Harriman-Jewell Series presents Martin James Bartlett Feb. 26 in a Free Discovery Concert at Gano Hall at William Jewell College. (photo by Paul Marc Mitchell)
The Vibrant Season Includes Orchestral and Chamber Music, Opera, Choral Concerts and Dance
The spring concert schedule is particularly packed with intriguing performances, in part because many concerts and tours were pushed back or rescheduled due to the pandemic. While some organizations are looking forward, others are finally getting to present work delayed by pandemic closures, including celebrations from Beethoven’s 250th anniversary.
Before heading out to a performance, double check the organization or venue’s policies regarding health and safety, as recommendations and requirements may change.
From resident companies to touring shows, we’ll see an array of creative movement on local stages.
The Kansas City Ballet brings back two popular works, the gothic “Dracula” (Feb. 18-20, 25-26) and fantastical “Wizard of Oz” (May 13-15, 19-22), in Muriel Kauffman Theatre, as well as supporting emerging choreographic vision in “New Moves” (March 24-27), at the Bolender Center’s Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater.
Harriman-Jewell Series presents Parsons Dance (Jan. 21), “Lucy Negro Redux,” a new work from Nashville Ballet with musicians Rhiannon Giddons and Francesco Turrisi (April 9) and tap dance troupe Dorrance Dance (May 27), in Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company continues its 30th anniversary season with a collaboration with Bach Aria Soloists (Feb. 26) at MTH Theater in Crown Center and a season finale of favorite works (May 20) at UMKC’s White Recital Hall. Owen/Cox Dance Group collaborates with cellist/songwriter Helen Gillet for a new work, “Skin,” (April 1-3) at Union Station’s City Stage Theatre.
City in Motion Dance Theater presents their 18th annual “Modern Night” showcase at the Gem Theatre this year (Feb. 5). Midwest Trust Center presents the nature-inspired movement of Pilobos (April 2) and the incredibly fun Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (April 14). Störling Dance Theatre, celebrating 25 years this season, presents its 14th annual “Underground” (Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Feb. 3-4) and the long-delayed world premiere of “Book of Kells” (May 13-14) at the Folly Theater.
Opera and Choral Concerts
The Lyric Opera of Kansas City is once again back in Muriel Kauffman Theatre with epic, large-scale work: “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” (March 11, 12, 13) and “Tosca,” starring Marina Costa-Jackson (April 30, May 6, 8).
Landlocked Opera presents “For the Love of Singing: ‘La Traviata’” in concert (Feb. 12-13) and “Tartuffe” (June 10, 12, locations TBD). Heartland Men’s Chorus presents the iconic “WHITNEY” (March 26-27) and the co-commissioned, pandemic-delayed, new musical “Unbreakable” (June 11-12), in the Folly Theater. Kansas City Women’s Chorus performs “Hello, Goodbye,” in honor of artistic director/conductor Cindy Sheppard’s retirement, at Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building (May 20-21).
Harriman-Jewell Series co-commissioned “Eden,” a newly conceived program from mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and Baroque ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro, with new work from composer Rachel Portman (April 12). The series also presents The King’s Singers (Feb. 19). Both are at the Folly Theater.
Kansas City Chorale is recording their popular “The Travels of Marco Polo” program live in Helzberg Hall (Feb. 18). They perform their annual Spring Song at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (April 16) and the new program “God Save the King” (May 14, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; May 20, Village Presbyterian Church).
Te Deum performs religious-inspired programs with “Music of the Sistine Chapel” for their Antiqua Series (Jan. 22, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; Jan. 23, Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Topeka), “Vespers” at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (March 13) and “Divine” (June 11, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church; June 12, Village Presbyterian Church). The William Baker Festival Singers perform “St. John’s Passion” at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral (April 3) and has their “Home” concert at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (May 1). The Kansas City Symphony Chorus has their feature voices-only performance in Helzberg Hall (March 3). KC VITAs presents “Voices of VITAs” (Feb. 6, location TBD).
Spire Chamber Ensemble collaborates with the Kansas City Youth Chorus and Grammy Award-nominated organist Jan Kraybill for “Awakening New Sounds,” with the world premiere by Ben A. Spalding (April 2, Lawrence; April 3, Village Presbyterian) and presents bass-baritone Jonathan Woody for “There is a Balm in Gilead” (June 4) at Westport Presbyterian Church.
The Kansas City Symphony continues its season and music director search with a cadre of guest conductors. They’ll also continue to highlight traditional works with pieces from the new canon by BIPOC and women composers, including William Grant Still, Anna Clyne, Joan Tower, Lili Boulanger, Joel Thompson and Jessie Montgomery.
Additionally, Kansas City audiences will hear the premieres of new work from Thompson (Jan. 28-30, co-commissioned), Chris Rogerson (June 3-5, commissioned) and Montgomery (June 24-26, co-commissioned).
For the season finale, Stern leads the symphony and symphony chorus in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Choral,” (originally planned for their 2019/2020 Beethoven 250th anniversary celebration), with George Frideric Handel’s “Zadok the Priest” and Montgomery’s piano concert, performed by Awadagin Pratt (June 24-26; Thursday, June 23, is only Symphony 9).
Kinnor Philharmonic returns this season with its traditional New Year’s concert (Jan. 2) and summer concert (June 12) at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City’s White Theatre. The Heritage Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates its 75th anniversary in Helzberg Hall (May 8). Kansas City Civic Orchestra performs with guest conductor Boris Vayner (March 5) at Atonement Lutheran Church and presents “An Epic Finale” in Helzberg Hall (May 15). The Harriman-Jewell Series co-hosts violinist SooBeen Lee as soloist with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Kansas City at William Jewell College’s Gano Hall (March 26). Midwest Chamber Ensemble concludes its 10th season at the Folly Theater with work from Benjamin Boyle and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (May 1).
Friends of Chamber Music presents Garrick Ohlsson (Jan. 28), Vladimir Feltsman (Feb. 11), Sergie Babayan (March 18) and Rafał Blechacz (April 10) at the Folly Theater. 1900 Building and Park University International Center for Music present Park alum Behzod Abduraimov (April 16).
At the Folly Theater, Harriman-Jewell Series presents Daniil Trifonov (April 24) and Samantha Ege (May 15, in a Free Discovery Concert). Dr. Ege is a performer and scholar, focusing on the music of Black women composers, including Kansas City’s Nora Holt. They’ll also host Martin James Barlett (Feb. 26, in a Free Discovery Concert) at Gano Hall at William Jewell College and the Brandon Goldberg Trio (March 12) at White Theatre at The J.
The Kansas City Symphony welcomes soloists Jon Kimura Parker (Jan. 14-16), Martina Filjak (March 4-6), and Conrad Tao (April 22-24), Jan Kraybill (on organ, June 3-5), and Awadagin Pratt (June 24-26), at Helzberg Hall.
Friends of Chamber Music presents two pandemic-delayed programs with Morgenstern Trio Beethoven Festival at the 1900 Building (March 5-6) and Runge & Ammon’s “Revolutionary Icons” at Yardley Hall (May 6), as well as the Brentano Quartet (Jan. 14) and Goldmund Quartet (Feb. 20) at the Folly Theater, Anne Azéma, voice, and Nigel North, lute (April 23), at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, and the Kansas City premiere of the internationally acclaimed Ensemble Correspondences, performing 17th-century French repertoire on period instruments (May 15) at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Opus 76 string quartet, ensemble-in-residence for the Midwest Trust Center, begins the year with an in-person performance of Beethoven’s Op.131 quartet, paired with a screening of the film “Immortal Beloved” (Jan. 9), as well as recitals (Feb. 20; March 20 with pianist Julie Coucheron) and another installment of their virtual series “Eat, Drink & Play” (April 27). Midwest Trust Center also presents violin-based Afro-Mexican ensemble Villalobos Brothers and Las Cafeteras (Jan. 30) and the schticky, virtuosic Austrian ensemble Mnozil Brass (March 27).
The Harriman-Jewell Series presents the Scottish Ensemble with bassist Edgar Meyer (April 3), and the sibling duo of Sheku (cello) and Isata (piano) Kanneh-Mason, of the impressive British Kannah-Mason family, in recital (April 29) and Free Discovery Concert (April 30), all at the Folly Theater.
The JACK Quartet comes to UMKC Conservatory White Recital Hall (April 25), while Park ICM presents violinist Elmar Oliveira (Jan. 29) and Ben Sayevich and Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich (March 2) at the 1900 Building. Violinist and composer Mark O’Connor will perform with the Folly + The Bridge Americana Series with his wife, Maggie (Feb. 18).
Bach Aria Soloists will finally have the chance to perform with trumpeter Rodney Marsalis for their twice-delayed concert (April 30) at Village Presbyterian Church. NAVO hosts the Manhattan Trio (Feb. 12), “Cellissimo” (March 26) and “The Gift of Seasons for Mother’s Day” (May 7), all at Atonement Lutheran Church.
Midwest Chamber Ensemble presents work for soprano and chamber ensemble (Jan. 23), Maurice Ravel’s string quartet and Amy Beach’s Theme and Variations for flute (April 10) at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. newEar Contemporary Music Ensemble performs eclectic modern works at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Feb. 5-6, April 4-5).
The Kansas City Symphony restarted their popular Free Symphony Happy Hour Concert chamber music series in Helzberg Hall (Jan. 12, Feb. 23, April 6) and, when warmer weather comes, will roll out their Mobile Music Box again, at locations around the city.