Artists as Brilliant as Autumn Leaves

Hilary Hahn, violin (photo by OJ Slaughter)

Fall is Jam-Packed with Powerful Performances

Juan Diego Flórez, tenor (photo by Kristin Hoebermann)

The first chill breeze of autumn is so welcome after a scorching hot summer. One of the other glories of fall is when the Harriman-Jewell Series kicks off its new season. This year, the Series kicks off its season with a free Discovery concert featuring a pianist from Easter Island. Other concerts coming to Kansas City this fall include the Mark Morris Dance Group, tenor Juan Diego Flórez and superstar violinist Hilary Hahn.

“I love all the seasons,” Clark Morris, executive and artistic director of the Harriman-Jewell Series said. “I do love summer and kicking back with my flip-flops on, but love getting back to the concert season, where we have one performance after the next. I love the fall because we work on a college campus, and all of our students come back, and there’s such a sense of renewal and normalcy.”

One of the perks of attending William-Jewell College is that students get free tickets to Harriman-Jewell Series performances. This year, they’ll have a plethora of outstanding concerts from which to choose.

Hilary Hahn, one of the most sought-after violinists in the world today, will give a recital Oct. 13 at the Folly Theater. This will be the second time she’s appeared on the Series.

“Normally we would have presented her multiple times,” Morris said. “It’s one of those anomalies that we’re correcting with this presentation. Hilary was a child prodigy and won three Grammys, but she’s not pretentious in any way. Despite her enormous talent and intellect, she’s very modest and easygoing.”

Hahn is currently spearheading a project called Deep Music.AI. Rather than seeing AI as the stuff of dystopian nightmares, Hahn imagines the enormous possibilities in using AI to enhance human creativity.

“It’s really fascinating and I’m looking forward to talking to her about it when she’s here,” Morris said.

Morris says he is also excited about Teave, who will open the season Sept. 9 at the Folly. This internationally acclaimed pianist will be coming from Easter Island.

“She’s probably the most remote pianist we’ve ever presented,” Morris said. “There wasn’t a music program on Easter Island until she was a child and someone brought a piano and she was fascinated with it. She ended up going to Europe and becoming a classical pianist.”

Morris says Teave paused her thriving music career to return home and do something very special for the people of Easter Island.

“She actually built a music school on the island for the children,” Morris said. “The school was built with ecology in mind, using recycled materials and renewable energy. It’s amazing. She’s young but has already packed a couple of lifetimes of productivity into her life.”

Gabriela Montero, pianist (photo by Anders Brogaard)

The Mark Morris Dance Group, an audience favorite and Harriman-Jewell Series staple, is returning to Kansas City Nov. 17 at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

“Mark Morris is another beloved company here in Kansas City,” Morris said. “They’re coming with a new work that we’re partly commissioning called ‘The Look of Love.’ It’s set to music by Burt Bacharach, who is originally from Kansas City and who recently passed away. The performance will have live music as well. It’s great to have a new work that has live music with the dance.”

Like brilliant colored autumn leaves, the Harriman-Jewell Series will add to the brilliance of the season with many other superstar artists, like tenor Juan Diego Flórez, Nov. 26 at the Folly, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Oct. 20 at the Folly.

“It’s a jam-packed fall,” Morris said. “We have a lot of really exciting artists coming up and some things we’ve never done before, like the Minería Symphony Orchestra of Mexico. They’re coming with Gabriela Montero, who we have presented before. She’s a phenomenal pianist. Also, on Nov. 3 “Coco” will be the first time we’ve done a Disney film. The score will be performed live by a mariachi band. I think that’s going to be a lot of fun.”

To reserve tickets and for a complete listing of all concerts, go to hjseries.org.

–Patrick Neas

CategoriesArts Consortium

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