Artistry Abounds This Autumn for Harriman-Jewell Series

Abduraimov and Ioudenitch in Gergiev-led concert, Joshua Bell in recital, and Stars of American Ballet perform Balanchine

Like crisp apples and crisp autumn weather, the Harriman-Jewell Series is an essential part of the fall season. This year, the Series is warming up chilly nights with a wide variety of performances, ranging from Stars of American Ballet to violinist Joshua Bell.

On November 7, The Stradivarius Ensemble of the Mariinsky Orchestra will bring its lush sound to Helzberg Hall with a program of chamber orchestra favorites. Renowned Russian conductor Valery Gergiev will lead the group in a return appearance on the Series.

“It was in November 1998 that we had Gergiev with the Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg,” said Clark Morris, executive and artistic director of the Harriman-Jewell Series. “That was a very memorable performance.
Gergiev was well known then, but now, nearly 20 years later, we get to experience him again.”

The Stradivarius Ensemble is a chamber orchestra with a sound that has a richness worthy of the instruments created by the illustrious 18th-century Stradivari family.

“The musicians use some of the finest instruments to be found in the world,” Morris said. “They’re not all made by Stradivarius, but they’re very fine instruments and all of them are vintage.”

The combination of top-level musicians and superbly crafted instruments will lend itself well to the Holberg Suite of Edvard Grieg, Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss and the Serenade for Strings by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Making the concert even more special will be a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos by two acclaimed musicians with a Kansas City connection: Behzod Abduraimov and Stanislav Ioudenitch.

Ioudenitch, who won the gold medal at the 11th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2011, is artistic director of the International Center for Music at Park University. Abduraimov, winner of the grand prize at the 2009 London International Piano Competition, studied with Ioudenitch and is currently an ICM artist-in-residence.

“It was really Gergiev’s idea,” Morris said. “Behzod was a soloist on this tour, but Gergiev wasn’t satisfied with that. He thought let’s also make Stanislav a part of this. So, he approached Stanislav and then he asked us if we could do it. It’s a great opportunity for us to pair Behzod and Stanislav together with Gergiev and this ensemble. It’ll be a great celebration of what Kansas City has been able to produce and nurture.”

On October 21, violin superstar Joshua Bell will give a recital with pianist Alessio Bax at Helzberg Hall. Bell has made many appearances on the Harriman-Jewell Series, beginning in 1997. He is an artist that audiences can’t get enough of.

“Joshua is a rare talent that has a combination of musical prowess and a special sound along with that charisma that really gives him star power,” Morris said. “People just go crazy for him when he’s on stage, and when he receives the audience afterwards, it’s amazing how many people want to get his autograph and get a closer view. He’s incredibly nice. Just the warmest human being and so unassuming.”

Bax is another returning Harriman-Jewell artist. The Italian pianist made his first appearance on the Series in 2010 on a Discovery Concert. In the past seven years, Bax’s career and reputation has grown, and now the 39-year-old is considered one of the finest pianists of his generation.

“It’s satisfying to see our Discovery artists coming back with these giant superstars,” Morris said. “I’m told that there’s great rapport between Joshua and Alessio.”

Stars of American Ballet will perform works by George Balanchine and other great choreographers October 27 at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The group’s name says it all. Stars of American Ballet is composed of some of the finest dancers in the country from the New York City Ballet and other great American companies.

The program highlight will be Who Cares? the music of George Gershwin choreographed by Balanchine. This combination of Russian classical ballet technique and Jazz Age American music is sure to please.

For tickets and information, call 816-415-5025 or visit www.hjseries.org.

–Patrick Neas

About The Author: Contributing Writer

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