Music through late May

The Friends of Chamber Music wraps up its season in high style, presenting the internationally renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman in recital at the Folly Theater. The Lyric Opera’s “The Barber of Seville continues through this weekend. Choral fans have a couple of good concerts to choose from in May, a Kansas City Symphony Chorus performance (sans orchestra) of Duruflé’s “Requiem,” performances by Ignea Strata, the William Baker Summer Singers, the final concert of the season by the Kansas City Chorale, and a Northland Community Choir concert of patriotic favorites, honoring our veterans. Speaking of veterans, the KC Symphony’s annual free celebration at the Station concert outdoors in front of Union Station will be held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend as usual; bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a picnic before the concert. The Topeka Symphony, Heritage Philharmonic, KC Civic Orchestra, Midwest Chamber Ensemble, KC Wind Symphony, and Fountain City Brass Ensemble all wrap their seasons over the next few weeks. newEar Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble hosts the Kansas City Contemporary Chamber Music Festival this weekend. Ensemble Iberica has an interesting-sounding night of Mexican music to offer, and a local favorite, Mari Yoshinaga, will perform percussion works as part of a duo plus guest artist at The 1900 Building. Details and more concerts appear below.

Lyric Opera of Kansas City
The Barber of Seville
Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 6 at 2:00 p.m.
Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
1601 Broadway, Kansas City, MO
For more information, visit

Tenor Jack Swanson and mezzo-soprano Cassandra Zoe Velasco make their debuts with the Kansas City Lyric Opera as Count Almaviva and Rosina in Gioacchino Rossini’s rollicking comedy The Barber of Seville. Baritone Jarrett Ott also makes his Kansas City debut in the role of the factotum Figaro. Dr. Bartolo is sung by Matthew Burns. Brian Bannion is Don Basilio. Ruby Dibble, Robert Gibby Brand, Armando Contreras and Tim Murray round out the cast. The production is based upon the look of the Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar. Michael Shell is the stage director and Leonardo Vordoni will conduct.


newEar Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble
Kansas City Contemporary Chamber Music Festival
Friday, May 4 at 5:00 p.m.
The Bauer Event Space
115 West 18th Street, Kansas City, MO
For more information, visit

The final concert of newEar’s season is a pre-Pride kickoff event where the group will perform pieces by LGBTQ and allies composers. The concert will include the world premiere of a commission by former Kansas Citian Nick Omiccioli. Also scheduled is Stay On It by Julius Eastman. Other LGBTQ composers featured are Meredith Monk, the Mid-America Freedom Band artistic director and conductor Lee Hartman, and Barr Institute Laureate at UMKC, Jennifer Higdon.

Ignea Strata

Love and War
Friday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m.
Country Club Christian Church
6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO

Sunday, May 6 at 3:00 p.m.
Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ
205 West 65th Street, Kansas City, MO
Free admission. For more information, visit

Ignea Strata will perform a concert which, according to the ensemble, “resurrects the music of the Albigensian Crusade, tracing a bittersweet story of resistance, faith, love, loss, and courage against all odds. Songs of the medieval troubadours mingle with motets and polyphonic chants from the same period, illuminating a many-sided conflict in which greed, extremist ideology, religious intolerance, and petty political maneuvering resulted in the deaths of thousands, the disempowerment of an entire culture, and the dissolution of the richest and most splendid medieval courts of Southern Europe.”

Midwest Chamber Ensemble

Mozart and Ravel
Saturday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection
9100 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas
For more information, visit

The Midwest Chamber Ensemble concludes its season with a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 (“Jupiter”) and Maurice Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin.

Topeka Symphony Orchestra

Broadway Revolution
Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m.
White Hall, Washburn University campus
1700 SW Jewell Ave., Topeka, KS
For more information, visit

For its final concert of the season, the Topeka Symphony performs music from the Broadway shows Hamilton, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables and The Who’s Tommy. Kyle Wiley Pickett is the conductor.

Heritage Philharmonic
Young Artists Competition Concert
Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Blue Springs High School Performing Arts Center
2000 NW Ashton Drive, Blue Springs, MO
Free admission. For more information, visit

The Heritage Philharmonic performs its final concert of the season featuring the winner of its Young Artists Competition. On the program are the Overture to La Gaza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) by Gioacchino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Frederic Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, and Mendelssohn Symphony No. 5 (“Resurrection”). The violin soloist is Haley Stephenson and the piano soloist is Junhao Wang, both high school seniors.

Kansas City Chorale
Music of the British Isles
Sunday, May 6 at 2:00 p.m.
Country Club Christian Church
6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO

Tuesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
11 E 40th Street, Kansas City, MO
For more information, visit

The Kansas City Chorale, led by director Charles Bruffy, sings music of British composers in its season-ending concert. On tap are Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem, “Nimrod” from the Enigma Variations by Sir Edward Elgar, and A Vision of Aeroplanes by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The concert will also include vocal arrangements of songs by The Beatles.

Fountain City Brass Band
Across the Stars
Sunday, May 6 at 3:30 p.m.
Bell Cultural Arts Center, Mid America Nazarene University campus
2030 E. College Way, Olathe, KS
For more information, visit

The Fountain City Brass Band has garnered numerous international brass band awards over the past few years, including being the winners of the 2018 North American Brass Band Championships. The ensemble will perform a season-closing concert featuring music inspired by “the great beyond.”

Kansas City Civic Orchestra
Surround Sound in Helzberg Hall
Sunday, May 6 at 3:00 p.m.
Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
1601 Broadway, Kansas City, MO
Free admission, but tickets required. For information visit

Christopher Kelts leads the Kansas City Civic Orchestra in its first performance in Helzberg Hall. Scheduled for the ambitious program are the Roman Carnival Overture of Hector Berlioz; a movement from the Violin Concerto in E Minor by Berlioz, featuring young violinist Bethlehem Kelly, winner of the Civic Orchestra’s young artist competition; and Symphony No. 5 by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

William Baker Festival Singers
Twentieth Anniversary Gala Celebration
Sunday, May 6 at 3:00 p.m.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
1307 Holmes Street, Kansas City, MO
For more information, visit

The William Baker Festival Singers celebrates its twentieth anniversary with a concert in which the group will be joined by Allegro Con Brio, under the baton of Music Director Christy Elsner.

Kansas City Wind Symphony
Top of the Pops
Sunday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Village Presbyterian Church
6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS
Free admission. For more information, visit

The Kansas City Wind Symphony wraps up its season with a pops concert conducted by Dr. Langston Hemenway, conductor, and Pat Setser, assistant conductor. The orchestra will perform works by John Phillip Sousa, John Williams, and others.

Kansas City Symphony
Happy Hour Concert: Here Comes the Sun
Tuesday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m.
Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
1601 Broadway, Kansas City, MO
Free admission, but tickets are required; to print tickets visit

The Kansas City Symphony presents its final free Happy Hour concert of the season, as Kansas City Symphony musicians present George Gershwin’s Summertime, Antonio Vivaldi’s “Summer” from The Four Seasons and Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Sunrise” String Quartet. The cash bars in Brandmeyer Grand Hall open at 5:00 p.m.

The 1900 Building Series
arx duo & Beomjae Kim
Thursday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The 1900 Building
State Line Road and Johnson Drive, Mission Woods, KS
For tickets visit

The arx duo consists of Japanese-born but Kansas City resident percussionist Mari Yoshinaga and American percussionist Garrett Arney, who have been performing since their days at the Yale School of Music. Among their performances this season are the premier of Dominic Murcott’s Harmonic Canon at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK, serving as the ensemble in residence at Artosphere Music Festival, and recitals and collaborative concerts in varying parts of the country. With a repertoire ranging from established masters to today’s newest compositional voices, arx duo has worked closely with composers such as Alejandro Vinao, James Wood, and Ted Hearne. In this concert, the two are joined by flutist Beomjae Kim, who has appeared at the Seoul Arts Center, Lincoln Center, SubCulture, National Sawdust, Trinity Wall Street, the Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Kimmel Center, and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, Weill Recital Hall, and Stern Auditorium.

Westport Center for the Arts
Brown Bag Concert: Sarah Tannehill, soprano and Robert Pherigo, piano
Friday, May 18 at 12:10 p.m.
Westport Presbyterian Church
201 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO
Free admission, but donations are appreciated.
For more information visit

The Westport Center for the Arts presents local favorites Sarah Tannehill, a soprano, and Robert Pherigo, a pianist (he is also a fine tenor and an excellent composer) in one of its free noontime recitals. These performers are both superb musicians. Bring your lunch and munch along softly. Cookies and coffee will be served afterward.

Ensemble Iberica
Sol y Flor
Friday, May 18 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 19 at 8:00 p.m.
Musical Theatre Heritage Theatre,
Crown Center, Third Floor, Kansas City, MO
For tickets visit

Ensemble Iberica’s Sol y Flor is a night of Mexican music featuring Grammy-winning vocalist, Mireya Ramos (Flor de Toloache), the marimba quartet Sol de Chiapas and Ensemble Iberica’s own Fedra Cooper Barrera. Other performers in this concert include vocalist and violinist Mireya Ramos, and percussionist and marimba players John Currey, Sam Wisman, Laura Lee Crandall and Katie Garcia.  Michael McClintock, Jordan Shipley and Beau Bledsoe are the guitarists.

The Friends of Chamber Music
Yefim Bronfman, pianist
Friday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Folly Theater
12th and Central Streets, Kansas City, MO
For tickets visit

Famed pianist Yefim Bronfman wraps up the Friends of Chamber Music season with a program of Robert Schumann, contemporary composer Jörg Widman, Claude Debussy and Sergei Prokofiev. Bronfman studied at the Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, but had already launched his performing career at the age of 15. He has given recitals in the leading halls of North America, Europe and the Far East, including acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall in 1989 and Avery Fisher Hall in 1993. A Grammy award winner, his catalog of recordings includes works for two pianos by Rachmaninoff and Brahms with Emanuel Ax, the complete Prokofiev concerti with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, a Schubert/Mozart disc with the Zukerman Chamber Players and the soundtrack to Disney’s Fantasia 2000.

Kansas City Symphony Chorus
Symphony Chorus Sings Duruflé’s Requiem
Sunday, May 20 at 3:00 p.m.
Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
1601 Broadway, Kansas City, MO
For tickets visit

The Kansas City Symphony Chorus performs one solo concert each year without the instrumentalists of the Symphony. This year Symphony Chorus director Charles Bruffy has chosen Duruflé’s Requiem, a soaring Gregorian chant-themed masterpiece. In addition, the chorus will also perform Kansas City composer Mark Hayes’ This Moment and render a 20th anniversary performance of Morten Lauridsen’s acclaimed Lux Aeterna.

Northland Community Choir
In Memorium: A Tribute to the Veterans of War
Sunday, May 20 at 3:00 p.m.
Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel
8700 N. W. River Park Drive, Parkville, MO
Free admission; suggested donation to veterans’ organizations at the door.
For more information visit

The Northland Community Choir under the direction of Paul Erickson presents a musical tribute to veterans. No repertoire had been announced as of the publication date for this issue of, but expect patriotic songs.

The 1900 Building Series
An Evening Celebrating the Music, Art & Culture of Lithuania
Wednesday, May 23 at 6:00 p.m.
The 1900 Building
State Line Road and Johnson Drive, Mission Woods, KS
For tickets visit

This event, a combination of visual and performing arts, celebrates the thousand-year-old Lithuanian Jewish heritage through visual arts and music. Aviad Sajevitch, a visual artist in Israel, has prepared a special artwork exhibition representing the world of his forefathers in Lithuania. Each painting opens a window into the rich history and culture of the Lithuanian Jews. In addition to this visual exhibition, the musicians of the Sayevich family will unite with musicians in the Kansas City area to present musical works that represent the Jewish heritage. The program will include well-known Yiddish songs that have been long beloved by people of the eastern European Jewish ethnos. Classical works of a similar theme will also be performed, as well as original works by Schmuel Sajevitch. The performers will include Aviad Sayevich, vocals, Schmuel Sajevitch, jazz piano, Jeff Harshbarger, bass, John Kizilarmut, drums, Ben Sayevich, violin and Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, piano.

Kansas City Symphony
Celebration at the Station
Sunday, May 27 at 8:00 p.m.
In front of Union Station
30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO
Free admission. For more information visit

One of the mainstays of Kansas City’s Memorial Day celebrations is the annual Kansas City Symphony Celebration at the Station concert in front of Union Station, where the audience sits in the street and on the lawn of Liberty Memorial south of Pershing Road. It is not so much a Symphony concert as a celebration of the beginning of summer, and an honoring of our brave American servicemen and servicewomen and veterans.  Depending on the weather, a crowd of upwards of 30,000 is likely to attend, so be sure to arrive several hours early with a blanket or lawn chairs for sitting, and perhaps some binoculars if you are far away.  The concert itself at 8:00 p.m. will feature patriotic numbers and special appearances by guest artists of a popular vein.  The Symphony usually plays a stirring and heartfelt performance, one of the reasons why Celebration at the Station has become an important Kansas City tradition.  Come prepared for fireworks.  And, if prior years are any indication, prepare for live cannon during a performance of the 1812 Overture.  Ear plugs may be in order.

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