Say “Crossroads” in Kansas City, and most people think of the burgeoning downtown arts district. But Kansas City is increasingly becoming an international crossroads, attracting performers and artists from around the world to dance, play their music and exhibit work in our museums, and, in the case of Gonzalo Farias, a native of Chile, to play a major role in one of Kansas City’s leading cultural organizations. In January, Farias was named the new David T. Beals III Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony.
Throughout the season, Kansas City audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy the vision and talent of artists from around the globe, including Mexican-born conductor Roberto Kalb and Italian director/choreographer Anna Maria Bruzzese, making their Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut in this fall’s production of “Carmen.” At Yardley Hall, The Midwest Trust Center welcomes Puerto Rican-born choreographer Bryan Arias, co-founder of the Switzerland-based company Snorkle Rabbit, who will work with Owen/Cox Dance Group as one of four choreographers participating in September’s “New Dance Partners” performance. For the holidays, Midwest Trust Center presents a Norwegian Christmas concert by the tenThing Brass Ensemble, Dec. 2, founded by virtuoso Norwegian trumpet soloist Tine Thing Helseth.
Elsewhere, the Harriman-Jewell Series will present the Brazilian ensemble Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, with Marin Alsop at the Kauffman Center Oct. 10, and the Park ICM 1900 Series Presents brings celebrated Israeli violinist Shmuel Ashenaski to the 1900 Building, Nov. 19. A highlight of the AMERI’KANA Music & Arts Festival will be a mainstage performance by Latin Grammy Award-winner Mireya Ramos, an artist of Dominican and Mexican descent raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, who co-founded the all-female mariachi group Flor de Toloache.
As Kansas City welcomes international artists, the international stage has welcomed Kansas City artists. In June, Ilya Shmukler, a graduate student at Park University International Center for Music, studying with Stanislav Ioudenitch, tied for fourth place in the 16th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Also in June, Joshua Kiesel, an apprentice with the Kansas City Ballet, won third place in the ninth Helsinki International Ballet Competition at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, which KC Ballet’s artistic director Devon Carney has described as “the Olympics of the dance world.”
Kansas City’s Bach Aria Soloists were selected as artists-in-residence for the 2022 Thailand International Composition Festival at Mahidol University College of Music in Nakhon Pathom, where they premiered a new work, “Echoes, Sound, and Silence,” by composer and festival founder Narong Prangcharoen.
Post-pandemic, Kansas City-based Central Standard Theatre has resumed performances, presenting Rudyard’s Kipling’s “Just So Stories” at the Bedford Fringe Festival in England in July. In September, Kansas City actor and Central Standard Theatre Director Bob Paisley will perform John Clancy’s “The Event” at the Halifax Fringe Festival in Nova Scotia.
This fall the prestigious Bloomsbury publishing house will release “Black Matters: Lewis Morrow Plays,” a trilogy of new works by the KC Melting Pot Theatre’s director of new play development. The release coincides with the theater’s production of “Mother/Son,” Sept. 15-22, the third installment in Morrow’s trilogy.
International recognition has also accrued to Kansas City composer/performer Stacy Busch, one of seven Americans chosen to participate in the 2022 OneBeat Virtual Residency Program, an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, collaborating with New York City-based Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation.
For more information about Busch and other KC artists and organizations making news, readers will find much to be proud of in this issue’s “Arts in Brief” section.
COMING IN OUR NOVEMBER/DECEMBER ISSUE: Libby Hanssen on the scrappy hip-hop duo The Black Creatures; Robert Stewart remembers two iconic KC literary landmarks; Artist Pages; changes at the Nelson-Atkins, new poetry and more