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Beethoven podcast

Beethoven Walks into a Bar

Kansas City Symphony Podcast

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Season Two: Episode 3

Pipe Dreams with organist Jan Kraybill

This week on Beethoven Walks into a Bar we sit down with one of KC’s most treasured musicians, organist Jan Kraybill. Jan tells us all about the Kauffman Center’s beautiful Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant organ, including what it’s like to play and maintain such a mammoth instrument. Plus, Stephanie gets her first shot at hosting a rousing game of Bar Talk!

Episode 203 Playlist

Season Two: Episode 2

Hitting all the Chai Notes with Selene Hernandez

This week, we’re talking with one of the hardest working music educators in the business, Selene Hernandez. When she’s not busy running an orchestra program in Independence, MO, she fills her time teaching even more students for Harmony Project KC, a program which brings the gift of music to underprivileged children in Northeast Kansas City.

We’ll learn how music has shaped her life and how her personal journey inspires her teaching.

Episode 202 Playlist

Excerpt from Vienna Philharmonic, John Williams and Anne-Sophie Mutter

Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach

Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra plays “Mambo”

Season Two: Episode 1

Two in a Million: Symphony Spouses John and Maria

We’re back!! Season Two of Beethoven Walks into a Bar is here! In this episode, we sit down with one of our favorite Symphony pairs, clarinetist John Klinghammer and cellist Maria Crosby. John and Maria tell us about the porch concerts they’ve presented in their neighborhood throughout the summer, how the orchestra has grown in their time here in KC, and we have a great time playing our own version of the Newlywed Game!

Episode 201 Playlist

John and Maria’s Covid-64 Video

Episode 19

Season One Finale: Ask Us Anything!

This week in our Season One Finale, we will be answering YOUR questions.  Many of you have submitted excellent questions over the past month or so, inquiring about careers at the Symphony, audition tips, the rehearsal process, performance practice, and much more.  We dive in and answer as many of them as possible this week in our Ask Us Anything episode.  Look for all new episodes of Beethoven Walks into a Bar as we kick off Season Two in early September!  Enjoy your August and thanks for listening!

Episode 18

Two Flutes and Orange Soups

This week on Beethoven Walks into a Bar, it’s all about flutes and food. We go for another round of Bar Talk with associate principal flute, Shannon Finney. She’s gathered up quite a following for her weekly porch concerts in front of her home in Waldo. We also learn about her passion for cooking, and what it’s like to sit next to Mike for 13 long years.

More resources for your enjoyment!

Spotify Playlist

Kansas City Symphony – Britten’s Orchestra

EMMANUEL PAHUD | Flute solo from “Daphnis et Chloé” by Ravel

Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome by R. Strauss

Beethoven Symphony No. 7 Flute Solo

Episode 17

Tuba or Not To Be, with Principal Tuba Joe LeFevre

Meet the biggest and baddest brass instrument of all, the Tuba! Principal Tuba Joe LeFevre joins us for another riveting round of Bar Talk and we get the low down on the lowest brass instrument in the band.

Spotify Playlist

Mussorgsky/Ravel Bydlo from Pictures at an Exhibition

Symphony fantastique, Op. 14: V. Songe d’une nuit de sabbat

Episode 16

Bar Talk

Each season our musicians need thousands of individual pieces of printed music prepared, delivered to them for preparation, and placed on-stage for concerts. Thankfully I’m not the one responsible for it all. I’d probably lose half of it. We’ll be talking with one of our true unsung heroes here at the Kansas City Symphony, our principal librarian, Elena Lence Talley. We learn all about what it takes to make this massive task happen smoothly for every performance week in, and week out. We’ll also learn about the vast knowledge and skill set required to be a librarian. When you see Elena walk across the stage with an armload of scores, those are only the final steps of a long journey!

Episode 15

Ode to... Tequila?

The podcast is called “Beethoven Walks into a Bar,” which means we have to talk about the big man, LVB, every so often. This week, we discuss Beethoven’s epic ninth symphony, chat with our good friend and president of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus, Kim Gear, and learn a not-so-secret family cocktail recipe that you’ll be sippin’ all summer long.

Spotify Playlist

Benjamin Britten conducts his War Requiem

Episode 14

Sunburns, Otters & Pulitzer Prizes – Caroline Shaw


This week, we sit down with one of our favorite American composers and Mike’s fellow Rice classmate, Caroline Shaw.  Caroline is without a doubt one of the most versatile and creative musicians in the Classical world right now and is also the youngest composer to ever win the Pulitzer Prize in Music at age 30. Hear about her unique works for a variety of ensembles as well as her love of the Beethoven Harp Quartet and otters.

Spotify Playlist

Roomful of Teeth: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Kanye West – Say You Will ft. Caroline Shaw

Episdoe 13

From the Paris without the Plains – Hermon Mehari

Kansas City has a lot to be proud of – the KC Symphony, the Super-Bowl winning Chiefs, burnt ends… but something that is all too often overlooked if you’re not from here is the city’s incredible jazz scene. This week we talk with our good friend and a powerful force in the jazz trumpet universe, Hermon Mehari. We look into the crossover between the jazz and classical worlds, hear all about Hermon’s brand new album “A Change for the Dreamlike”, and talk about the natural wine, fine cuisine, and the jazz scene in Paris.

Spotify Playlist

Hermon Mehari – A Change for the Dreamlike

Claude Bolling Suite No. 1

Bobby Watson plays Amazing Grace on the Best of Bank of America Celebration at the Station

Episode 12

Bar Talk with Albert Suarez, Principal Horn

This week, we’re talking to our good friend and Principal Horn of the Kansas City Symphony, Albert Suarez. Albert will tell us why the horn is not only the greatest We also have some fun playing our own version of “Around the Horn” with Albert, this week on Beethoven Walks into a Bar.

Spotify Playlist

Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall – Shostakovich Symphony No. 5

Schumann Konzertstuck for Four Horns and Orchestra

Strauss Second Horn Concerto – Radovan Vlatkovic

Episode 11

Would Beethoven drink a Sternini?

Service through music is at the heart of everything we do. It’s a big topic, and a big topic deserves a big guest, the maestro himself, our music director Michael Stern. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Issac Stern’s birth, we talk about his legacy of advocacy for the arts, and how Michael continues the family tradition here in Kansas City, and all over the world.

Spotify Playlist:

Isaac Stern – Life’s Virtuoso

Isaac Stern performing Bach’s Chaconne in D Minor

Kansas City Symphony Mixology

Episode 10

Resilient, Indeed

This week’s guest lost both his legs in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan. Music helped him get his life back. USMC Corporal Tim Donley talks about the role music played in his rehabilitation and how he and his bandmates came together through MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band and The Resilient.

Episode 9

Five Minutes to Fame: Auditions

Auditions are how we musicians get jobs. Ever competed for a job and had five minutes to make your case without ever sharing anything about yourself? Not even your name? We’ll break down the whole process for you, and then we’ll be joined by Justin White, personnel manager of the Kansas City Symphony. He’ll tell you all about why he thinks auditions are fun. Can’t wait to hear that. This week on Beethoven Walks into a Bar…

Spotify Playlist

Other Recommended listening

Episode 8

Film + Live Orchestra…how do we do it?

What would our favorite movies be like without music? We shudder to think. This week on Beethoven Walks Into a Bar, we take a look at how the Kansas City Symphony’s Film + Live Orchestra concerts come together, and Jason will tell you what all those flashes and lines and weird symbols mean on his screen to help coordinate a live orchestra with a movie.

Listen to the Spotify Playlist here

Other recommended links:

Star Wars Throne Room Scene WITHOUT Music
Star Wars Throne Room Scene WITH Music

“The Kings Speech” featuring Beethoven Symphony No. 7, II. Allegretto

Episode 7

Makin' it Rain at the Symphony


Kids and Music

This week it’s all about the young people. We take a deep dive on how to bring classical music to students of a variety of ages, and talk with local music teacher Kim Jackson about engaging kids in music all the way from infancy through college! Then you’ll learn how we make it rain inside Helzberg Hall without even getting the seats wet.

Listen to the Spotify playlist here.

Other Recommended Listening

Episode 6

The Art of the Concert Program


How is the music for a concert selected?

The gang is joined by Kansas City Symphony bassist Evan Halloin in an episode that provides a backstage look into how conductors and artistic staff put together the musical selections that make up a concert program.

Listen to the Spotify playlist here.

The gang also recommends the following Videos:

J.S. Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 2, BWV 870-893 – Fugue In D Major, BWV 874

J.S. Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 1, BWV 846-869 – 12. Fugue In F Minor, BWV 857

J.S. Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier: Book 2, BWV 870-893 – Fugue In B Flat Minor, BWV 891

Episode 5

Death Metal Baby Shark and other catchy tunes

A look at what makes some tunes so memorable

The gang takes a look at different “earworms” in both pop and classical music, and talks about what makes a tune stick in the memory of the listener.

The spotify playlist is HERE.

They’ve also recommending the Bernstein Beethoven Symphony recordings which may be accessed HERE.

Episode 4

Oh no, my tux is at the cleaners!

Breaking down the myths of “going to the symphony”

Jason, Mike and Stephanie expose the what its really like to go to a classical music concert, which really isn’t all that different than going to a rock concert… just more comfortable seating, life-changing sound, and better drinks.

Episode 3

Is playing a concerto like drinking alone?

Stephanie, Mike, and Jason chat about what its like to be a famous classical music soloist. Joining them this week is Sean Chen, one of Kansas City’s premiere classical music soloists.

The gang recommends the following listening to accompany this episode:
Beethoven Symphony No. 4 – Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Sabine Meyer plays Mozart, Debussy and Takemitsu with the Berlin Philharmonic and Claudio Abbado

Spotify playlist including those recordings HERE.
Also recommended are the following sites:
Sean Chen Piano
Digital Concert Hall

Episode 2

Adam Schoenberg’s bar is closed

A look into composer Adam Schoenberg; then a hilarious exploration into some one-hit wonders

Jason, Stephanie, and Mike quiz each other on one-hit wonders of classical music, (and rather embarrassingly for Mike, some pop wonders too). The gang also looks at the music of young composer Adam Schoenberg, and continues the ever important discussion of cocktails and music.

Episode 1

Hey handsome, what are you drinking?

Take some time for pure joy when you listen to David T. Beals III Associate Conductor Jason Seber, Principal Flute Michael Gordon and Education Manager Stephanie Brimhall sit down and talk Beethoven, music, musicians, friends and more. An inside glimpse on what drives the passion of your Symphony, plus laughter, love and music.

In our debut episode of Beethoven Walks Into A Bar, our hosts ask a critical question that has stumped musicologists for years: We know Beethoven spend oodles of time with a drink in his hand… what was it?

Hear that question answered from Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony Jason Seber, along with Principal Flute Mike Gordon and Education Goddess Stephanie Brimhall, along with a discussion of the orchestra, what its like to be stuck at home due to the pandemic, and much more.