Celebrate the Season with the Kansas City Symphony

Look no further than your Kansas City Symphony for ways to celebrate the holidays through song! The Symphony has plenty of festive concerts and great gift ideas for everyone on your list! Check out our upcoming December concerts as well as offerings in 2019:

Messiah
A Kansas City Symphony and Chorus Tradition!
HANDEL’S MESSIAH
December 7-9, 2018
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

The Messiah performance of the year! Nearly 200 amazing musicians and powerful voices bring this choral masterpiece to life with the return of Aram Demirjian as guest conductor. From the “Passion of the Christ” to the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Handel’s glorious Messiah is bigger and better than ever in the acoustically marvelous Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center – an unforgettable start to your holiday season.

Christmas Festival

CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
December 14-18, 2018
Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Kansas City’s favorite Christmas concert tradition returns for seven joyous performances with the Symphony and Symphony Chorus. Cherished Christmas carols and Yuletide songs, talented special guests and one jolly visitor from the North Pole are sure to fill you with holiday spirit. Your family and friends will love this special concert experience, capturing the true essence of the season. At each performance, we’ll give away a dazzling jewelry prize from Helzberg Diamonds, no purchase necessary.


GIFT IDEAS

The Kansas City Symphony also offers gift certificates — one size fits all!

Or perhaps tickets to one on these in-demand concerts would surely thrill your friends and family:

Harry Potter

Kansas City Symphony Presents
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE™ IN CONCERT
Thursday and Friday, January 3-4 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 5 at 12 p.m.
Sunday, January 6 at 4 p.m.

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center
Jeffrey Schindlerguest conductor

Grab your broom and get ready for the tasks ahead! The Triwizard Tournament comes to Hogwarts™ in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert. Relive the magic of Harry Potter™ soaring across the big screen in high-definition and experience the Kansas City Symphony performing Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score live.

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. (s18)

Russian Romantics

Kansas City Symphony Classical Series

RUSSIAN ROMANTICS: TCHAIKOVSKY and GLAZUNOV
Friday and Saturday, January 11-12 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 13 at 2 p.m.

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Andrey Boreykoguest conductor
Maria Ioudenitchviolin (Underwritten by the Almy Legacy Fund)

STRAVINSKY Chant funèbre
GLAZUNOV Violin Concerto
TCHAIKOVSKY Suite No. 3

We’re bringing St. Petersburg to Kansas City with three Russian giants — Stravinsky, Glazunov and Tchaikovsky, led by St. Petersburg native Andrey Boreyko who makes his Kansas City Symphony conducting debut. Presumed lost for more than a century, the recent rediscovery of Chant funèbre allows audiences to hear a young Stravinsky’s rise to prominence before he wrote his famed Firebird. Glazunov’s passionate Violin Concerto blends colorful, freewheeling melodies with impressive technical feats. Tchaikovsky’s triumphant Third Suite culminates in a powerful theme-and-variations finale.

Grammy Greats

Kansas City Symphony Presents
CLASSICS UNCORKED: GRAMMY® GREATS
Thursday, January 17 at 7 p.m.

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Jason SeberDavid T. Beals III Associate Conductor

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. Afterward, enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or champagne, and mingle with Symphony musicians. Sponsored by BMO Wealth Management. Most tickets $25.

Star Wars

Film + Live Orchestra
STAR WARS EPISODE IV — A NEW HOPE
Thursday and Friday, January 31 – February 1 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 2 at 2 p.m.
Sunday, February 3 at 4 p.m.

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Jason SeberDavid T. Beals III Associate Conductor

Journey back to 1977 and a galaxy far, far away for the classic first film of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, written and directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Watch the Rebel Alliance attempt to destroy the Death Star on a huge screen in Helzberg Hall while your Kansas City Symphony performs the thrilling John Williams score live.

Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts. © All rights reserved. In association with 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm and Warner/Chappell Music. © 2017 and TM LUCASFILM LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © Disney

For more information, call the Symphony Box Office at (816)-471-0400between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

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Why is Schubert’s No. 9 “The Great” so Great?

Kansas City Symphony | Photo Todd Rosenberg
Kansas City Symphony | Photo Todd Rosenberg

Lots of famous symphonies have nicknames. Think Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony, Beethoven’s “Eroica,” Mozart’s “Jupiter” and many more.

During the Kansas City Symphony’s Nov. 16-18 Classical Series concerts, the orchestra will perform one of these well-known nicknamed works — Schubert’s Ninth, “The Great.”

Franz Schubert painting
Oil painting of Franz Schubert by Wilhelm August Rieder (1875), made from his own 1825 watercolor portrait.

Music historians suggest Schubert’s Ninth received “The Great” moniker as simply a way to distinguish it from his Symphony No. 6 (also in C Major), which is now sometimes called the “Little C Major.” The much grander No. 9 is also longer, measuring about 48 minutes versus No. 6 at roughly 27 minutes.

For fun, Symphony musicians and staff weighed in on why they think Schubert’s “Great” is just that … great. Here are some of their responses:

  1. Other great composers revered this symphony. Hector Berlioz wrote that Schubert’s Ninth “is, to my thinking, worthy of a place among the loftiest productions of our art.” — Frank Byrne, executive director.
  1. Schubert’s “Great” is equally majestic and innovative, and it is even more impressive that it stands out as one of Schubert’s greatest achievements given that it was written only one year after Beethoven’s Ninth. — Jason Seber, David T. Beals III Associate Conductor.
  1. I love the piece. As a violin player, it’s so rewarding to play, especially the Finale — technically challenging and musically satisfying! — Chiafei Lin, acting assistant concertmaster.
  1. It has one of the greatest trombone parts in the repertoire. About Schubert’s time, trombones were used mostly for special effect, change and color in the orchestra. Schubert’s “Great” C Major was one of the first times that trombones were used in a very egalitarian way. There are solo parts in each instrument; the section itself has big solo portions. It’s not until Mahler, actually, that composers used the trombone in the same kind of way that the other sections were used in the orchestra. — Roger Oyster, principal trombone.
  1. Majestic timpani rolls! — Christopher McLaurin, principal percussion.
  1. I love this quote from Robert Schumann’s essay discussing the work, “Here we find, besides the most masterly compositional technique, life in every fiber; coloring down to the finest gradation; meaning everywhere; sharp expression in detail; and in the whole a suffusing Romanticism such as other works of Franz Schubert have already made known to us.

“And the heavenly length of the symphony, like that of a thick novel in four volumes by, say, Jean Paul, another who can never come to an end, and indeed for the best reason, to give the reader something to chew on afterwards. How this refreshes, this feeling of rich and ubiquitous abundance, so contrary to one’s experience with others, when one always dreads being let down at the end and is often sadly disappointed.”

Schumann summed it up very well in that the music of Schubert explores all facets of emotion, of life, of experiences, and most importantly always leaves us yearning for more.

My favorite part of the Schubert’s Ninth Symphony is the 2nd movement, after the climax and after the Grand Pause … heavenly indeed. — Kristina Fulton, principal oboe.

  1. Because in the purest sense of the word, this work is humanity distilled into one soaring and timeless song.

Schubert was a song composer, though his gifts for chamber and orchestral music are clear. But then, at the age of 30, he transcends the form of the symphony in a way that practically no other work does. Other symphonies have broken out of their molds as new creations of form — think the Berlioz Symphonie fantastique or Mahler. But in the propulsion, the energy, the optimism tinged with nostalgia and sadness which yields inevitably to elation and triumph, and especially the long-lined lyricism, this piece is nature and humanity transported to a higher realm. — Michael Stern, music director.

What do you think? Send us message on Facebook or Twitter.


To hear your Kansas City Symphony perform Schubert’s Ninth “The Great” on the Nov. 16-18 concerts, visit kcsymphony.org or call the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400. The program, led by conductor Michael Stern, also includes Bach’s “O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht,” Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus and John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls. Tickets start at $25. All concerts held in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City Symphony to Attempt GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Title for the Largest Tuba Ensemble

TubaChristmas header

The Kansas City Symphony is aiming for tuba glory at noon on Friday, December 7 in the Municipal Arena at Municipal Auditorium with its annual holiday tradition TubaChristmas.

Since 2008, the Symphony has hosted hundreds of tuba and euphonium players for TubaChristmas, most recently in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for two performances each year. For 2018, the Symphony was ready to up the ante by combining all players into one date at the Municipal Arena and go for a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title attempt.

The free, one-hour concert on Friday, December 7 will feature traditional holiday carols arranged for tuba and euphoniums, and the concerts draw packed houses. The 2018 concert also will feature the world premiere of a new composition for tubas and euphoniums by James Barnes, noted composer and University of Kansas professor emeritus of music composition. University of Kansas professor of tuba-euphonium, Scott Watson, will conduct the concert.

The tradition of TubaChristmas began in 1974 in New York City by renowned tuba player and teacher Harvey Phillips. Today there are hundreds of TubaChristmas events around the nation and world, making it the perfect event for a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS official attempt. The current record was achieved on December 21, 2007, in Anaheim, California, with 502 performers.

“We can absolutely break the current GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title,” said Kansas City Symphony Executive Director Frank Byrne, himself a tuba player. “This event has such wonderful spirit, is so much fun, and we have had incredible response each year. For 2018 we want to have the biggest and best TubaChristmas in the world, and to break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title. It will be a source of pride for Kansas City and great fun for performers and audience.”

The Symphony is taking no chances.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Adjudicator will attend on Friday, December 7, so everyone at the concert will know if the Kansas City Symphony’s TubaChristmas achieves a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.

Tuba and euphonium players may register to perform here.

Audience members who wish to witness the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title attempt can secure free tickets at this page.

“We want to invite tuba players from around the nation to come to KC and help us set the new world record,” Byrne added.

TubaChristmas in Kansas City is generously underwritten by Janet M. Stallmeyer and Donald L. Flora.

WHO: Kansas City Symphony
WHAT: TubaChristmas 2018
WHEN: Noon on Friday, December 7, 2018
WHERE: Municipal Arena at Municipal Auditorium – 301 W 13th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105
WHYGUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title attempt for Largest tuba ensemble

For more information, please contact the Kansas City Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400.

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.

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.