News & Reviews

His playing has been called “blistering” and “arrestingly novel” and he has been declared “potentially one of the greatest pianists of the 21st century.” But Yevgeny Sudbin, who performs on the Harriman-Jewell Series on April 26th, does not concern himself with such things. His focus is on his lifelong passion and obsession: music. Not that the Russian-born British pianist, the offspring of talented pianists living (at the time) in old St. Petersburg, doesn’t have interesting stories to tell. In fact he traveled to the top of the pianistic world over a rather rough road. As a gifted child he trained at the prestigious Special School of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, but 1990 his family immigrated from the then-still Soviet Union to Berlin, where they lived in a refugee hostel with a piano in the basement—in chaotic, just-reunited Germany.

Yevgeny was 10 and spoke not a word of German, and although he found the experience invigorating he is aware of how difficult it was for his parents. “I was too young to understand all the struggles we went through,” he said recently from his home outside London, where he lives with his wife and two young children. “But for me it was very exciting, just because there was so much going on politically, and just the emotional intensity in the city was incredible.” (His father, Oleg, was suffering from multiple sclerosis, and sought better medical treatment in Germany; though Oleg Sudbin has since passed, he ended up living “much longer than he would have if we’d stayed in Russia,” Yevgeny says.)

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Paul Horsley
Review | Pianist Yevgeny Sudbin melds keen intuition and fine technique
Pianist Yevgeny Sudbin’s concert Saturday night at the Folly Theater, presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series, was a matter of life and death and heaven and hell.

The Russian-born pianist wrote his own notes for the concert program, which began with Domenico Scarlatti sonatas in G minor; G major, K. 455; F minor, K. 466; and B minor, K. 27. The G minor, Sudbin wrote, was Scarlatti’s attempt to address a higher power. The power Sudbin evinced indicated an intuition of where the keyboard bed is, therefore to bring forth bright upper-range pianissimo trills with exactitude or a rich tone in the lower register from the Folly’s Steinway, all sounding as one voice.

Sudbin’s Scarlatti was stylistically correct — for instance, trills and tremolos were executed according to the practice of the time — yet he cannot help but bring a contemporary sensibility to his playing.

The first half of the recital also included preludes by Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Rachmaninov. Here Sudbin displayed the distance traveled in an instant between pianissimo and fortissimo, between precise, rapid passages and slow chordal progressions. For all his pyrotechnics, Sudbin does bring the music to the fore.

Those pyrotechnics were certainly on display in the second half of the concert, especially as it began with Alexander Scriabin’s Sonata No. 5, Op. 53, and Sonata No. 9 in F major, Op. 68, “Black Mass.”

If the first half began with the delicacy of light and an overall diatonic impression, the Scriabin upended those tonalities with a wash of dark madness. Individual chords did not connect by way of traditional resolutions; each chord could have had its own passing key center if they were to have resolved with Scriabin’s inner logic.

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Robert Folsom
News | Yevgeny Sudbin
Yevgeny Sudbin, who just turned 34, has already made his mark as one of the most exciting pianists of his generation. He has studied with great luminaries like Claude Frank, Leon Fleisher and Murray Perahia and, based on reviews of his performances around the world, seems poised to join them as a legend of the keyboard. He first appeared on a Harriman-Jewell Discovery Concert in 2009, and now the rest of the world has discovered Sudbin.

In addition to a jam-packed international touring career, Sudbin has signed a seven-year, 14-album record deal with BIS Records. He’s making a return visit on the Harriman-Jewell Series Saturday night with what promises to be an outstanding recital.

Sudbin will perform a program of music by Domenico Scarlatti, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Frederic Chopin and Alexander Scriabin, a composer with whom he has quite an affinity. Sudbin’s recordings of the mystical Russian composer’s piano works are intense and spiritually charged. This promises to be one of the most important piano recitals of the year.
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
News | Discovery Concert Offers Two Stars
For its final free Discovery Concert of the season, the Harriman-Jewell Series is presenting a twofer. Violinist Elena Urioste and pianist Gabriela Martinez will perform Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy and Leos Janacek on June 7 at the Folly Theater, and to attend all you have to do is print your tickets from the Harriman-Jewell Series website.

Urioste, 26, and Martinez, 29, are graduates of the Juilliard School and started performing together at the suggestion of their manager.

“It’s a bit of a small-world story,” Martinez said. “We actually have the same manager, and one day she said, ‘You two should meet and play together. I’m sure you’d get along.’ So we met up and became really good friends. We really enjoy playing together.

“As a concert pianist, I’m always on the road playing concertos or recitals, and to be able to play chamber music with a friend is such a treat. We have a blast.”

Urioste added, “We have great fun together, both onstage and off. We have similar mentalities with regard to being on the road and how we like to prepare for concerts. It’s always an added bonus when your colleagues are also good friends.”

According to Martinez, it has been easy for the two of them to agree on programs, such as the one they’ll play here.

“We usually select pieces that we’re both very passionate about, and for this program we have the Beethoven Spring sonata (No. 5 in F major, Opus 24), which is such a beautiful piece, and Beethoven is my favorite composer,” she said.

“The sonata was not given its title by Beethoven, though it’s certainly apt,” said Urioste. “The first movement is a breath of fresh air and then the second movement depicts, to me at least, a moonlit garden stroll. The last movement is a joyful rondo, and all in all the work is sunny and refreshing. It’s a true delight, both to listen to and to play.”

The second work on the program is the sonata for violin and piano by Debussy...
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
News | Cantus for Real
The highly acclaimed male vocal ensemble Cantus, snowed out in Febuary, will sing on Thursday in the Harriman-Jewell Series.

Cantus was founded by a group of vocal students at St. Olaf College in Minnesota in 2000. Over the years, the nine-voiced, all-male group has garnered critical raves, performing around the world and releasing many recordings on its own label. Its program here this week is drawn from its latest CD, “The Shoulders of Giants.”

“That comes from the Isaac Newton quote, ‘If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,’” said Aaron Humble, a Cantus tenor. “We thought it was a way to look at the big hits of men’s repertoire, that allowed us to create a framework where not only were we looking at masterworks, but also how they inspired later masterworks and how these pieces have inspired people of later generations. Maybe they haven’t been enshrined in the canon of great music yet, but they are, in their own right, masterworks.”

Cantus has a gift for unusual and intriguing programming, and “Shoulders of Giants” is no exception. Songs from the Middle Ages and Renaissance go side-by-side with U2, Michael Jackson and even a Bollywood number called “Zikr.”

“The composer of that piece is best known for writing the score for the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’” Humble said. “It’s a Sufi prayer, but it’s from a Bollywood movie. It’s one of the things we see in many different cultures, repetition as a means to reach some form of religious ecstasy. It’s rooted in the music of the whirling dervishes.

“When we were in the Middle East, in Dubai, we had the opportunity to see a performance where someone was doing the dance of the whirling dervishes, and they just spun and spun and spun for 10 minutes. I would have just passed out or thrown up. I was amazed, just amazed.”
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
News | The Classical Beat: Free discovery concert presents 18-year-old piano prodigy
The Harriman-Jewell Series will once again give Kansas City a chance to experience a world-class talent absolutely free. Jan Lisiecki, an 18-year-old pianist who already has released three recordings with Deutsche Grammophon and has been packing concert halls around the world, will give a recital this Friday in the Folly Theater. It’s one of the Harriman-Jewell’s Discovery concerts. ...
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
Review | Musically and joyfully spirited away
Bobby McFerrin, best remembered for infamous and ridiculously catchy "Don't Worry, Be Happy," held his audience captive for 90 minutes in a triumphant and inspiring display of some of the most joyful music-making I have ever witnessed. McFerrin's mellow, peaceful nature on stage did not disguise an obvious exuberance for the message of celebrating faith and the human spirit through music on this tour (and his latest album), spirityouall. ...
Kristin Shafel Omiccioli | KCMetropolis
News | Bobby McFerrin interview
At a time when nuclear sabers are rattling and homemade bombs destroy innocent lives, Bobby McFerrin offers music of hope and healing. The Harriman-Jewell Series will present McFerrin in a program called “Spirityouall” on Friday in Helzberg Hall. “Spirityouall” was inspired by McFerrin’s father, Robert McFerrin, an acclaimed operatic baritone and singer of negro spirituals. “My father sang spirituals like nobody else,” McFerrin said. “He recorded an album of spirituals in 1957 on the now-defunct Riverside label called ‘Deep River,’ and I took some of the pieces he did, like ‘Fix Me, Jesus,’ and ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,’ and arranged them for band. McFerrin’s band, which he describes as “very folksy,” is made up of bass, keyboards, accordion, fiddle, slide guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, electric guitar, drums and other percussion. “It’s got a country, bluegrass, jazzy kind of feel to it,” McFerrin said. McFerrin’s music, which celebrates a positive, spiritual attitude to life and draws on the rich African-American legacy of spirituals, seems somewhat out of step with today’s musical culture. McFerrin laments that fact but also hopes his music provides an alternative. “There is good stuff out there, but I don’t listen to a lot of today’s music,” he said. “I get a lot of information about the music that’s out there from my children. They’re very good filters for me because they know what I appreciate and the things that I don’t. They usually shield me from things that they know I’m not going to like. And the things that I don’t like are monosyllabic, one-chord, misogynistic and violent music and things that are very unhealthy. But then there are some really creative people out there that are counterbalancing the music that’s dark and grim and grimy. “I caution kids to do what they can to really listen to some good music, some of the old stuff that Lennon and McCartney wrote. Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, those are excellent, excellent songwriters."
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
Review | Lessons in virtuosity from the great master
Legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman performed in recital at Helzberg Hall, bringing his masterful talent and breathtaking virtuosity to spellbound audiences in his 10th recital for the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
Nihan Yesil | KCMetropolis
Review | Songs and stories
Dublin-born mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught added her name to the list of international singers who have performed on the Harriman-Jewell Series, making her American recital debut with a program which wove a storytelling theme throughout a variety of works by Brahms, Rossini, Handel, and more. ...
Don Dagenais | KCMetropolis
Review | Mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught makes a winning U.S. debut
Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught gave her American recital debut Friday evening in a Harriman-Jewell Series program at the Folly Theater, presenting a program sung with verve, precision and the performance authority with which all natural musicians seem to be born. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
News | INTERVIEW: Tara Erraught, mezzo-soprano
Charming and effusive Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught spoke with Ruth Carver quickly over Skype before heading to a performance of "Hänsel und Gretel" at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany. A member of its Opera Studio, she made a stunning debut there stepping in for an ill colleague at the last moment in Bellini's "I Capuleti e i Montecchi." A winner of awards from the Houston Grand Opera, the Washington National Opera, and others, the 26-year-old makes her American solo recital debut with works by Brahms, Dvorák, Respighi, Wolf, Handel, and Rossini on April 12 with the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
Ruth Carver | KCMetropolis
News | The Classical Beat | Irish lass to make her American debut at the Folly
Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught exudes music. When she talks about her favorite composers and the arias she loves to sing, she brims with enthusiasm.

Even her Irish brogue and easy laugh have a lilting musicality. Erraught will bring her highly acclaimed voice and her down-to-earth Irish charm to the Folly Theater when she makes her American recital debut on the Harriman-Jewell Series on April 12. ...
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
Review | Pipes and pomp
The Band of the Scots Guard and the pipers, drums, and dancers of Black Watch 3rd Battalion brought their combined forces to the Muriel Kauffman Theatre for a whirlwind musical tour of the British Isles. ...
Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | Danielle de Niese's delightful characters
The Harriman-Jewell Series brought soprano Danielle de Niese and pianist Cameron Stowe to the Folly Theater for a night of characterization through song. ...
Anthony Rodgers | KCMetropolis
Review | Soprano Danielle de Niese returns to Folly Theater with songs of love
Danielle de Niese made a triumphant return to the Folly Theater stage on Saturday night, scene of her 2009 American recital debut, presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series. The charismatic star soprano, together with pianist Cameron Stowe, presented a program of songs and arias that explored the many characters of love. ...
Libby Hanssen | The Kansas City Star
Review | Russia's Greatest Export: Ballet still trumps caviar, Rimsky-Korsakov
The stalwart Russian ballet tradition with its roots in France has long formed the foundation of just about any kind dance you can name. Until the 1980s this tradition was held high by the Soviets as a source of nation pride and worldwide recognition for a Union that had little to be proud of. After the Union collapsed the tradition became splintered, partly for lack of funds. When it reemerged, it had a different feel to it, one that often mixed past grandeur with a contemporary twist. The Russian National Ballet Theatre, led by former Bolshoi principal Elena Radchenko since 1994, is one of several companies that strove to uphold Russian tradition through leadership that had direct ties to the “old school.” At the company’s performance of Swan Lake on January 25th, these elements were present even while a certain modern looseness brought, by and large, fresh vigor to this classic. The group’s fourth appearance on the Harriman-Jewell Series made for an enjoyable evening of theater. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | "Swan Lake" comes to Kauffman
The Russian National Ballet Theatre returned to Kansas City courtesy of the Harriman-Jewell Series with the audience favorite, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. First presented by the series in 1999, this is the troupe's first performance in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and its fourth appearance as part of the series. The metro area turned out in droves for the sold-out performance and was treated to a conventional staging of the treasured full-length ballet. The main work of the ballet was choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov in 1895 and the Dances at the Ball, by Bolshoi legend, Yuri Grigorovich. Championing the traditions of Russian Ballet, Russian National Ballet Theatre has toured internationally, presenting classic full works. Under the artistic direction of Elena Radchenko, formerly a Bolshoi principal dancer, the company has flourished in their repertory and developing new talents. ...
Calli Parker | KCMetropolis
Review | Russian National Ballet offers a joyful ‘Swan Lake’
The key to capitalism is to give the people what they want. Kansas City balletomanes want “Swan Lake.”

The Russian National Ballet Theatre performed the beloved Tchaikovsky story ballet Friday night to a sold-out crowd in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series. This was the company’s fourth appearance in the series, since its first American tour in 1999 performing, of course, “Swan Lake.” ...
Libby Hanssen | The Kansas City Star
Review | Romantic tenor's American debut recital
Tenor Michael Fabiano made his American recital debut courtesy of the Harriman-Jewell Series with a carefully planned program of arias and artsongs which brought the audience to its feet for several well-deserved standing ovations. ...
Don Dagenais | KCMetropolis
Review | Tenor Michael Fabiano makes a powerful recital debut
American tenor Michael Fabiano brought a powerful, compelling voice to his successful U.S. recital debut Saturday night at the Folly Theater with pianist Laurent Philippe in the Harriman-Jewell “Great Masters: The Ingram Events” series. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
Preview | The Classical Beat | A tenor debuts with Harriman recital, an organ calls
Critically acclaimed tenor Michael Fabiano is poised to join the ranks of Luciano Pavarotti, Francisco Araiza, Juan Diego Florez and other operatic greats when he performs his American recital debut on the Harriman-Jewell Series at 8 p.m. Jan. 19. ...
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
Preview | Spring 2013 Solo Vocal/Choral
The Harriman-Jewell Series will bring a pantheon of talented singers to Kansas City this spring. The stellar line-up begins with tenor Michael Fabiano next Saturday, January 19 at the Folly Theater. Readers might be familiar with Fabiano for his appearance as one of the finalists on the PBS documentary The Audition, which tracked the audition process of a handful of young artists in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera auditions. Fabiano makes his American recital debut with songs by Strauss, Duparc, Liszt, Tosti, and others. Following Fabiano on February 2 is soprano Danielle de Niese. de Niese has become known worldwide for her work with baroque opera roles. Her recital program is sure to display her expertise in this field with works by Dowland, Handel, and Mozart, as well as bel canto repertoire by Bizet, Rossini, and Donizetti. Next comes Cantus, the St. Paul/Minneapolis-based men’s choir, who will appear at The Folly Theater February 21. The ensemble promises an eclectic program of music, ranging in style from the medieval music of Pérotin to modern arrangements of the band U2. Mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught closes out the Harriman-Jewell’s “Young Vocalists Package” on April 12 at the Folly with mostly song repertoire, including Schumann’s "Frauenliebe und -leben."

One final solo vocalist the Harriman-Jewell Series will bring to Kansas City this spring is ten-time Grammy award winner Bobby McFerrin. The jazz-vocalist, probably mostly widely-known for his 1988 hit, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” appears at Helzberg Hall on April 26 with his concert “SpiritYouAll,” a program which pays homage to McFerrin’s opera-singer father and explores the repertoire of traditional Negro Spirituals. ...
Tom Marks | KCMetropolis
Review | "Drama Queen's" down-home Baroque
Friday night's American premiere of "Drama Queens," Joyce DiDonato's newest program of Baroque-era gems for the Harriman-Jewell Series filled the Folly Theater with infectious joy and awed quiet. DiDonato, along with the period ensemble Il Complesso Barocco accomplished a rare feat in classical music: they made it simply look and sound fun. ...
Ruth Carver | KCMetropolis
Review | Joyce DiDonato exercises the power of her voice in delightful performance
Joyce DiDonato, Kansas City's hometown favorite international mezzo-soprano, presented "Drama Queens" to a sold-out and seriously enthusiastic audience Friday night at the Folly Theater as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
Preview | Local Mezzo Turns Superstar
Is there any stopping Joyce DiDonato? Every time you turn around, America’s favorite mezzo-soprano has won new awards, fresh accolades and effulgent encomiums. The 43-year-old Prairie Village native and Grammy Award-winner is one of the greatest performing artists ever to come out of Our Town, and she is in the best voice of her life. If you’ve never heard Joyce sing it’s hard to explain fully the suave power of her red-velvet-cake voice, the thrilling command of her remarkable range, and her astonishing acting gifts – in tragedy, comedy and everything in between. She leaves critics sputtering for superlatives. “Simply the best singing I’ve heard in years,” wrote the Financial Times. “DiDonato’s voice is at present nothing less than 24-carat gold,” wrote the The London Times. “Ms. DiDonato seemed the perfect 21st-century diva,” said The New York Times, “an effortless combination of glamour, charisma, intelligence, grace and remarkable talent.” Opera News wrote: “The buoyant progress of DiDonato’s career… has been one of the happiest opera events of the past decade.” But you don’t have to take critics’ word for it, because this Friday (November 16th) at the Folly Theater Joyce appears in recital as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series’ stellar 48th season – her fifth time on the Series. It’s her second local appearance in KC this calendar year ..
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Identical variations
Twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton, pianists, brought their youth and synergic musicality to the packed Folly Theater for the Harriman-Jewell Discovery Concert Series. ...
Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | Cuban musicians venture into enemy territory to celebrate art, not politics
KANSAS CITY, MO.—Nearly 1,600 mostly well-heeled denizens of the U.S. heartland stood at attention one night this month as Cuba’s national anthem was played for their benefit.

Then they burst into eager applause.

The next evening, a substantial gathering in Urbana, Ill., did exactly the same thing, followed just 24 hours later by a similar occurrence in Ames, Ind.

Is Middle America going Communist?

Not in this millennium.

Instead, for the first time in its 53-year existence, the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba is on a tour of enemy territory, a month-long journey through 10 states of the union, winding up in West Palm Beach, Fla., five days after the U.S. presidential vote. ...
Oakland Ross | The Toronto Star
Review | Cuban orchestra comes to Kansas City
The Harriman-Jewell Series once again lived up its motto, "bringing the best of the performing arts to Kansas City," with the U.S. debut of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba (NSOC). Under the batons of music director Enrique Pérez Mesa, and guest conductor, Guido López-Gavilán, and with piano soloist Nachito Herrera, the orchestra presented an evening full of artistry and surprises. ...
Nihan Yesil | KCMetropolis
Review | Morris Group Brings Multi-Faceted Program to Harriman-Jewell Series
Mark Morris is one of the great innovators of American dance, but his works rarely have what you would call “the shock of the new.” In fact his choreography is so deftly and intuitively attuned to the music that it often has an almost organic feel to it, a naturalness that grows from both musicality and sharp visual perception. These qualities were amply on display at the wide-ranging program by the Mark Morris Dance Group on September 28that the Kauffman Center, presented by the organization that has been a powerful force in bringing the world’s best dance to Kansas City, the Harriman-Jewell Series.The program included four works spanning three decades, from the Canonic ¾ Studies of 1982 to the Festival Dancefrom 2011, yet what stood out was the extent to which they all felt “of a piece.” ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Ax Opens Harriman Season with Beethoven and Schubert
There are good reasons why Emanuel Ax is held in such high esteem in the American classical scene. He has an innate, “natural” musicality that seems to adapt to any period or style, he plays with extreme delicacy but can also tear into a thunderous fortissimo without banging, and he can “sing” you a melody as if it had words to it. (Plus he’s a gregarious guy you would want to invite to dinner some night.) All of these qualities were on display at his recital on September 22nd at the Folly Theater, the opening of the Harriman-Jewell Series’ 48th season and Ax’s 12th appearance on it. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Preview | Making a Mark: Harriman-Jewell Series Brings Storied Dance Group to Kauffman Center
If you want to be a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group, you’d better get busy. For not only are the auditions for his 18-member company as rigorous as just about anything in modern dance, some 300 men and women show up to fill one position, but Mark requires much more than just dance chops. “For me a dancer has to be really smart, and well-rounded, and well-read and mature,” says the dancer/choreographer/stage director, who brings his company to the Harriman-Jewell Series on September 28th, “and very gifted as a dancer, and with a musical ear – versatile and not a giant pain in the ass.” He likes dancers who are “adults,” he says, and he encourages them to “go to museums and the opera and the symphony and read books … and find out about politics and religion and culture. … So many dance companies live in a vacuum, and mine doesn’t. And that’s one of the reasons the work is so good.” When asked if there is such a thing as a “Morris dancer,” he says: “I usually get that question if I do a Q & A after a show, and my response is, ‘you were just watching it.” ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Preview | Mark Morris dancers return to KC after 7 year absence
Mark Morris is the serious music-lover’s choreographer, possessing a sophisticated understanding of classical music and an astounding ability to interpret it through ingeniously crafted modern dance. Not since the heyday of ballet genius George Balanchine has a choreographer generated such critical acclaim for his musical sensibilities. ...
Lisa Jo Sagolla | The Kansas City Star
Review | Pianist Emanuel Ax artfully opens Harriman-Jewell Series at the Folly
World-famous pianist Emanuel Ax returned to Kansas City for the 12th time Saturday night in the triumphant opening concert of the 48th Harriman-Jewell Series at the Folly Theater.

Ax carried forward a long tradition of refined, romantic performance sensibility in a Beethoven and Schubert concert filled with polish, skill and heart. Pianist Artur Rubinstein, one of his most prominent aesthetic forebears, came to mind during the program. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
Review | Filianoti sings of amore
The Harriman-Jewell Series closed its 47th season last Saturday night at the Folly Theater with an addition to its growing list of U.S. recital debuts with Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti.

Themes of heartbreak dominated Filianoti’s program—unrequited, undying, suffering love. Yet despite the melancholic subject matter, Filianoti’s lyrical, expressive treatment of these late-Romantic era songs resulted in a simply lovely, mellifluous recital for the Harriman-Jewell Series. His voice is robust yet sinuous, with clear articulation and taut intonation, solid vibrato, and powerful sustain especially in his middle-top range. Only a rare, ever-so-slight waver in his very highest pitches and a couple of thin entrances were heard during an otherwise splendid evening. ...
Kristin Shafel Omiccioli | KCMetropolis
Review | Tenor displays suave lyricism, breadth of emotional range
Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti possesses a clear, honest voice that is imbued with pathos and a sort of sunny heroism in the upper range, as well as firm pitch control overall. But his real strength is his wide emotional range, which can embrace everything from sorrow to ebullience, resignation to determination. The full breadth of his gifts was on display at his Harriman-Jewell Series recital on April 21st at the Folly Theater, his first solo recital in America and the latest of a distinguished series of debuts presented by the Harriman organization. It was an intimate, personal affair consisting chiefly of Italian songs and arias drawn from the late-Romantic repertoire for which his voice seems particularly well-suited. If his lower and middle range proved to be less intense or convincing that his top, and if his recital repertoire had a sort of sameness to it, Filianoti is a singer of fine musical instincts, and he is considered one of the leading lyric tenors today, especially in the Italian and French repertoire. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Heartbreak sounds sweet when sung by Giuseppe Filianoti
Italian lyric tenor Giuseppe Filianoti sang music from a bygone world at the final 2012 Harriman-Jewell Series concert Saturday night at the Folly Theater.

Filianoti sang a program of music by Richard Strauss, Ottorino Respighi and other verismo period Italian composers whose overarching theme was heartbroken men mourning their deceased wives, muses and loved ones. ...
John Heurtz | The Kansas City Star
Review | Red Star rises again in Kansas City
Friday night at the Helzberg Hall of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Red Star Red Army Chorus and Dance Ensemble celebrated its 20th year of touring in the United States. The Harriman-Jewell Series hosted the troupe in its inaugural touring season in 1992 and brought them back this year in its celebratory season. ...
Laura Vernaci | KCMetropolis
Review | Perahia's romantic polish
Pianist Murray Perahia's enthusiastic and exciting performance for the Harriman-Jewell Series stood in stark contrast to his calm and reflective demeanor, befitting one of the defining classical pianists of the day. ...
Don Dagenais | KCMetropolis
Review | Sincerity and Elegance: Pianist delivers warmth, elegance in generous Harriman program
Through his invaluable contributions to musical research, as well as his exceedingly mindful approach to performance, Murray Perahia has become one of the most sought-after gentlemen-scholars of the piano in recent years. His considerable gifts include a rarely matched degree of sincerity stemming from a fundamental empathy with the composer’s intent; a consistently warm, mellow, mahogany tone; and the ability to establish an immediate rapport with his audience. All three of these strengths, and many more, displayed themselves prominently and unequivocally during his March 14th Folly Theater recital. Although Perahia chose a program brimming with familiarity for the night’s appearance, there remained an innovative, lively quality to his style that charmed even the most jaded of ears. ...
Erin Hales | The Independent
Review | Murray Perahia at the Folly Theater
Wednesday night, American pianist Murray Perahia gave an extended recital display of the greatest virtuosity, transparency and shimmering elegance in his fourth Harriman-Jewell series Folly Theater appearance since 1981. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
Review | Ray Chen's youthfulness abounds
The Harriman-Jewell Series concluded its season of Discovery Concerts this weekend with a performance by 19-year-old violinist Ray Chen and collaborative pianist Julio Elizalde. This concert marked not only the last of these free Discovery Concerts for the musical year, but also the first one held in Helzberg Hall of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. ...
Karen Hauge | KCMetropolis
Review | Rational Exuberance: Ray Chen’s KC debut showcases substantial interpretive strengths
A classical musician’s devotion to the intentions of composers long deceased often finds itself at odds with the present day’s realities of myriad stimuli and instant gratification. Therefore, it is becoming quite uncommon to encounter performers capable of captivating audiences while simultaneously revering thousands of markings in aging texts. Judging from Ray Chen’s exceptional Helzberg Hall performance on March 11, he stands to join a selective rank of these interpreters. Seamlessly melding his approachable, affable demeanor into masterworks of Mozart, Brahms, Ysaÿe and Saint-Saëns, Chen nonetheless plays with a degree of respect and understanding that is almost non-existent in today’s younger generation of classical performers. ...
Erin Hales | The Independent
Review | Master class in bel canto performance
Tenor Juan Diego Flórez’s recital at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for Harriman-Jewell Series was a master class in technique and stage presence—as well as a level of talent that simply can’t be taught. ...
Erik Klackner | KCMetropolis
Review | Baroque fire from Alaska
Alaskan-born, coloratura mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux dazzled in her Kansas City debut Friday night with Fabio Biondi’s Europa Galante for the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | Parsons Dance performs with honor
The signature dance company from native son David Parsonsolidified its favored status in the Harriman-Jewell Series on a night when it commemorated the series’ founder, Richard Harriman. ...
Laura Vernaci | KCMetropolis
Review | Hamburg's meaty program
The Harriman-Jewell Series presented the Hamburg Symphony under Jeffrey Tate with violinist Guy Braunstein Friday night with a meat-and-potatoes program of Vaughan Williams, Beethoven, and Dvorák. ...
Erik Klackner | KCMetropolis
Review | Vivica Genaux, Europa Galante bring drama, refinement to Vivaldi
What’s “florid” on the Italian baroque like? Like white on rice as Vivica Genaux demonstrated in “Vivaldi Pyrotechnics” in the Harriman-Jewell Series at the Folly Theater Friday night. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
Preview | Mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux will bring vocal ‘Pyrotechnics’ to the Folly
Sometimes Vivica Genaux loves to sing with the precision and breakneck speed of an athlete — in “techno rhythm.”
Other times, the tunes are achingly slow but still bursting with passion.
The common thread of most of the songs she performs is that they come from obscure archives, silent for centuries. ...
Verena Dobnik | The Associated Press
Review | Parsons Dance is eclectic yet accessible in Harriman performance
Visually arresting by way of incredible physicality, dynamic lighting and eclectic movement vocabulary, Parsons Dance is a proudly accessible modern dance company. Its debut performance Saturday night in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts marked the company’s 11th appearance as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
Libby Hanssen | The Kansas City Star
Review | Violinist Braunstein, with Hamburg orchestra, displays world-class skills
Violinist Guy Braunstein joined the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Tate in their Kansas City debuts Wednesday night at Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The concert was part of this season’s Harriman-Jewell Series.

Tate, a patriotic Englishman, opened the program with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 1909 overture for the play “The Wasps.” It’s a nice, sparkly bit of froth with the solid feel of an English folk song.

This overture was among the first fruits of Williams’ study of English folk songs and his orchestration lessons from Maurice Ravel. It made a good appetizer for the solid Mitteleuropan fare that followed. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
Review | Urbane Renewal: Kempf Recital Delivers Charm, but Lacks Polish
Throughout its history, the Harriman-Jewell Series’ Discovery Concert Series has sought to promote the careers of emerging artists while providing high-quality, free-of-charge concerts for the Kansas City community. It was therefore an unconventional move to select a relatively established figure such as Freddy Kempf for the Series’ Discovery concert on January 20th. Few in the audience were complaining: Kempf brings an old-world gentility to the piano, as well as a mellow, mahogany tone and a refined sense of voice leading. Although the entire program did much to showcase his signature style, the second half proved particularly satisfying. ...
Erin Hales | The Independent
Review | Freddy Kempf packs the Folly
Playing to a standing-room only crowd, pianist Freddy Kempf rightfully chose shorter works which were friendly to the younger audience for his Harriman-Jewell Series appearance on Friday night. ...
Topher Levin | KCMetropolis
Review | Pianist Freddy Kempf conquers all in recital
Renowned pianist Freddy Kempf on Friday delivered a dazzling display of technical and interpretive skill in a Folly Theater recital. Kempf ’s abilities as a dynamic performer and emotionally sensitive musician were brilliantly exhibited for his Kansas City debut as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series Discovery Concerts. Kempf played some of the most difficult solo piano pieces in the repertoire. ...
Andrea Fowler | The Kansas City Star

This year will go down in history as a milestone in Kansas City’s performing arts life, as the opening of the Kauffman Center has spurred all of our local arts groups to new heights. Here are a few of my favorite moments of the year, listed in chronological order. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Bluegrass holiday of brotherly love
Despite the drizzly and dreary weather, the music was sizzlin’ inside Helzberg Hall last Monday night, where DuPue Brothers Band warmed the audience with lively genre-crossing holiday cheer. ...
Kristin Shafel | KCMetropolis
Review | Vienna Symphony is simply divine
The Harriman-Jewell Series hosted the Vienna Symphony Orchestra last Wednesday to a sold-out audience as the first international orchestra on the Helzberg Hall stage. With special guest the Eroica Trio, this concert proved to be a night to remember. ...
Kristin Shafel | KCMetropolis
Review | Fabio Luisi conducts Vienna Symphony with a light touch at Helzberg Hall
These days, the eyes of the classical-music world focus with more intense scrutiny on conductor Fabio Luisi.

All the attention followed Luisi’s appointment in September as principal conductor of New York’s Metropolitan Opera after health problems forced James Levine, the opera’s longtime music director, to step down. ...
Timothy L. McDonald | The Kansas City Star
Review | Skill and musicality in equal measure
James Galway's Harriman-Jewell Series recital at the Folly Theater found the seasoned Irish flutist delivering both dazzling virtuosity and evocative and sensitive musicality in a well-balanced program. ...
Erik Klackner | KCMetropolis
Review | Midori and Aydin excel with Shostakovich
Midori, whose reputation has earned her single-name status, presented a well-played program of Mozart, Shostakovich, Schumann, and Schubert as part of the Harriman-Jewell concert series. With pianist Özgür Aydin, the pair performed last Thursday evening for a sizable weekday Folly audience. ...
Christopher Levin | KCMetropolis
Review | Midori at the Folly Theater

Midori made her fourth appearance with the Harriman-Jewell Series on Thursday night at the Folly Theater, Kansas City’s grande dame venue.

She displayed her legendary virtuosity and versatility on the violin in recital with pianist Özgür Aydin. ...
Libby Hanssen | The Kansas City Star
Midori possesses an exceptional gift for rhetorical expression and soaring melodic lines, and her violin tone is rich and full, never forced, even when she bears down hard. On October 27th at the Folly Theater she and her pianist, Özgür Aydin, were best in Shostakovich’s Sonata, Op. 134, where their inner musical personalities meshed beautifully to convey the composer’s dark vision of pain under Soviet rule. They conveyed with equal aplomb the desperate somberness of the outer movements and the frenetic rat-tat-tat of the central Allegretto, and they seemed ideally attuned to each other throughout. (Granted, this is one of the composer’s more tortured works, and is never an easy listen.)...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
News| INTERVIEW: Marc-André Hamelin, piano
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin spoke to KCMetropolis Classical Editor Topher Levin recently about his upcoming Harriman-Jewell Series recital, Hamelin’s recent publication of his "Twelve Etudes in the Minor Keys," the Godowsky/Chopin Etude transcriptions, and a new recording of Haydn sonatas. ...
Christopher Levin | KCMetropolis
Review | Sonic perfection as Wynton Marsalis and jazz orchestra play Helzberg Hall
“Itsy Bitsy Spider” was almost certainly not on the minds of any of the benefactors and builders responsible for the creation of the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Yet a swinging version of the children’s song served as the emotional climax of a thoroughly satisfying concert Saturday in Helzberg Hall by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

After a thrilling showcase for guest artist Bobby Watson received a standing ovation from much of the capacity audience of 1,600, Marsalis played a practical joke on his former bandmate by calling out the ditty. Watson infused the silly song with more bluesy grit than had probably ever been applied to a nursery rhyme. Marsalis and most of the other 14 members of the orchestra smiled and shook their heads in admiration for the Kansas City-based saxophonist’s improvisational skills. ...
Bill Brownlee | The Kansas City Star
Review | Jazz, blues, and a few local surprises
Talented jazz trumpeter, educator and advocate Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra shined on the Harriman-Jewell Series last Saturday night, proving Helzberg Hall isn't just for classical. ...
Kristin Shafel | KCMetropolis
News | When it comes to jazz, Wynton Marsalis doesn't compromise

At 49, trumpeter/composer/bandleader Wynton Marsalis (he’ll turn 50 in October), is generally considered past the age of obsolescence in the pop realm but still in his prime in the jazz world.

Nevertheless, his status as one of the most hailed jazz artists, position as leader of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and gatekeeper of the jazz “tradition” has placed him as jazz’s elder statesmen for many and its most well-known emissary to the world. ...
Malcom X Abram | The Kansas City Star
Review | Violinist Caroline Goulding gives a polished, purposeful performance

Listen to violinist Caroline Goulding play, and you’ll understand how a teenager could talk someone into letting her travel around the country with a borrowed Stradivarius.

Goulding, 19, and pianist Dina Vainshtein opened the Harriman-Jewell Series’ 47th season with a free Discovery Concert on Saturday night at the Folly Theater that showcased Goulding’s great musical gifts. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
News | Concert spotlights young violinist
Violinist Caroline Goulding, who just turned 19, has already had a remarkable career. In addition to winning an Avery Fisher Career Grant, she’s also been recorded by the prestigious Telarc label and is attending the New England Conservatory of Music. ...
Patrick Nease | The Kansas City Star
News | INTERVIEW: Caroline Goulding, violin
Nineteen-year-old violinist Caroline Goulding will visit Kansas City for the first time on September 24th, as part of the Harriman-Jewell Discovery Concert Series. The recent Avery Fisher Career Grant winner talks about her program with collaborative pianist Dina Vainshtein, what it means to play a recital, and what’s in store for the year ahead. ...
Karen Hauge | KCMetropolis
Review | Russian feast for the ears and eyes
Last Friday night’s Harriman-Jewell Series presentation of Canada’s premiere string chamber orchestra I Musici de Montréal to a two-thirds full audience at the Folly Theater was just as described in the concert’s tagline: “Paintings for the ears and music for the eyes!” ...
Kristin Shafel | KCMetropolis
Review | I Musici di Montréal presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series
I Musici di Montréal, a chamber orchestra presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series, performed a program of glorious Russian music at the Folly Theater Friday night. While the ensemble was small in size, the program was grand in concept. ...
Timothy McDonald | The Kansas City Star
News | Animated Works Dance to Mussorgsky's Music
Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky created a suite of 10 musical portraits for piano, inspired by an 1874 exhibition of a friend’s paintings and architectural projects. But most of those works were lost. ...
Laura Spencer |
Review | Natasha Paremski in recital
Twenty-three-year-old Russian-born pianist Natasha Paremski gave a finessed and invigorated performance before an audience of around 800 in the Harriman-Jewell Series’ free Discovery Concert Series last Saturday. The pianist has an interesting story: born in Moscow, Paremski’s family made the difficult decision to immigrate to the United States in the early 90s to escape crime and economic instability after her father, a noted scientific researcher, was assaulted in what was thought to be one of the safest neighborhoods in Moscow. ...
Christopher Levin | KCMetropolis
Review | Pianist Natasha Paremski shows amazing breadth of ability
At the ripe old age of 23, pianist Natasha Paremski is something to behold. She already has career successes behind her, making her an ideal candidate for a Harriman Jewell Series’ Discovery Concert.

But after hearing her perform a recital Saturday night at the Folly Theater, I suspect she will be receiving even more attention in the years ahead.

Paremski demonstrated an amazing breadth of ability in the recital, showcasing technical showpieces, romantic fervor and even a new composition. ...
Timothy McDonald | The Kansas City Star
Review | Stephen Costello: Emotive yet anxious
Joining the likes of Ben Heppner, Juan Diego Flórez, Maxim Vengerov, and Luciano Pavarotti, Philadelphia-born tenor Stephen Costello made his American recital debut Saturday night at the Folly Theater as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. Stripped of his costumes and sets, with only himself and accompanist, the rising opera star showcased a beautiful voice and a bundle of nerves. ...
Christopher Levin | KCMetropolis
Review | After variable start, tenor impresses in second half of American recital debut
Tenor Stephen Costello possesses a natural, rich-auburn voice with a durable top, a pleasantly feathery lower register, a sweet head-voice that can shift into full voice with fetching ease, and a big capacity for warm pathos. The American artist, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 and won the Richard Tucker Award in 2009, seems destined for a big career. At his American debut on March 5th on the Harriman-Jewell Series one had the impression that his gifts are still in the process of coming into full focus—and that his comfort level in a recital setting is far from complete. And despite the youthful beauty of his voice, at times one yearned for a wider range of color. There were, however, substantial portions in which we were able to enjoy the full flower of this promising singer. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Tenor Stephen Costello in the Harriman-Jewell Series
As devotees of the Harriman Jewell series are quick to point out, the presenters have an uncanny sense of prognostication. Since 1973 they have compiled an impressive list of American recital debuts for vocalists, including Juan Diego Florez, Ben Heppner and, of course, Luciano Pavarotti.

Tenor Stephen Costello appeared in the 20th debut recital at the Folly Theater on Saturday night, in a program largely devoted to Italian and English texts. The young tenor is making waves in operatic roles in major European and American opera houses. A vocal recital is a different creature, though, and the program contained its share of fits and starts. ...
Timothy McDonald | The Kansas City Star
News | Stephen Costello
At 29, tenor Stephen Costello is already wowing the opera world.

Besides winning the 2009 Richard Tucker Award, he has taken star turns at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Covent Garden and many other opera houses in the U.S. and around the world. Now he’ll make his American recital debut — the 20th such debut on the Harriman-Jewell Series — at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. ...
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
Review | Joyce DiDonato: Kansas City's valentine
Mezzo–soprano Joyce DiDonato celebrated her birthday last Sunday in song, performing a splendid recital of Rossini and Haydn for an audience of more than a thousand. The Kansas City native has cultivated a devoted hometown following and rightly so. DiDonato has performed starring roles on many of opera’s greatest stages the world over, including the Met, La Scala, Covent Garden, and l’Opéra Bastille. Demonstrating some of her signature Rossini and Haydn repertory, Sunday’s Harriman-Jewell recital at the Folly Theater saw DiDonato take to the stage in an elegant greyish–purple gown with gathered fabric and sporting a glittering diamond bracelet and ring. The audience was already in a jovial mood before the concert began, thanks to the spring-like weather outside. ...
Christopher Levin | KCMetropolis
Review | Hometown diva Joyce DiDonato shows force and flair

It’s always a special occasion when mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato returns to town, but scheduling a performance on Valentine’s Day weekend (which just happens to coincide with DiDonato’s birthday) raised the bar significantly.

Sunday afternoon’s performance sponsored by the Harriman-Jewell Series at the Folly Theater surpassed the hopes and expectations of even the most ardent fans of one of the world’s most successful and popular singers. ...
Timothy McDonald |The Kansas City Star
Preview | Opera singer Joyce DiDonato offers a valentine to her hometown
At 42, Joyce DiDonato already is the stuff of operatic legend.

In addition to her charisma and her gorgeous mezzo voice, she’s demonstrated uncommon courage and devotion to her art.

Who will ever forget how she broke her fibula during the first act of “The Barber of Seville” at Covent Garden in 2009 but came back in the second act to finish the performance on crutches, and then went on to sing the opera five more times in a wheelchair? ...
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
News | THAT’S OUR JOYCE: Globe-trotting DiDonato brings her vocal mastery to the Harriman-Jewell Series
Joyce DiDonato, who grew up in Prairie Village, is fast on the way to becoming the world’s greatest living mezzo-soprano. In anticipation of her February 13th recital here on the Harriman-Jewell Series, we asked what she’s up to these days. She was entrenched in a production at Houston Grand Opera — and looking forward to two Metropolitan Opera roles and eight recitals this spring, including a Carnegie Hall debut — but was kind enough to answer some written questions. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
News | Harriman-Jewell Series announces 2011–12 season
There is no shortage of stars on the Harriman-Jewell Series' 2011–12 season. Vocalists, dancers, jazz greats, pianists, and instrumentalists abound across the eighteen concerts and three performance venues: the Folly Theater and the Kauffman Center's Helzberg Hall and Muriel Kauffman Theatre. ...
Don Dagenais | KCMetropolis
Review | Jean-Yves Thibaudet offers Liszt retrospective
Jean-Yves Thibaudet offers Liszt retrospective

French-born pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet took the stage of the Folly Theater last Friday in style, his tailored suit jacket showcasing the monogram of its designer, Vivienne Westwood, with satiny triangular ‘V’s on the upper sleeves and on the back of the jacket. Gliding briskly across the stage to the piano, Thibaudet’s outfit quite literally sparkled—one of my concert companions remarked how his gem-encrusted belt buckle resembled a diamondy Saturn. Tall and thin, the pianist also sported a diamond earring stud and a high starched collar, which the performer could be seen checking every-so-often to be sure it stayed in its resolutely ‘popped’ position. ...
Christopher Levin | KCMetropolis
News | Harriman-Jewell Series Announces 2011-2012 Season
The Harriman-Jewell Series recently announced its 2011-2012 season. Nine of the season’s events will be held at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (seven in the Helzberg Hall, two in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre), and nine in the historic Folly Theater. ...
Laura Spencer |
News | Prepare for a giant leap for the arts in KC
Oct 1, 2011. This will be something to see.

Some 1,600 people file into the oval bowl of Helzberg Hall, expecting to groove to the big-band bounce of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. It’s the opening subscription concert of the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
Steve Paul | The Kansas City Star
News | Harriman-Jewell Series anticipates first season at Kauffman Center
After being squeezed out of its part-time home in the Music Hall, the Harriman-Jewell Series has presented all of its performing arts programs for the last three seasons in the Folly Theater.

Come fall, the cultural landscape changes, and Harriman-Jewell will have two more (and larger) venues to employ — the theater and concert hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. ...
Steve Paul | The Kansas City Star
Review | Jean-Yves Thibaudet at the Folly
French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet presented an all-Liszt program Friday night at the Folly Theater in Kansas City as part of this year's Harriman-Jewell Series.

At times an all-Liszt musical evening might sound aimless, disjointed or arrestingly dull. But say what you will about Franz Liszt's music: the man definitely understood value for money. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
Review | MATCHED SET: Violin-piano team delivers up fine recital
Violinist Joshua Bell delighted a sold-out Folly Theater audience on January the 22nd with his signature earthy-sweet tone and lovely, long-breathed phrasing. This generous Harriman-Jewell Series recital included three meaty masterpieces of 19th-century Romanticism, and Josh tackled all three with aplomb. Brahms’ Sonata No. 2 began a bit perfunctorily but built momentum. The Andante tranquillo was especially winning in the direct, immediate manner in which Josh “sang” its simple initial tune, and then took off vigorously into its playful Vivace sections. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Joshua Bell's stellar sonatas
The evening’s program was well paced and progressed with each piece more captivating and technically challenging than the last. Starting with the leisurely and accessible Brahms’ Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100, Bell’s theatrical physicality gripped the audience while bringing a depth and intensity to even the pithiest of phrases. Schubert’s Fantasy in C Major, Op. 159, D. 934 displayed Bell’s deft string crossings and impeccable bow control, especially during fast sections, keeping up the relentless pace and rhythm. The Schubert lacked balance and clarity though when pianist Sam Haywood’s dense harmonic phrases easily overpowered Bell’s spry pizzicatos near the piece’s end. ...
Kristin Shafel | KCMetropolis
News | All-Liszt recital a romantic pinnacle
Music lovers around the world are celebrating this year’s bicentennial of the birth of Franz Liszt.

The Harriman-Jewell Series will mark the anniversary with an all-Liszt recital by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet at 8 p.m. Friday in the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.

Thibaudet has chosen a program that will give a flavor of the excitement for which Liszt’s concerts were famous. ...
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
News | Parsons company pays tribute to Richard Harriman
David Parsons, the Kansas City-born choreographer, this week premieres a work at the Joyce Theater in New York, a tribute to the late impresario Richard Harriman.

Harriman, who died July 15, was founding director of the Harriman-Jewell series and an early supporter and promoter of Parsons’ work. Parsons’ company has performed on the series here 10 times since its first national tour in 1988. ...
Steve Paul | The Kansas City Star
Review | Violinist Joshua Bell’s music warms a cold KC night
Few people on earth can evoke as sweet a sound from a string instrument as Joshua Bell, the reigning crown prince of the violin. Bell appeared Saturday night at a sold-out Folly Theater, presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
Timothy McDonald | The Kansas City Star
News | The King’s Singers
Nobody does jolly like the King’s Singers. When these hail-fellows-well-met give a Christmas concert, the only thing missing is the boar’s head and the plum pudding. The Harriman-Jewell Series will present the King’s Singers at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.

No doubt about it, Kansas City loves the King’s Singers. The concert is already sold out, but you can get on a waiting list at 816-415-5025.
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
Review | Alessio Bax at the Folly
Pianist Alessio Bax made his triumphant Kansas City debut in a Harriman-Jewell Series Discovery Concert at the Folly Theater Saturday night.

Bax is a very lyrical pianist who deserves all the praise he's repeatedly gotten for technical facility, and between these two interpretative gifts there was very little to quibble with in Saturday night's performance. ...
John Heuertz | The Kansas City Star
News | ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Pianist takes less obvious routes to career, music-making
Alessio Bax has made a career of taking roads less traveled. The Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient from Bari, Italy has circled the globe performing the widest variety of music, not just in Europe and Asia but in Tel Aviv and Mexico City. He has explored interesting corners of the repertoire, both in recital and with top orchestras, and among his recordings are CDs of Bach transcriptions and music of Ligeti and Marcel Dupré. Recently he and his wife, pianist Lucille Chung, motored through the vast landscapes of Saskatchewan on his Prairie Debut Tour, stopping for recitals in towns like Watrous, Rosthern, and Tisdale – a follow-up to a similar recital trek across the Siberian tundra on a Russian tour a few years ago.
Alessio Bax plays at the Folly on November the 20th

And his quirky recital here on November the 20th, on the Harriman-Jewell Series’ free Discovery Concerts, will feature five of his favorite pieces by five composers from five countries. When he recently performed the same program of music by Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Bartók, Granados and Ravel at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, Steve Smith wrote in The New York Times: “Everything in his program unfolded with an ease, precision and beauty so seemingly effortless that the music appeared to live and breathe of its own volition. … Mr. Bax … is worth getting excited about.” ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
News | Discover Alessio Bax
In these tough economic times, the Harriman-Jewell Discovery concerts are just what the doctor ordered.

The concerts start early enough that you can take the kids and get home in time for bed, and, more important, they’re free, so the whole family can afford to go.

Harriman-Jewell will present pianist Alessio Bax in a Discovery Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.

Bax, who won the Avery Fisher Career Grant for 2009 and first prize in the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition in 2000, will perform music by Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Bartok, Enrique Granados and Maurice Ravel. To print tickets, visit
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
News | Every Note Must Go: Pianist Alessio Bax
Classical music isn’t for everyone. But perhaps the folks who prefer the thrashing of electric guitars and keyboards could get into the badass-ery of Brahms and Ravel if the first taste was free, and if it was performed by an internationally renowned musician. Well, would-be Rachmaninov aficionados, the organizers of the Harriman-Jewell Series have your empty wallet in mind for this show. Sultry Italian-born pianist Alessio Bax will stroke the ivories to music of all the aforementioned composers, plus Bartók and Granados. And unlike some introductory concerts, the Harriman-Jewell Series Discovery Concert doesn’t happen at a library or makeshift performance space. Nope, the people at Harriman-Jewell want everyone who acquires a free ticket via or 816-415-5025 to revel in the acoustically glorious Folly Theater (300 West 12th Street), where most of the series’ other events take place. Bax begins at 7 p.m.
Crystal Wiebe | The Pitch
News | Pianist Emanuel Ax to honor Harriman with recital
Pianist Emanuel Ax first appeared with the Harriman-Jewell Series in 1984. He has returned many times over the years, including a duo recital with Yefim Bronfman in 2008, and has become an audience favorite.

On Monday night, Ax will perform for the 11th time for a benefit recital at the Folly Theater in honor of Harriman-Jewell Series founder and artistic director Richard Harriman, who died this summer. ...
Patrick Neas | Kansas City Star
News | World-famous Jewish pianist returns to KC for benefit concert
Considered one of the greatest living pianists, Jewish-American Emanuel Ax will appear for an 11th time at Kansas City’s Folly Theater Nov. 8. Ax is returning to the storied venue to play the memorial benefit concert for Richard Harriman, who was instrumental in founding and organizing the 45-year-old Harriman-Jewell Series in Kansas City. Harriman passed away in July. ...
Brendan Howard | KC Jewish Chronicle
Review | Cello-piano duo offers frustrating night at the Folly
Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero and French cellist Gautier Capuçon are acclaimed musicians with international careers, and their gifts on their respective instruments are prodigious. Gautier has made a mark in collaborations with his brother, violinist Renard, and Gabriela you might remember from her appearance at President Obama’s inauguration with Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma.

Yet their Harriman-Jewell Series recital on November the 5th at the Folly Theater was a peculiar affair, a program of three monumental sonatas for cello and piano that seemed oddly juxtaposed. Both of these musicians possess strong musical instincts matched by a sort of willfulness that sometimes makes the music-making more about them than about the composer. And though their recordings of these works have garnered praise from the likes of Gramophone and String Magazine, this recital was plagued by indulgent interpretations, balance issues and, frequently, something as simple as a lack of clarity ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
News | Gabriela Montero teams up with cellist Gautier Capuçon for a duo recital
Remember that lovely woman playing piano with violinist Itzhak Perlman and cellist Yo-Yo Ma at President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony? She’s Venezuelan-born Gabriela Montero, and next week she teams up with French cellist Gautier Capuçon for a duo recital, part of the Harriman-Jewell Series’ Ingram Great Masters Series. Gautier, known to string fans through his activities with his brother, violinist Renaud, got his start in the European Union Youth Orchestra and later studied in Vienna. Gabriela and Gautier will perform three big works for cello and piano, the Prokofiev C-major Sonata, Op. 119, the Mendelssohn Sonata No. 2 and (a favorite of mine) the Rachmaninoff G-minor Sonata. It’s at 8 p.m. on November 5 at the Folly Theater. For tickets and more information call 816-415-5025 or go to ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Youthful Houston Ballet II impresses in classical, contemporary repertoire
On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be all that much Beatle-ness to Stanton Welch’s The Long and Winding Road, a 25-minute ballet that the Houston Ballet II performed on the Harriman-Jewell Series on October 30 at the Folly. Peter Breiner’s arrangements of the songs are more Vivaldi than George Martin — they sound so much like Baroque concertos that they might as well be — and the dance itself is deeply rooted in ballet. But beneath that surface one finds a more subtle kinship between Stanton’s piece and the music of the 1960s: His dances hint at narratives derived from the songs’ lyrics, and the spirit of his ballet is familiar to anyone who knows the Beatles, for it playfully shakes the foundations of ballet just as the Beatles did the fundamentals of pop music. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
News | Houston Ballet II KC debut
As part of its 46th season, the Harriman-Jewell Series will present Houston Ballet II on Saturday, October 30th at the Folly Theater. The series has welcomed Houston’s main company to Kansas City several times over the years when they used to perform at the spacious Music Hall. Now at the Folly, they have a smaller, more intimate space to fill and Houston Ballet’s second company was perfect for the bill. ...
Laura Vernaci | KCMetropolis
News | Houston Ballet II celebrates youth and diversity
Sometimes it takes an outsider to make you appreciate what’s going on in your own backyard, which is exactly what Australian choreographer Stanton Welch is trying to do for heartland ballet audiences.

Artistic director of the Houston Ballet since 2003, Welch said, “I love working in America because of the wealth of talent that exists in so many of its states. Yet the attention is all concentrated on the East Coast.

“I’ve worked in New York, and with its island bubble atmosphere it can be so out of touch with the richness of what’s happening in the rest of the country. There are enormous cultural differences between Houston and Chicago or the Pacific Northwest, and yet we all try to assimilate to this ‘New York’ sense of art. That’s what I would like to see change.”...

Lisa Jo Sagolla | The Kansas City Star
News | JUST TO DANCE WITH YOU: Houston Ballet II brings Beatles-inspired choreography to town
Australian-born Stanton Welch, artistic director of the Houston Ballet, has established himself as one of the world’s most inventive choreographers. Dance fans in Our Town have had ample opportunity to see Stanton’s work thanks to the Harriman-Jewell Series, which has brought his company to town seven times beginning in 1979.

On October 30 the Harriman presents Houston Ballet II, the company’s apprentice troupe, in a program that includes Stanton’s The Long and Winding Road, a fun piece set to music of (you guessed it) the Beatles. The piece is danced not to the original Beatle recordings but to Peter Breiner’s celebrated Baroque arrangements of some of the Fab Four’s hits, including “Michelle,” “She Loves You,” “Paperback Writer” and “Here Comes the Sun.” (You might also remember Peter as the man who arranged 204 national anthems for the 2004 Olympic Games, some of which encountered controversy.) The program also includes the wedding Pas de Deux from artistic director emeritus Ben Stevenson’s version of Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty, Stanton’s Blue and the wedding scene from Raymonda. For tickets call 816-415-5025 or go to ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Poise under pressure
Playing to a nearly full house of eager concertgoers last weekend, young violinist Chloë Hanslip and collaborative pianist Ashley Wass’ program of Beethoven, Szymanowski, Stravinsky and Saint-Saëns projected a steady trajectory from labored and uninspired to easy and enjoyable. ...
Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | Violinist Chloë Hanslip has a delightful KC debut
Violinist Chloë Hanslip and pianist Ashley Wass delighted concertgoers at a free Discovery Concert presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series on Friday night. ...
Robert Folsom | The Kansas City Star
News | Violinist Chloë Hanslip a worthy discovery
At 23 Chloë Hanslip is wowing audiences with a musical maturity and ingenuity that belies her young age. She, and equally impressive collaborative pianist Ashley Wass, present a free Discovery Concert Friday night courtesy of the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | Renée Fleming: Sophisticated, nuanced, intimate
Wearing a beautiful, long red gown and a white translucent shawl, Renée Fleming received a lengthy applause as soon as she took the stage at Folly Theater for Saturday evening’s sold-out appearance. She spoke briefly before beginning her program, taking up a microphone tucked away inside the piano. “No, I’m not going to sing anything from Dark Hope,” she quipped to laughter, referring to her latest recording, a foray into contemporary pop covers. Instead, Fleming explained, she was about to take the audience on a musical journey through a rich period of Vienna’s history via tonight’s selection of composers and repertoire. ...
Christopher Levin | KCMetropolis
Review | Soprano’s Harriman-Jewell recital demonstrates intelligence, vocal brilliance
Renée Fleming’s program on October the 9th was two recitals in one, the first a hugely intelligent exploration of the early-20th-century German and Austrian lied, the second a generous serving of mostly Italian arias that shone light on a variety of operatic heroines. It was a worthy demonstration of two dynamics of Renée’s character: the intellectual curiosity that has made her career so fascinating to observe and the naturally magnificent instrument, certainly one of the greatest female voices of modern times. If the second “half-recital” offered up plenty of the excess of vocal affect that Renée’s detractors love to hate, the first was one of the most musically rewarding recitals I can remember. (I should say up-front that the chaotic early-20th century is one of my favorite musical eras.) The Folly Theater was packed to capacity for this Harriman-Jewell Series recital, during which the soprano gamely picked up a microphone and chatted about the songs before each set — with down-to-earth wit and impressive knowledge. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Soprano Renée Fleming bowls over Folly Theater audience
Some performers seem to have it all. So it seemed on Saturday night at the Folly Theater as soprano Renée Fleming sang as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. Fleming, long revered as one of the operatic world’s finest treasures, bowled over a sold-out audience with her charm, beauty and of course, her sensational voice. ...
Timothy McDonald | The Kansas City Star
News | Harriman-Jewell Series offers Chloë Hanslip
The Harriman-Jewell Discovery Concerts continue to amaze with the quality of their performances, presented absolutely free. For example, the classical chart-topping and much in demand young violinist Chloe Hanslip will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at the Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St., and all you have to do is visit the Harriman-Jewell website to print off your tickets.

The 23-year-old Hanslip, who has been playing the violin since she was 2, always has had a clear vision of her vocation. “I was born in Surrey in the UK and lived there until I was 7, at which point I moved to Germany with my mother in order to study with the amazing Russian professor Zakhar Bron,” Hanslip said. “I always knew that playing the violin was what I wanted to do with my life, and I’m very fortunate to be able to do what I love.”

Hanslip will perform a varied program beginning with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8 for Violin and Piano. “It’s a wonderful piece, so joyous and with a second movement to die for,” Hanslip said.

Following that, Hanslip and her piano accompanist, Ashley Wass, will perform “Three Mythes” by Szymanowski, the “Suite Italienne,” based on themes from Stravinsky’s ballet “Pulcinella,” and the Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano by Saint-Saëns. “I find the Saint-Saëns to be very brooding and emotional,” Hanslip said. “It’s an absolutely gorgeous work with a virtuosic ending.”
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
News | Soprano Renée Fleming, coming to KC, erases boundaries
There was a time when Renee Fleming imagined a different future for herself than the elevated stage on which she now is usually found. She was a young singer, still in college, and had a chance to go on the road with Illinois Jacquet, a formidable, post-swing, R&B-flavored jazz saxophonist. Whether through parental intercession or just her own voice within, she decided to take another path. ...
Steve Paul | The Kansas City Star
News | Moore on the Piano: Keyboard wizard thrives on collaborations with classical stars
On October the 9th there will be two world-renowned musicians performing on the stage of the Folly Theater. The fellow seated at the piano will be Bradley Moore, who studied with legendary teachers Maria Curcio and Claude Frank and has performed in most of the world’s major recital halls. Never heard of him? Just ask soprano Renée Fleming who he is: She’ll be the other person onstage that night, as the duo performs a recital of early-20th-century songs and other works as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Trey McIntyre Project enchants Harriman-Jewell Series opening night audience
Richard Harriman would have been happy to see the activity on September 18 at the teeming Folly Theater. Harriman, who died in August of leukemia, had an eye for what was going to be the Next Big Thing in music, dance and theater. That’s how he made the Harriman-Jewell Series into a national presenting powerhouse. The Trey McIntyre Project is clearly one of the Big Things in dance today, and its local debut here on Saturday was one of the most impressive dance performances I’ve seen in this city or any other. I’m quite sure Richard was up there watching — smiling in the amiable way that we all knew so well. This was an unequivocal hit ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Trey McIntyre Project: Dancing Outside of the Box
The Trey McIntyre Project debuted three dance works Saturday, in a Harriman-Jewell Series concert at the Folly Theater, that challenged the typical concept of dance with unexpected changes in pace, tone and texture ...
Nicole English | The Kansas City Star
News | TREY CHIC: Kansan who is taking dance world by storm opens Harriman-Jewell season
Nobody knows for sure why the Basques came to Idaho, but come they did: The state boasts one of the largest Basque populations in the world. Even the mayor of Boise is Basque. So when choreographer Trey McIntyre was invited to create a piece celebrating this fascinating culture, he knew he had to immerse himself completely to make a dance that would reflect accurately its nature — but also be true to his own aesthetic and craft. “Some people were a bit suspicious at first,” says Trey, a Wichita native who has built his nine-member, Boise-based company into an international phenomenon. “It was like a lot of things in Boise: ‘What are you guys doing here? What do you want of us?’ But when those people understood how excited we were about representing their culture in a serious and meaningful way, they really got into it.” ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
News | Trey McIntyre Project
Trey McIntyre is a standout among contemporary choreographers. And not just because he’s 6 feet 6 inches tall. His dance company, the Trey McIntyre Project, is acclaimed for its freshness, youthful vigor and extremely creative and often witty dance moves. ...
Patrick Neas | The Kansas City Star
Blog | Another Immense Loss
Kansas City lost one of its greatest visionaries the same day that the world lost Sir Charles Mackerras. While perhaps the latter will receive more international coverage, the loss of Richard Harriman will be no less deeply felt. He brought the world of classical music to the middle of America and provided a varied, superlative, world-class program that saw the recital debut of Luciano Pavarotti, countless appearances by Marilyn Horne, the Vienna Philharmonic, Russian Ballet companies, Baroque Orchestras, Wynton Marsallis, among a multitude of others, and graciously gave me my hometown recital debut ...
Joyce DiDonato | Yankeediva Blog
News | Performing Arts Leader Richard Harriman Dies at Age 77
In 1965, Richard Harriman co-founded what's now known as the Harriman-Jewell Series – as an English professor at William Jewell College in Liberty with a passion for performing arts ...
Laura Spencer |
Blog | Richard Harriman, R.I.P.
William Jewell College, my alma mater, is the home of one of the finest performing-arts series in America, the Harriman-Jewell Series. Among countless noteworthy things, the Harriman-Jewell Series presented Luciano Pavarotti in his professional recital debut in 1973. During my student days, I saw under its auspices performances by Pavarotti, Birgit Nilsson, Itzhak Perlman, Leontyne Price, Mstislav Rostropovich, Rudolf Serkin, Frederica von Stade, Twyla Tharp, and Beverly Sills--all of which I attended for free ...
Terry Teachout | About Last Night
News | RICHARD HARRIMAN, WORLD-RENOWNED ARTS PRESENTER, DIES AT 77: Artists, arts lovers worldwide mourn loss of Harriman-Jewell Series co-founder
The list of Series presentations through the years reads like a Who’s Who of worldwide music, dance and theater — from Isaac Stern to Marilyn Horne, from the Royal Concertgebouw to the Philadelphia Orchestra, from Paul Taylor to Alvin Ailey and the American Ballet Theatre. The Series always shed special light on opera singers, presenting nearly every major star on the Metropolitan Opera’s roster from the 1960s onward. In 1973 Richard presented the world recital debut of an up-and-coming tenor named Luciano Pavarotti, who would become a friend and regular guest ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Top Ten of KC's 2009–10 season
1. David Parson Dance Company/East Village Opera Company’s Remember Me – Perfection of motion, music, and staging by one of our most talented native sons. (November 2009) (Top Picture: David Parson Dance Company with the East Village Opera Company singer, Tyley Ross)

4. Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott’s Shostakovich Cello Sonata – Fearlessly performed by seasoned pros as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series, Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata was the emotional backbone to Ma and Stott’s marvelously musical recital. (March 2010) ...

Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | Dolls 'R' Us: Coppelia danced by Moscow Festival Ballet on Saturday, May 1, 2010
Dolls that come to life, a village love story, iconic ballet moves: Coppélia is hard to resist even in a so-so production. The version by the Moscow Festival Ballet, presented here on May 1st by the Harriman-Jewell Series, was a considerable cut above the average, with youthful dancers, faux-naïve set designs, and fine dancing in the Russian tradition. ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | From Art Songs to Opera: Tenor Michael Schade and Baritone Russell Braun in duo recital on Saturday, April 10, 2010
It's been a long time since I've heard two great artists share a recital stage, but Saturday night the Harriman-Jewell Series with assistance from Mrs. Beth Ingram, brought three of Canada's finest musicians together. Tenor Michael Schade, baritone Russell Braun and his wife, pianist Carolyn Maule presented a program full of poetry, prayer and pent up passion. ...
Megan Browne Helm | KCMetropolis
Review | Commanding Cello
With a performer whose career is as storied as cellist Yo-Yo Ma's, a solo recital's repertoire could consist of anything from Silk Road pieces, Appalachian song arrangements, to Bach Cello Suites. Last Thursday night's performance at the Folly Theater found Ma and collaborative pianist, Kathryn Stott firmly in the latter category with works by Schubert, Shostakovich, Piazzolla, Gismonti and Franck ...
Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | Yo-Yo Ma, cellist and Kathryn Stott, pianist
When the world’s reigning cellist, Yo-Yo Ma took the stage of the Folly Theatre Thursday night, thunderous applause arose from the sold-out audience before a note was played. The legendary cellist, and pianist, Kathryn Stott were presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series in celebration of its 45th Anniversary season. Ma enraptured the audience with brilliant technical command, lush and soaring beauty of tone, and immaculately conceived musical architecture. But as impressive as those technical fireworks were, it wasn’t until the second half of the program that Ma shared the full measure of his artistry, saving the big guns of emotional engagement for last ...
Gayle G. Hathorne | KCFreePress
Review | STILL BEATING: In Harriman-Jewell recital, Ma continues his quest to the heart of music
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is a restless soul. When he plays a piece like Schubert’s “Arpeggione” Sonata, which he has no doubt played hundreds of times, you can feel him struggle to take a new look at each phrase and gesture, each dynamic shading, each mood shift — so that the piece can remain fresh not just for the audience but for him. The result is a peculiar mixture of sincerity and weird inwardness, an almost voyeuristically intimate experience in which Schubert’s straightforward idiom gives way to a remote impressionistic universe of gentle whispers and perfumed shadings ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Moscow State Radio Orchestra misfires
I felt as though I was in a farce Saturday night, listening to the Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra perform their all-Tchaikovsky program as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. Perhaps my critique is tarnished by reading an earlier article in the New York Times ...
Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | PYOTR, WE HARDLY KNEW YE: Musicianly conductor, spotty players present all-Tchaikovsky concert at the Folly
Sometimes a conductor of strong musicianship can make up for a multitude of orchestral sins. Such was the case, almost, on Saturday at the Folly Theater, when the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra offered an all-Tchaikovsky program on the prestigious Harriman-Jewell Series. The conductor, Alexei Kornienko, demonstrated a natural ease with Tchaikovsky’s music: The ebbs and flows of tempo felt organic, the pacing was thoughtful and free, and the attention to detail was that of one who has lived long with this music. The opening Polonaise from Eugene Onegin was played as an unabashed show-stopper, and in the Fourth Suite, Mozartiana, Kornienko downplayed any feeling of saccharinization of poor old Mozart’s fragile music. Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony, the “Polish,” was a breath of fresh air after so many local performances of that composer’s Fourth, Fifth and Sixth symphonies in recent seasons. The Alla tedesca second movement showed an idiomatic sense for the rhythmic peculiarities of this dance-like music, and the nostalgic sweep of the central Andante elegiaco was gentle and unforced. The big finale avoided crassness but drove us to its climaxes with sagacity, high spirits and muscular vigor. And the “Grand pas” from The Nutcracker, played as an encore, had a palpable soulfulness to it ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Russian National Orchestra shows strengths but performance lacks personality
Once you got over the in-your-face shock of a full symphony orchestra on the Folly Theater’s tiny stage, the Russian National Orchestra’s concert on Friday had much to recommend. The all-Slavic program showed off a well-oiled string section and some fine principal players, though at times I found myself noticing disparities more than uniformity. Because of the difficulty of booking the Music Hall these days, the Folly was pretty much the Harriman-Jewell Series’ only choice to present Russia’s only privately funded full orchestra, which is marking its 20th anniversary with a multi-city tour. “Full orchestra” was not quite the case here, though, as only about 75 of the orchestra’s nearly 100 musicians could fit onto the stage — not an egregious problem overall, but noticeable in passages of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony that can benefit from a more luscious string sound (the pizzicato Scherzo, for example). Perhaps in such a small hall — the Folly’s low ceiling stops orchestral sound dead in its tracks — 75 was enough ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | UNEARTHLY VIRTUOSO: Pianist persuades through imagination, intelligence, muscle
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 playing it, you believe in it. Thus the Montreal-born artist has managed to persuade untold numbers of listeners of the greatness of Charles-Valentin Alkan, a 19th-century French composer whose reputation among the musical public worldwide can be said to have measurably benefitted from Hamelin’s championing of it over a quarter-century.

Alkan’s extraordinary Symphonie for solo piano was the culmination of Hamelin’s Folly Theater recital Friday on the Harriman-Jewell Series, and it was an experience that convinced me more than ever of the validity of music that as a younger man I sometimes found equal parts fancy and bombast. That’s a powerful endorsement for any artist: that he can reconnect us, as Bernstein did for Mahler, with music that we perhaps should have held in high regard all along. Hamelin, long esteemed for his bevy of recordings of everything from the Classics to the most demanding Romantic and modern scores, now stands firm as one of the leading keyboard artists of our time ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Virtuosity and wise musicianship
Marc-Andre Hamelin, whose extraordinary pianistic ability has led him to specialize in some of the most notoriously difficult pieces in the repertoire, has been refocusing his career on interpreting more traditional compositions in recent years. In this Harriman Jewell Series recital he displayed both sides of his impressive abilities ...
Don Dagenais | KCMetropolis
Review | Marc-André Hamelin: Legendary pianist took the Folly Theatre by storm in Friday's performance
Legendary pianist Marc-André Hamelin took the Folly Theatre by storm Friday night to present a recital as spellbinding for its musical storytelling as it was astounding in technical virtuosity ...
Gayle G. Hathorne | KCFreePress
Review | Discovering New Talent
The Harriman-Jewell Series' "Discovery Concerts" are worth attending for any concert-goer interested in new artists. Rachel Lee is one such artist brimming with talent and potential - and worth catching again in the future ...
Kristin Shafel | KCMetropolis
Review | Marc-André Hamelin: Alkan Unlocked
The performance by Marc-André Hamelin in Kansas City last night as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series was animated and inspiring throughout. I particularly admired the Alkan ‘12 Études dans tous les tons mineurs Op. 39, Nos. 4-7’ ...
Chamber Music Today
News | Harriman-Jewell announces 2010-11 season
The Harriman-Jewell Series has just announced its 46th season. The 16-event schedule begins on September 18, with the dynamic dance company, Trey McIntyre Project, and closes on May 5 and 6, 2011, with The Aluminum Show, a shining example of creative movement and theatrical innovation. All 2010-2011 performances will be held at the Folly Theater (12th and Central Sts.) in downtown Kansas City, Mo ...
KCM Staff | KCMetropolis
Review | Of Voice and Viols
Julianne Baird has a reputation for being one of the world's leading interpreters of Baroque vocal music. Her expressive soprano voice has been described by the Washington post as "one of the most extraordinary voices in the service of early music." I had heard about her and seen her name headlining at the Boston Early Music Festival for years, but this was my first chance to hear her live ...
Megan Browne Helm | KCMetropolis
News | Rising-star pianist in free ‘Discovery Concert’
Russian-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg will make his Kansas City debut in a free Harriman-Jewell Series “Discovery Concert” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Folly Theater downtown.

The 25-year-old Jewish musician, named by BBC Music Magazine as one of “tomorrow’s greats: the pianists to watch,” will perform works by Chopin, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev. Giltburg will return to the stage immediately after the concert for a conversation with audience members ...
Rick Hellman | The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle
Review | Belly up to the Bard
Belly up to the Bard

Charles Dickens, Peggy Ashcroft, Ben Kingsley, Edmund Kean, James Thurber, and an unidentified high school student were among the many celebrating their love or loathing of Shakespeare at the Folly Theatre this past Saturday night, with both the majority and the minority views pronounced by the actor Roger Rees, in his monologue What You Will. The 90-minute verbal collage of jokes, anecdotes, soliloquies, song, dramatic instruction (the "Shakespeare hop" that many actors feel the need to do at the end of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech in leaving the stage) and odd bodkins was presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series. Funny, educational, at times touching (when Rees talked about how losing his father at an early age prepared him for Hamlet's reaching out to his ghost father), the presentation was like a YouTube video for theatre [works] ...
Steve Shapiro | KCMetropolis
Review | David Parsons' unforgettable "Remember Me"
Wow. Native son David Parson's Parson Dance with members of the East Village Opera Company presented an amazing evening of music and dance at the Folly Theater last Friday as part of the Harriman Jewell Series. The performance is still seared into my brain days later ...
Lee Hartman | KCMetropolis
Review | Rock on: New Parsons work tells love story using dance, visuals, rock music and — opera
Choreographer David Parsons’ earnest new piece Remember Me takes as its ambition to do Jesus Christ Superstar and Movin’ Out one better, by creating not just rock-opera or rock-ballet but rock-opera-ballet. Its conceit seems reasonable enough: to tell a love story through dance in collaboration with singers of the East Village Opera Company, a group that in recent years has achieved fame/notoriety for creating big-boned rock versions of opera arias. The result, which the Harriman-Jewell Series presented at a sold-out Folly Theater on November 13, contains no small amount of interesting choreography and elaborately conceived, if at times skewed, scenic and lighting design. Yet the narrative of this 70-minute piece can only be described as quotidian, and the overwrought musical arrangements, performed live to recorded accompaniment by two singers who moved about the stage and interacted with the dancers, grew tiresome ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Vivacious Valkyrie: Wagnerian soprano shows personal side in Harriman-Jewell recital
Deborah Voigt is known to the opera world for her portrayals of stern, stately and imperious Wagner and Strauss heroines: Ariadne, Brünnhilde, Elisabeth, Elsa, Isolde, Salome. Her persona in solo recital is decidedly different, chatty and folksy and witty, and on October 30 a smallish Harriman-Jewell audience seemed to have a pleasant time listening to her sing from a wide-ranging repertoire. That her heroic voice is not always ideally suited to smaller-scale recital repertoire does not daunt her, though it made for some odd moments among the nice ones ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Review | Room at the top: Violinist again displays gifts that are winning over the classical world
Stefan Jackiw played a beautiful recital on September 26 at the Folly Theater, confirming once again my ongoing impression that he is destined to lead a career at the very top of the toughly competitive world of classical violin. In fact he is already leading it, and Saturday’s Harriman-Jewell Series recital with pianist Max Levinson showed again the hallmarks of a style that is winning over audiences worldwide: the naturalness of phrasing, the elegant singing tone, the intimate quietness of his soft playing, the subtle array of colors, and the ringing fortissimo that is never harsh. It was the 24-year-old Boston native’s third appearance on the Harriman series ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent
Blog | Harriman Jewell Series: Lang Lang
The next time the fantastic Harriman Jewell Series brings Lang Lang (pronounced lahng lahng) to town, you should buy tickets as soon as possible because they will probably sell out and if you want to sit up close and personal with the performer, you'll need to act fast. However, if you are too slow or too thrifty to get those primo spots, don't worry - Lang Lang has enough noticeable personality for everyone from the front row to the back ...
Everything Begins with an E
Review | Growth happens: Pianist shows he is moving in a more serious direction
Young people do grow up, a fact we sometimes forget when we expect youthful celebrities to act mature beyond their years. The version of Lang Lang who played Tuesday, September 15 on the Harriman-Jewell Series was a notably more serious pianist than the one who performed on the same series in 2004, also at the Folly Theater. Considerably toned-down this time was the youthful excess that made the earlier recital such an unpleasant affair — the wanton twisting of phrases, the spasmodic jabs at the keys, the focus on the momentary at the expense of the whole. Nevertheless throughout Tuesday’s oddly unmoving recital I sometimes had the feeling I was listening to a journeyman pianist, rather than to the full-blown artist that his fame might lead us to expect. But I am still willing to wait and see: At 27, Lang Lang’s prodigious technique and musical instincts are ample enough that he can most likely find the “heart of music” if he wills it ...
Paul Horsley | The Independent

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