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Current Season Highlights

Stefan Jackiw, violinSymphonic Dances, Plus Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto

October 4-6, 2013

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Stefan Jackiw, violin

DVOŘÁK Scherzo capriccioso
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto
RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances

Celebrate opening weekend of another fantastic season at the Kauffman Center with a fast-paced program, all in the impeccable acoustics of Helzberg Hall. Captivating, young violinist Stefan Jackiw is described by the Chicago Tribune as “… a legend in the making. He has flawless technique, precocious musical understanding, and a sweet, singing tone.” Dvořák’s energetic Scherzo capriccioso jump-starts the evening and, on the second half, enjoy Rachmaninoff’s thrilling Symphonic Dances — great music from a composer who wrote some of the most spontaneous works in the repertoire.

Bravo & Masterworks Series

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Alon Goldstein, pianoSymphonic Poetry: Tchaikovsky and Liszt

October 25-27, 2013

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Alon Goldstein, piano

TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 2
STEVEN STUCKY Second Concerto for Orchestra No. 2
LISZT Les préludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3

Discover Tchaikovsky’s lesser-known classical gem as Alon Goldstein, one of the most original and sensitive artists of his generation, performs the brilliant Piano Concerto No. 2. Franz Liszt was a spectacular international classical superstar who used literature as the inspiration for his beautiful symphonic poem, Les préludes, a dramatic narrative depicting epic forces including stars, floods, earth and wind. The program also features the Pulitzer Prize-winning Second Concerto for Orchestra by Hutchinson, Kansas-native Steven Stucky.

Ovation & Masterworks Series

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Behzod Abduraimov, pianoLove, Death and Transfiguration: Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet

November 1-3, 2013

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Behzod Abduraimov, piano

SCHUMANN Overture, Scherzo, and Finale
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2
R.STRAUSS Tod und Verklärung, “Death and Transfiguration”
TCHAIKOVSKY Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy

This program is a melting pot of rich, emotion-evoking music. Rediscover the beauty of Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto with the electrifying Behzod Abduraimov, compared by the London press to the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz and current sensation Lang Lang. Then, let yourself be captivated by Strauss’ tone poem describing a romantic vision of old age and death, plus Tchaikovsky’s impassioned take on Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers. This dramatic program will transport you from the opening notes of the great romantic, Robert Schumann, to a stirring and powerful conclusion.

Bravo & Masterworks Series

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Bernard Labadie, conductorFrench and Austrian Masters: 
Mozart’s “Paris,” Plus Fauré’s Requiem

November 22-24, 2013

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Bernard Labadie, conductor
Kansas City Symphony Chorus, Charles Bruffy, chorus director
Shannon Mercer, soprano and Joshua Hopkins, baritone

RAMEAU Suite from Dardanus
W. A. MOZART Symphony No. 31, “Paris”
FAURÉ Requiem

Escape the fall chill and settle into the beautiful Helzberg Hall for this soul-warming program. Sample French Baroque opera in Rameau’s engaging Suite from Dardanus, and hear a surge of bright colors and vitality in Mozart’s famous “Paris” Symphony. The Symphony Chorus and guest soloists join the Symphony for the second half of the program. Fauré’s haunting Requiem, composed in tragedy, is a subtle and poignant work. You will be moved by this great choral masterpiece. Guest conductor Bernard Labadie, established worldwide as one of the leading conductors of the Baroque and Classical repertoire, will shape this program into a night not to be forgotten.

Ovation & Masterworks Series

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 Jun Märkl, conductor Andrew Tyson, pianoDreams and Obsessions:
Symphony fantastique, with Chopin

November 29 – December 1, 2013

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Jun Märkl, conductor
Andrew Tyson, piano

CHOPIN/STRAVINSKY Nocturne in A-flat Major
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 2
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique

Hailed by the BBC for his “incredibly moving” and “daring and creative” performances, pianist Andrew Tyson makes his KCS debut with his interpretation of Chopin. In a stark contrast to the first half of the program, guest conductor Jun Märkl brings a fresh interpretation of Berlioz’s frightening Symphonie fantastique. Be captivated by this amazing sonic spectacular complete with a glittering ball, a hero’s march to the scaffold, a pounding “Dies irae” and a tumultuous Witches’ Sabbath. The superb acoustics of Helzberg Hall are sure to bring out new colors and nuances.

Bravo & Masterworks Series

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Noah GellerSymphony of Rhythm:
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Seventh Symphony

January 10-12, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Noah Geller, violin

JOHN CORIGLIANO Fantasia on an Ostinato
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7

Michael Stern returns to invigorate both orchestra and audience alike in a vibrant program filled with Beethoven’s most energetic works. As a teaser to the second half, Corigliano’s Fantasia on an Ostinato is a relentless meditation based on an almost minimalistic passage from Beethoven’s own Seventh Symphony. Concertmaster Noah Geller takes center stage for the first time on our Classical Series to display his impressive musical prowess in the glorious Violin Concerto by Beethoven. Spend the rest of the evening on the edge of your seats as the Symphony performs what Richard Wagner dubbed, “the apotheosis of the dance itself.”

Ovation & Masterworks Series

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Mahler's NinthMahler’s Symphonic Farewell:

Symphony No. 9

January 24-26, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director

MAHLER Symphony No. 9

No composer brings more beauty, humanity, and power to a symphony than Gustav Mahler. Being the last complete symphony he wrote, this music is a stunning affirmation of life coupled with Mahler’s resignation of his own mortality. It is both paralyzing and profound. Michael Stern and the musicians bring their own passion and humanity to what was possibly Mahler’s greatest work. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear what legendary conductor Herbert von Karajan described as “music coming from another world… coming from eternity.”

Ovation & Masterworks Series

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Martin Grubinger, percussionFestival of Rhythm:
Beethoven’s Fifth, Plus Percussionist Martin Grubinger

January 31-February 2, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Martin Grubinger, percussion

CHÁVEZ Sinfonía india (Symphony No. 2)
JOHN CORIGLIANO Conjurer: Concerto for Percussionist and String Orchestra with Brass
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5

Following his sensational KCS debut in 2011, Austrian multi-percussionist Martin Grubinger returns for his Helzberg Hall debut in two exhilarating works for percussion and orchestra. The New York Times said “Mr. Grubinger…is a master of the high-speed chase. He can also go from barely audible triple pianos to earsplitting ultra-fortissimos.” Grubinger explores the nearly endless sonic range of percussion in Corigliano’s concerto, conjuring themes from wood, metallic and skin instruments. Then, let Beethoven, the master of the symphony, take you from tension to triumph in his iconic Fifth Symphony. Mexican musical force Chávez’s Sinfonia india rounds out this eclectic, must-hear program.

Bravo & Masterworks Series

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Leon Fleisher, Piano Scheherazade!
And, Leon Fleisher Plays Ravel

 February 7-9, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Leon Fleisher, piano

BERNSTEIN On the Waterfront Suite
RAVEL Piano Concerto (Left Hand Alone)
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Scheherazade

In another rich and diverse program, legendary pianist Leon Fleisher, representing the gold standard of musicianship, imparts his artistry on the stage of Helzberg Hall. From the horror of war came a work of beauty and grace – Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand, composed for Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein who lost his right arm in World War I. The program opens with composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein’s only work as a film composer – an aggressive and jazzy portrayal of crime, violence and corruption. Capping off this colorful program is Rimsky-Korsakov’s vibrant score based on the tale of Scheherazade and the Thousand and One Nights. In some of the most evocative music ever written, the composer depicts the sea, a vibrant festival in Baghdad and a ship wrecked by storm.

Ovation & Masterworks Series

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Joshua BellJoshua Bell, Plus Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra

March 7-9, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Joshua Bell, violin

IVES Symphony No. 3
LALO Symphonie espagnole
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

What do you get when you cross an insurance salesman with a church organist? One of America’s most remarkable composers. Charles Ives’ Third Symphony is based on hymns he learned while working as an organist in New York City before his highly successful career in business. Joshua Bell, a Kansas City favorite known for connecting with his audiences, returns to the Helzberg Hall stage to tackle Lalo’s challenging and fresh Symphonie espagnole. Our own Kansas City Symphony musicians are spotlighted on the second half. Enjoy Bartók’s last completed orchestral work and one of the twentieth century’s most popular scores. The energetic, driving fugue at the end will bring this concert to a climactic finish.

Bravo & Masterworks Series

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Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductorLatin Passion and Star-Crossed Lovers:
Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, with Rodrigo’s Royal Guitar

March 28-30, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor
Jiyeon Kim, guitar

REVUELTAS Redes (Nets) Suite
RODRIGO Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra
PROKOFIEV Selections from Romeo and Juliet suites

Prize-winning young phenom guitarist Jiyeon Kim, from the Curtis Institute, joins the orchestra to perform the most popular work by Rodrigo, one of Spain’s most influential composers. It is described as capturing “the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains” in the gardens of Aranjuez. A film score Suite opens this program by early twentieth-century Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. The timeless and tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet will turn the second half into a musical drama for the concert stage. Trace the crucial events of this famous love story in Prokofiev’s wrenching score with its chilling and heartbreaking conclusion. Sponsored by the Almy Legacy Fund.

Ovation & Masterworks Series

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André Watts, pianoAndré Watts Plays Beethoven

April 11-13, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Gilbert Varga, conductor
André Watts, piano

F. J. HAYDN Overture to L’incontro improviso
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 4
FRANCK Symphony in D Minor

More than 45 years after Leonard Bernstein chose him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic, André Watts remains one of today’s most celebrated and beloved superstars. The Kansas City Symphony is excited to welcome him to the Helzberg Hall stage and join him as he performs the last piano concerto Beethoven himself was able to play. More music from the opera world opens this concert with the overture to Haydn’s comic opera, L’incontro improviso. It was Beethoven’s mastery that inspired Franck to write his only symphony, which is full of rich orchestral textures and brass highpoints. The joyous, upbeat conclusion of this work is a perfect way to end this early spring program.

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Verdi's RequiemStern Conducts Verdi’s Requiem
May 30 – June 1, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Kansas City Symphony Chorus,
Charles Bruffy, chorus director

VERDI Requiem

Let yourself be captivated by a masterpiece – the passion and drama fit for an opera house in the sonically spectacular Helzberg Hall. Verdi’s amazing Requiem, one of the greatest choral works of all time, has been described as “an opera for the stage.” From the terrifying pounding of the bass drum, to the trumpets’ call to judgment and the moving melodies and contrasts, you will leave Helzberg Hall as exhilarated as each of the performers on stage. Throughout the performance, immerse yourself in this gorgeous music and explore feelings of loss and sorrow, as well as the human desire for forgiveness and mercy.

Bravo & Masterworks Series

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Yuja Wang, pianoSeason Finale:
Shostakovich, Plus Yuja Wang Plays Rachmaninoff

June 6-8, 2014

Helzberg Hall | Kauffman Center

Michael Stern, music director
Yuja Wang, piano

CHRIS ROGERSON World premiere/KCS Commission
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 4
SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 5

A sensation in her previous Symphony performances, dynamic young pianist Yuja Wang thrills audiences with playing that leaps from the stage. Shostakovich felt the chilling effect of the new Soviet conservatism and his Fifth Symphony left many wondering if this was his creative response to official criticism or his cunning way of expressing his secret resistance. Help us bring the season to a spectacular conclusion as the Symphony displays their talent in this popular, exciting work exploring the dynamic ranges from the delicate solo passages of the early movements to the fist-pounding conclusion.

Ovation & Masterworks Series

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