Touring International Artists Return to KC for 2021-22 Music and Dance Season

Störling Dance Theatre performing “Fly Girls 2019,” choreographed by Catherine Meredith, as part of 2019 New Dance Partners. (photo by Mike Strong)

Audiences Can Also Enjoy Perennial Favorites and Season Traditions

After being deprived of the concert hall experience for more than a year, we look forward more than ever to the classical music and dance season. With increased vaccinations, artists and audiences alike don’t have to risk their lives for art, and we’ll see the return of touring international artists. Many presenting organizations expect to have capacity audiences, with certain safety measures, and some, given the success of their pandemic experiments, will offer outdoor and online options for audiences. There are quite a few exciting artists new to Kansas City along with the return of perennial favorites and season traditions. 

What’s become a season staple, New Dance Partners offers new works from innovative choreographers to be performed by The Kansas City Ballet, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Störling Dance Theater, and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company. The show never fails to present fantastic, never-before-seen work (Sept. 17 and 18, Midwest Trust Center, Johnson County Community College).

On the other hand, the Kansas City Ballet returns to performances at the Kauffman Center with a trio of beloved popular works by Edwaard Liang, Lila York and George Balanchine. This was supposed to close the season in 2020, so it’s especially poignant they can return to these works. (Oct. 15-17, 22-24 Muriel Kauffman Theater). 

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane (Kansas City Symphony)

The Kansas City Symphony opens their season with expansive works about struggle . . . fitting, after the events of the last few years. Along with works by Ludwig von Beethoven and Gustav Mahler, pianist Jeffrey Kahane premieres a concerto written by his son, Gabriel (Sept. 24-26, Kauffman Center). Among the events of the season, look forward to following the Kansas City Symphony’s music director search in advance of Michael Stern’s departure at the end of the 2022-23 season and tracking the Mobile Music Box chamber music concerts in the fall. They will also join mega-star Andrea Bocelli Oct. 16 at the T-Mobile Center during his “Believe” tour.

Anthony Roth Costanzo (photo by Matthew Placek)

The Harriman-Jewell Series kicks off their season with the dynamic duo of violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Alessio Bax Oct. 2 at the Kauffman Center. Among the many amazing artists this year, they welcome soprano Renée Fleming (Nov. 18, Helzberg Hall) and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo (Dec. 18, Folly Theater).

The Friends of Chamber Music brings Benjamin Bagby’s one man “Beowolf” performance to Grace and Holy Trinity. Called “legendary,” he’s been performing this work in Old English and self-accompanying on Anglo-Saxon lyre all over the world for over 30 years (Oct. 29, Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral).

Amahl and his mother from the Lyric Opera’s puppet version of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” (photo by Don Ipock)

The concert season also welcomes traditions new and old. Last year, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City produced a puppet version of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” for streaming, and this year audiences will have a chance to see it in person in December in their performance space at The Michael and Ginger Frost Production Arts Building. To end the year, the Kansas City Ballet brings their refreshing, youthful “The Nutcracker” to the Kauffman Center. 

Libby Hanssen

Libby Hanssen covers the performing arts in Kansas City. She maintains the culture blog, “Proust Eats a Sandwich,” and writes poetry and children’s books. She holds a master’s degree in trombone performance from UMKC Conservatory and currently works at UMKC’s Music/Media Library.

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