Forward Momentum Continues at the Conservatory

It has been an exciting fall semester at the UMKC Conservatory! July 1 marked the official merger of the Theatre Department into the Conservatory, as we unveiled our new branding with all UMKC performing arts under one entity. The UMKC Conservatory is the designated performing arts campus for the University of Missouri system, and our educational community is one that advances creativity, performance, scholarship and collaboration. With this newly formed Conservatory, we are thrilled to all be working together in partnership as we prepare the next generation of artists.

Our annual Crescendo concert and scholarship fundraiser is Friday, Nov. 8. This highly anticipated event, which happens in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, has expanded greatly over the past two years.

The fast-paced, 60-minute Crescendo performance spotlights Conservatory students and faculty as they perform in various locations throughout Helzberg Hall for a totally immersive experience. The concert — whose repertoire is a well-kept secret — features dance, jazz, opera, voice, orchestra, theatre and more. Proceeds from Crescendo directly benefit Conservatory students. Tickets to the concert, which is a part of our Conservatory Artist Series, are $50 for the general public, while UMKC faculty, staff and all students with UMKC or student ID are $15.

Having world-renowned performing artists on our faculty drives not only our students forward, but the Kansas City fine arts communities as well. On Wednesday, Nov. 6, students of pianist Alon Goldstein, a member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, will perform in a free marathon concert titled An Invitation to the Dance, starting at 5 p.m. in Grant Recital Hall on the UMKC campus.

Trombonist Mitch Butler returns to the Conservatory, serving as Associate Professor and Coordinator of Jazz Studies. Saxophonist Bobby Watson, who has been on the Conservatory faculty for more than 20 years, will spend the 2019–20 academic year as UMKC’s Jazz Ambassador, spreading the word of our amazing Jazz Studies program worldwide. You can catch our jazz students as they perform in combos at the historic Blue Room Tuesday, Nov. 12, and Wednesday, Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m. both nights. The Blue Room has no cover charge these two nights, so come as you please to enjoy our fantastic jazz students.

Our annual Fall Dance is in White Recital Hall Nov. 14 – 16, 7:30 p.m., with an additional free and informal matinee at 2:30 p.m. on the 16th. This thrilling event features Conservatory dance students as they perform the choreography of our preeminent faculty: Paula Weber, Gary Abbott, Ronn Tice, Dee Anna Hiett, David Justin and our newest dance faculty member, Michael Blake. Tickets: $8 ($6 seniors); UMKC faculty, staff and all students free with UMKC or student ID.

World-renowned choral conductor and Professor Emeritus Eph Ehly returns to the Conservatory for this academic year. Ehly has inspired generations of Conservatory students and is serving the 2019–20 academic year as Visiting Professor of the Raymond R. Neevel/Missouri Professorship in Choral Music. Canticum Novum and special guests will present a free evening of chamber music Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m. at St. John’s United Methodist Church.

For a pre-Thanksgiving treat, join the Conservatory Jazz Bands in White Recital Hall the following week, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m. in White Recital Hall. Tickets are $8 ($6 seniors), with UMKC faculty, staff and all students free with UMKC or student ID.

This year, we welcome Kevin Noe and Adam Boyles to the UMKC Conservatory as co-directors of Orchestras, and Boyles takes the podium on Wednesday, Nov. 20, to conduct a night of Berlioz, Schumann and more.

The theatre department, which just wrapped on their first Conservatory Artist Series performance of An Italian Straw Hat, will present The Moors in Studio 116, located on the first floor of the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, Nov. 29 – Dec. 8. This dark comedy about love, desperation and visibility is directed by Kim Martin Green, and tickets are available for $12 general public, with UMKC faculty, staff and all students free with UMKC or student ID.

Violinist Joseph Genualdi, who won the audition to serve as associate concertmaster of the San Francisco Symphony at age 22, will present a free faculty recital on Monday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. in White Recital Hall.

That’s followed by two back-to-back nights of UMKC Bands at the Conservatory, with Joseph Parisi and the Conservatory Wind Ensemble on Wednesday, Dec. 4, and Steven D. Davis and the Conservatory Wind Symphony on Thursday, Dec. 5. Both of these are at 7:30 p.m. in White Recital Hall on the UMKC campus, and tickets are $8 ($6 seniors), with UMKC faculty, staff and all students free with UMKC or student ID.

To wrap up another fantastic semester of Conservatory performances, the Choirs will all join forces for our annual Season for Giving benefit for Harvesters Community Food Network, Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at Visitation Catholic Church.

Don’t miss the other exciting and free events!

UMKC Percussion Ensemble, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall
Musica Nova, Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall
Student Chamber Ensembles, Nov. 16, 2:30 p.m., Diastole Scholars’ Center
Student Chamber Ensembles, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., Grant Recital Hall
Composers’ Guild, Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall
IMP Ensemble, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., Grant Recital Hall
Plaza Winds (UMKC Graduate Fellowship Woodwind Quintet), Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall
Saxophone Studio Recital, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall

For Crescendo tickets, contact the Kauffman Center Box Office, 816-994-7222. conservatory.umkc.edu

–Jessica Riggins

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