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Backstage And Beyond

LENNY’S WORLD: Stern to take KC Symphony audiences through joyous, intimate centennial celebration

For Michael Stern the centenary celebration of musical icon Leonard Bernstein is a personal journey. The Kansas City Symphony Music Director not only grew up around the enormously gifted conductor-composer-pianist, who would have turned 100 this August 25th, but as a child he regularly attended the New York Philharmonic’s legendary Young People’s Concerts. As a […]

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STORMY, WITH A CHANCE OF RAINBOWS: QHP devotes program to American master with unique Kansas tie

Mention composer Harold Arlen’s name to music lovers and they’re likely to say, “Oh yeah, he was one of those old Broadway guys, right?” But then drop into the conversation such titles such as “Over the Rainbow,” “Stormy Weather” or “Get Happy” and watch faces light up. “Oh, that Harold Arlen.” To help showcase this […]

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ALL BY MYSELF: Unicorn brings pertinent one-person play to the stage

Some might say there are advantages to being the only actor in a play. You wield complete control over the pacing, you don’t have to worry about other players forgetting their lines, and in the case of most one-person shows, the action is finished in 90 minutes and you might even get to a restaurant before the […]

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NO STRANGERS TO THE GRAMMYS: KC goes large on 2018 nominations

Kansas City musicians scored extraordinarily well in the 2018 Grammy Award nominations announced on November 28th: seven nominations in all. Congratulations go to the Kansas City Symphony, KC’s mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, UMKC Conservatory Assistant Professor Zachary Shemon, and rap producer/songwriter (and KCK native) J. White. Topping the list is the Symphony’s disc of works by Adam […]

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A NEW CAROL: KC Rep creates more faithful adaptation of Dickens classic, as KC Ballet’s refreshed holiday favorite receives accolades

Change is almost always frightening, but when it comes to timeworn holiday traditions it can be as terrifying as realizing you left the Christmas turkey in the oven on “high” all night. For arts organizations whose popular yultetide fare provides a substantial chunk of annual revenue, tinkering with it can fill administrators and board members […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric stages tuneful, visually striking new opera (and the weather outside is indeed frightful)

Everest possesses something found in surprisingly few contemporary operas: soaring, tastefully singable tunes that stick in your head but avoid the tacky pizzazz of Broadway that plagues so many new operas. Some will admire the piece (by composer Joby Talbot and librettist Gene Scheer) simply for its dazzling physical production and its starkly naturalistic score, […]

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TRIO OF TITANS: KC-based megastar teams up with mentors for special moment

Hearing one musical giant at a concert is a great thing. Two, even better. But three, on the same program? Few events on this season’s calendar stand out quite as much as the appearance of Maestro Valery Gergiev on the Harriman-Jewell Series, with an ensemble from the Mariinsky Orchestra that he has built into a […]

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FOLLY JAZZ AT 35: Top-drawer guitarist opens milestone season as local series offers international lineup

Lee Ritenour might not know exactly what he and his ensemble will be playing when they perform here on October 28th, at the glittering Opening Night of the Folly Jazz Series’ 35th Anniversary Season. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be arriving unprepared. In fact, the legendary 65-year-old guitarist, who has played with everyone from Sinatra […]

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IN REVIEW: CSO returns to Helzberg Hall for stirring encore performance

The Chicago Symphony plays like a well-oiled, meticulously hand-crafted engine, and an opportunity to hear it in a fine acoustic space is always a treat. In 2015, when the Harriman-Jewell Series brought the CSO for its first appearance here in nearly a half-century, Music Director Riccardo Muti was so delighted with the experience of performing […]

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