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Backstage And Beyond

Octarium continues to refine its sonority and musical profile, and its distinguished concert on November 14 and 15, Modern Masters, showed that the group is gaining heft with leading choral composers around the country as well. The program included two world premieres and marked the release of a CD by the same title containing the music performed […]

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If you want to know what the six youngsters playing the lead parts in the Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker think about what they do, just ask them. Not only can they pirouette, plié and jeté, these boys and girls aged 9 to 14 can also talk about dance with clarity, thoughtfulness and no small amount of humor. We recently sat […]

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If you are looking for just one holiday event to attend, the Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker might not be the most inexpensive offering in town, but it’s probably the most solidly satisfying aesthetically. With Balanchine-inspired choreography by late artistic director Todd Bolender and delicious scenic and costume design by veteran Hollywood designer Robert Fletcher, it’s one of the […]

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The Kansas City Symphony has an intriguing array of soloists lined up for the spring, from superstars to newcomers, and the first one I’m looking forward to is Benedetto Lupo, a marvelous Italian pianist with a substantial European career who only recently has begun to attract due notice on these shores. Odd, considering that his career […]

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Musical groups of all kinds have drawn on word-play for their names — from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Chanticleer (Geoffrey Chaucer’s “clear-singing” rooster in The Canterbury Tales) and Anonymous 4 (a quartet named for the unknown author of a famous 13th-century musical treatise). But one Dutch vocal ensemble may have gone those groups […]

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Italian composer Luca Lombardi has admired the artistry of flutist Emmanuel Pahud since he first heard him play years ago. “I was very impressed not only with the beauty of the tone, but with the musical intelligence and sensitivity,” the 64-year-old composer said in a recent phone chat. “I like his earnestness but also his humor, his irony.” The two seemed […]

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Pianist Marc-André Hamelin has an uncanny ability to convince you, through the sheer force of his musical personality and will, that whatever he’s playing at the moment is the greatest music on earth — even music whose genius you might later, upon reflection, decide you’re not as sure about as he is. But at the moment he’s […]

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It’s an irresistible image, almost like a scene from a Werner Herzogmovie: the aging Albert Schweitzer — theologian, musician, philosopher, physician, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Johann Sebastian Bach biographer — sitting in his bungalow playing Baroque organ music, while outside his windows the sounds of Africa buzz and sing. Such was the inspiration for Lambarena, an ingenious CD […]

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One of the most electrifying pianists I’ve heard recently is a 19-year-old college student right here in Our Town. Uzbek-bornBehzod Abduraimov, a protégé of Van Cliburn Competition gold medalist Stanislav Ioudenitch at Park University, is quickly garnering international renown. On March 5th at the Folly Theater, pupil and teacher will perform a joint recital on Cynthia Siebert’s Friends of […]

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