Internationally Acclaimed Artists Come to Kansas City with Curtis on Tour

Micah Gleason

Micah Gleason

The Curtis Institute of Music is one of the most prestigious schools for emerging performers in the United States. With a philosophy of “learning by doing,” it’s no surprise that most of their faculty actively performs in addition to teaching. Their alumni include winners of Pulitzer Prizes, Guggenheim Fellowships and Avery Fisher Awards.

For more than a decade, Curtis on Tour, the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music, has given the opportunity for emerging professional artists to tour the world alongside celebrated faculty and alumni. This season’s tour will feature David Shifrin (clarinet, class of 1971), Soovin Kim (violin, class of 1999) and actor John de Lancie Jr., whose father taught at the Institute and served as director from 1977 to 1985. They will be joined by Micah Gleason, who serves at the Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow at Curtis. The tour will bring them to Overland Park on Sunday, March 26, for a performance at the Midwest Trust Center.

David Shifrin
David Shifrin

L’Histoire du Soldat Offers Plenty of Drama

The evening will include Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldatm(The Soldier’s Tale). The morality tale is just as relevant today as when it was written in 1917, according to Micah Gleason, who will conduct the piece. Gleason reflected that it is “A great story at any time, but especially now when it seems like everyone is burnt out; everyone is struggling. This tale frames how we as people deal with the world and with greed.”

Gleason went on to say, “Our version will not be as staged as some others.” Typically performed by three actors and an ensemble of dancers, this tour’s rendition will be a more stripped-down version with de Lancie voicing all the characters. Clarinetist David Shifrin also noted that Stravinsky’s work has “such a strong theatrical element.” Between the expressive score and the many talents of the artists, a minimalist retelling more than adequately conveys the drama of the piece.

Repertoire Features Variety Expertly Woven Together

While Shifrin recognizes that A Soldier’s Tale is the main course, he’s sure that audiences will be entertained and enlightened by the evening’s program. “If they come, they’re going to be astounded at the variety of music from composers of the 20th century through today. There is an amalgam of styles and periods reflected in the program with a strong element of jazz and Avant Garde as well. It’s not often you get to see a solo for snare drum” referring to the piece Well-Groomed by Viet Cuong.

John de Lancie
John de Lancie
Soovin Kim
Soovin Kim

When asked what Gleason is looking forward to in the concert, she highlighted the new commissioned work from Curtis alumnus Nicholas Diberardino. “I love learning new repertoire and contextualizing how it fits in alongside the other pieces.” The evening will be rounded out with Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for clarinet and bassoon and Eugène Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 6 performed by violinist Soovin Kim.

When asked what this tour means to him, Shifrin had this to say: “It’s an inspired idea. It’s not just a career opportunity, it’s a learning opportunity for everyone involved. It’s thrilling to remember what Curtis was like and see how it evolved, including tours like this. It has done so much to serve audiences, composers, students and beyond.” Similarly, Gleason is looking forward to “collaborating with all the artists. I love interdisciplinary work and providing a fresh perspective as a collective group.”

Curtis on Tour will perform L’Histoire du Soldat Sunday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in the Midwest Trust Center on the campus of Johnson County Community College.

March – May 2023 Performances

Purchase tickets: jccc.edu/MidwestTrustCenter
MTC Box Office: 913-469-4445
Mon. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

March 2 It’s Okay to Be Different Stories by Todd Parr
March 3 Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra
March 5 Brooklyn Rider Wanderer
March 10 Danú St. Patrick’s Celebration
March 11 John McCutcheon
March 12 Opus 76 Quartet Tchaikovsky and Schumann
with Ramona Pansegrau, piano
March 19 Winterlude: KC Jazz Disciples
March 25 MTC Kids Jam: Who’s Gonna Make Our Music?!mwith Billy Jonas
March 26 Curtis on Tour, Featuring David Shifrin, clarinet; John de Lancie, narrator; Soovin Kim, violin
March 31 A Moving Sound | Music and Dance from Taiwan
April 1 Masters of Percussion featuring Zakir Hussain
April 15 George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
May 6 MTC Kids Jam: KC Spotlight featuring Dino O’Dell, Funky Mama and Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove
May 19 Cirque Kalabanté Afrique en Cirque

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

Leave a Reply