The prestigious Harriman-Jewell Series, acknowledged as one of the finest performing arts presenters in the nation, has announced its 2017–2018 season, and it promises to fill Kansas City’s concert halls with some of the world’s greatest artists. For tickets, call 816-415-5025 or visit hjseries.org.
The acoustically superb Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway) will be the setting for several Harriman-Jewell events. The Series presented the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti in Helzberg Hall to thunderous applause in November 2015. The orchestra, one of the world’s finest, will return to perform Anton Bruckner’s massive Symphony No. 4, known as the “Romantic” (October 11).
Superstar is a term that can be legitimately applied to Joshua Bell. The violinist will be joined by pianist Alessio Bax for a not-to-be-missed recital (October 21). Stanislav Ioudenitch and Behzod Abduraimov, two local pianists who are also acclaimed international artists, will perform Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos with The Stradivarius Ensemble of the Mariinsky Orchestra led by the titanic Valery Gergiev (November 7).
Soprano Kathleen Battle will make her long-awaited return to the Harriman-Jewell Series with “Underground Railroad—A Spiritual Journey” (March 2, 2018). The program with choir will include African-American spirituals and narration drawn from writings by Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
Dance is always an important part of the Harriman-Jewell Series, and the 2017–2018 season will include three outstanding dance ensembles performing in the glamorous Muriel Kauffman Theatre in the Kauffman Center.
The always-popular Parsons Dance will open the season with its gasp-inducing athleticism (September 16) and the appropriately named Stars of American Ballet will perform George Balanchine’s Who Cares? set to music by George Gershwin (October 27). The dynamic Dance Theatre of Harlem will also make a return appearance (February 9, 2018).
Kansas City is lucky to have the Folly Theater (300 W. 12th St.), a century-old recital hall with excellent acoustics and historic beauty; the Harriman-Jewell Series continues to present outstanding artists in the distinguished venue. The King’s Singers, always a hit with Series audiences, will celebrate its 50th anniversary (November 11) and the Folly will also resound (January 13, 2018) with the joyful, uplifting voices of the American Spiritual Ensemble.
Violin virtuoso Maxim Vengerov, who made his American recital debut on the Series in 1993, will return in recital (January 20, 2018) and pianist Mitsuko Uchida, called a “goddess of purity” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is returning to the Series with a recital of music by Franz Schubert (February 16, 2018).
The Staatskapelle Weimar Orchestra of Germany will bathe the Folly in its warm sound with an all-Beethoven program, including the Coriolan Overture and the Symphony No. 5 (March 17). The orchestra was founded in 1482 and counts Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Liszt among its many illustrious conductors.
Always seeking to bring the arts to as many people as possible, the Harriman-Jewell Series presents several free Discovery Concerts every season. The concerts are an opportunity for everyone, no matter their financial situation, to enjoy classical musicians on the cusp of brilliant careers. This year, several outstanding young artists will make their Kansas City debuts.
Pianist Charlie Albright, a frequent collaborator with Yo-Yo Ma, will perform the music of Janacek, Strauss and Chopin in the season’s first free concert (September 23). Xavier Foley will demonstrate the beauty and power of the double bass (October 14) and 25-year-old Pablo Ferrández is bringing his 1696 “Lord Aylesford” Stradivarius for his cello recital (November 17). The 15-year-old pianist Nathan Lee will show why critics and music lovers consider the prodigy a star on the rise (February 24, 2018) and the charismatic young soprano Julia Bullock, noted for her amazing vocal versatility, will sing a wide variety of repertoire (April 28, 2018). All free Discovery Concerts are held at the Folly Theater.
For tickets, call 816-415-5025 or visit hjseries.org.