Music Has Never Sounded As Sweet: World-Class Series Returns Full Force

Kansas City’s concert halls have been quiet for far too long. But this fall, they will burst forth with music and dance when the Harriman-Jewell Series returns with one of its most significant seasons since its 1965 founding.

After more than a year of canceled in-person events due to the pandemic, the Series is spreading a banquet for those craving live music. With opera divas Renée Fleming and Joyce DiDonato, international piano superstars Khatia Buniatishvili and Daniil Trifonov, the Boston Pops conducted by Keith Lockhart and festive holiday music from the Canadian Brass and discoveries and surprises along the way, it is the Harriman-Jewell Series at its best.

The Harriman-Jewell Series returns with stellar presentations on Kansas City stages with its 57th  season that spans October through May 2022. Performers left to right: Nashville Ballet in  Lucy Negro Redux,  pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, and Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops On Tour. 

Joshua Bell (photo by Phillip Knott)

The 2021-2022 season begins with Kansas City favorites. Violinist Joshua Bell will be joined by pianist Alessio Bax for what promises to be a deeply emotional and joyous event.

Joyce DiDonato (photo by Chris Singer)

Fleming and DiDonato are both planning concerts that go beyond the typical vocal recital.

“Renée is going to present an education event in conjunction with KU Med Center called Music and the Mind,” Morris said. “There will be a symposium about the impact that music has on people’s brains and neural development.”

DiDonato is collaborating with the early music ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro on a program called Eden. Inspired by earth and nature, Eden will be a theatrical experience, with costumes, lighting and staging.

Another intriguing theatrical work is Lucy Negro Redux. Performed by dancers of the Nashville Ballet with live music provided by folk-music icon Rhiannon Giddens, the piece is based on Caroline Randall Williams poetry, which imagines who the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets might be.

Kansas City native David Parsons is returning with Parsons Dance. And the award-winning Dorrance Dance will offer a tap-dancing finale to the season.

Of course, there will be several free Discovery Concerts throughout the year, featuring artists like British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and his sister, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason.

A special discovery will be pianist Samantha Ege, who is a musicologist on the faculty of Oxford University. She’ll perform a recital of Black women composers, whose music has been systematically overlooked. Ege will also give lectures and take part in educational work while she’s in Kansas City, shedding light on this important body of music.

Samantha Ege (photo by Jason Dodd)
Samantha Ege (photo by Jason Dodd)

“Richard Harriman wanted to bring the best in the world and of course that includes people from all cultures and backgrounds,” Morris said. “We’re particularly aware of the importance of that work in the current social context, but it’s certainly not new work for us. It is part of the natural ethos of the Series.”

For complete details about the upcoming season, visit HJSERIES.ORG or call 816-415-5025.

–Patrick Neas

CategoriesArts Consortium

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