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Backstage And Beyond

HIGH-STRUNG: As it celebrates 20 years, local chamber music organization gains momentum

Heartland Chamber Music is not just a festival and it’s not just a music program or a “violin camp.” It’s many things at once, and unless your child has been one of the 80 or so lucky string players admitted into the program each year, you might not fully appreciate the impact it is having […]

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A MOTHER’S WORRY: Chamber opera by two Kansas City-born women is exerting national impact

  Most mothers dread the day that their sons or daughters start to drive, but Black moms are especially fearful when their teenagers, and sons in particular, get behind the wheel for the first time. That fear helped spark the inception of a new chamber opera by two internationally known Kansas City natives, Soprano and […]

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START SPREADIN’ THE NEWS: KC Rep becomes first major arts group to announce a full 2021-2022 season

Before there was theater there was storytelling. And if we ever end up living in a dystopian world with a broken “grid,” we might find ourselves returning to that oral tradition, trading stories among the ruins. Fortunately, we still have theater, and in late April our city welcomed the announcement of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s […]

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BOLD NEW CAREERS: Musicians adapt abilities to fresh situations and needs

These days the primary qualification for achieving the American dream seems to be adaptability. Jessica Wakefield and Kevin Hao began preparing for their “first careers” as orchestral violinists in the way that most exceptional musicians do: she at the Juilliard School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music, he at the University of Washington […]

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FROM GRASSY FIELD TO CULTURAL HUB: Midwest Trust Center celebrates 30 years as primary force in local arts scene

Many of us still think of it as the new kid on the block. But for anyone tracing the development of the performing arts in the Kansas City region, watching the growth of the performance series at Johnson County Community College has been a bit like seeing an awkward adolescent become a strong, capable member […]

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HOWL ME A TUNE: As composers evoke animals in their music, orchestral musicians draw symbiotic sustenance from their own pets   

Early humans may not have actually learned to make music from the beasts of the air, land, or sea, but they were clearly aware of the sounds around them. We can probably assume that they shared our own fascination with the “songs” of birds, whales, and wolves: even as we recognize that, to whatever extent […]

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, JETÉ: Film is offering local performers new means of expression

After local arts organizations got over the shock of not being able to perform in their normal manner, they began setting up cameras everywhere: streaming performances live, filming them to share on the web, or creating both live and “archived” versions at the same time. Today, more than a year into this “age of innovation” […]

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IT ONLY TAKES A SPARK: KC Rep’s web initiative reveals intricate connections among art forms in Kansas City

One of these days, Yetunde Felix-Ukwu will again have a mountain of artistic, production, and curatorial duties to deal with at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. At the moment, though, the company’s artistic associate is fulfilling an equally critical function: She is using the company’s digital platform to show Kansas City the extent to which the […]

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WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Performers reveal whose opinions matter to them when the applause subsides

Performing artists are such punctilious critics of their own work that they generally know what went well and what didn’t. Even before anyone else weighs in, they have at least a “feel” for how it came off. But eventually they’re curious to know what it looked like from the “other side of the footlights,” and […]

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