with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. During summers, she performs as a section violinist and acting concertmaster with the Breckenridge Music Festival.

Sandman began her violin studies in the Suzuki method at age 3 in New York. After moving to Los Angeles, she continued her studies at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, where she was the Colburn Chamber Orchestra concertmaster and a Colburn Honors String Quartet member. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Rice University as well as master’s degrees in violin and Suzuki pedagogy. She also earned an artist diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her principal teachers have included William Preucil, Joel Smirnoff, Ivan Zenaty, Cho-Liang Lin, Sergiu Luca and Chan-Ho Yun.

MATTHEW SINNO, associate principal viola

Massachusetts native Matthew Sinno recently was appointed associate principal viola of the Kansas City Symphony. He also has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

As winner of the 2014 Juilliard Concerto Competition, Sinno performed Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher in Alice Tully Hall with the Juilliard Orchestra. He has attended several summer festivals including Perlman Music Program, Music Academy of the West and Colorado College Music Festival. An avid chamber musician, Sinno performs regularly at Chestnut Hill Concerts in Connecticut and has collaborated with distinguished artists Donald Weilerstein and Jeremy Denk.

He holds degrees from the Juilliard School and Curtis Institute of Music. His
primary teachers include Cynthia Phelps, Heidi Castleman, Roberto Díaz, Toby
Appel, Ed Gazouleas and David Rubinstein.

JOE LEFEVRE, principal tuba
Joe LeFevre joined the Kansas City Symphony in 2018. Prior to this appointment, he was principal tuba of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. LeFevre holds a bachelor’s degree in tuba performance with an emphasis in music education from Michigan State University. LeFevre has studied with Phil Sinder, Gene Pokorny, Mike Roylance, Dennis Nulty, Deanna Swoboda, Jacob Cameron and Bill Short. He has performed as soloist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Michigan State University Wind Symphony and Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In addition, he has subbed with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and he was a Tanglewood Music Center fellow in 2016. LeFevre won the gold medal in the Student Division of the 2014 Leonard Falcone International Tuba and Euphonium Competition and the bronze medal in the artist division in 2015. In 2013, LeFevre was a member of the Michigan State Spartan Marching Band when they performed at the 100th Rose Bowl Game.

LeFevre is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan. In his spare time, he enjoys
skiing, spending time with family and friends, and traveling. He is an avid sports
fan and lifelong baseball enthusiast. Despite Kansas City’s best intentions, he
remains a devoted Detroit Tigers fan.


Read about all Kansas City Symphony musicians here. To view upcoming concerts, view the calendar at 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.

Individual Tickets for 2018/19 Kansas City Symphony Concerts Available July 30, Announcing Classics Uncorked

Tickets for Wynonna, Carmina Burana, Lyle Lovett, plus music of Gershwin, Star Wars, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and more on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, July 30

From blockbuster movie concerts to some of the absolute best classical repertoire, the Kansas City Symphony’s 2018/19 season offers thrilling live music for everyone in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Single tickets will be available for purchase starting at 10 a.m. Monday, July 30 via kcsymphony.org or by calling the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400.

While September and October concerts have been on sale for several weeks, the Symphony’s July 30 on-sale puts the rest of the Symphony season up for grabs. Tickets to all holiday, movie and special concerts, plus tributes honoring the music of George Gershwin, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston will be available. Highlights include:

Classical Series

Pops Series

Family Series

Holiday Concerts

Special Concertserts

2018/19 Classics Uncorked Series
The Classics Uncorked Series returns with three fun, one-hour casual concerts led by David T. Beals III Associate Conductor Jason Seber. Most tickets are $25 and include a free glass of wine or champagne following the performance when guests can mingle with Symphony musicians in Kauffman Center’s stunning Brandmeyer Great Hall. Sponsored by BMO Wealth Management.

  • Classics Uncorked: Bach, Bluegrass and Bourbon | Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.
    Ready for some toe-tappin’ fun? We’re bringing a little Kentucky to KC. Come hear some bluegrass pickin’ and pluckin’ plus Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. In addition to the post-concert wine reception, a special selection of bourbons will be available for tasting.
  • Classics Uncorked: Grammy® Greats | Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 at 7 p.m.
    We’ve handpicked some of the best Grammy® Award-winning music for a one-night-only showcase in the world-class acoustics of Helzberg Hall. You’ll hear excerpts from the film “Up” by Michael Giacchino, an arrangement of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and music by Aaron Copland, Joan Tower and Jennifer Higdon. Principal Viola Christine Grossman stars in Higdon’s Viola Concerto.
  • Classics Uncorked: Secrets Revealed | Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 7 p.m.
    When the backstory is as intriguing as the music, we have to pull back the curtain! Elgar’s Enigma Variations captures the essence of his friends and even himself in 14 variations on an enigmatic theme. Plus, many speculate his work contains an overarching hidden theme. Masquerade by Anna Clyne conjures up a mid-18th century London promenade concert with street entertainers.

Free Happy Hour Concerts
The Free Symphony Happy Hour Concerts featuring chamber music programmed by Symphony musicians are back with seven concerts for the 2018/19 season. Dates to reserve free general admission tickets vary. See website or call Symphony Box Office for additional details. Sponsored by Lead Bank.

Sounds Relaxing
A relatively new concert format for the Symphony, these soothing programs feature guided meditation by certified Relax and Renew® trainer Anita Bailey along with soft, gentle chamber music selections. Tickets are $15, inclusive of all fees.

Information for additional 2018/19 concerts, including Sensory Friendly concerts, TubaChristmas, and Petite Performances can be found at kcsymphony.org.

Season ticket holders may exchange and purchase individual tickets ahead of the public during the Symphony’s subscriber courtesy week, July 23-27, at a discount of $5 per adult ticket (exclusions may apply). Single tickets go on sale Monday, July 23 at 10 a.m. Tickets are available through the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400 or kcsymphony.org. View the 2018/19 season subscription brochure.

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.