The Friends 2017-18 Sneak Peak and Final Three Concerts

Kirill Gerstein Photo: Marco Borggreve

The Friends of Chamber music brings to a close this year’s season featuring artists and programs celebrated from across the globe. For forty-one years, The Friends has been bringing the world’s greatest musicians to audiences in Kansas City and closes their season with two pianists, Joyce Yang and Kirill Gerstein, and the baroque vocal ensemble Vox Luminis.

Pianist Joyce Yang launched onto the international stage when she took the silver medal in the 12th Van Cliburn Competition at only 19 years old. Since her debut, the Avery Fisher Career Grant winner has had celebrated performances with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Takàcs Quartet, and members of the Emerson Quartet. On April 1st, Joyce takes the stage at 8pm in the Folly theater with music from living Australian composer, Carl Vine, Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg, and closes with the monumental Symphonic Etudes by Robert Schumann.

With their extraordinary combination of otherworldly voices and infectious passion, Vox Luminis has won enthusiastic acclaim the world over, arriving in Kansas City on April 21st at 8pm in Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. This Grammophone Award-winning ensemble has been praised for their seamless blend of high-quality individual voices, exquisite tuning, and clarity of sound. They served as the resident ensemble at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, the most important festival of its kind in the world. Director Lionel Meunier leads the ensemble in a program inspired by Domenico Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater.

Multifaceted and highly acclaimed, pianist Kirill Gerstein’s passion for jazz brings an energetic and uniquely expressive interpretation to classical works. As a gifted jazz prodigy growing up in Russia, he was shunned and thwarted in any attempts to study what the Soviets considered a degenerate art form. At age 12, he dared to rush the stage and thrust a recording of his work into the hands of touring American artists; they later realized they had discovered a genius and moved mountains to bring him to America where he studied both jazz and classical music. What has emerged is an incomparable artist who brings the vitality of these two worlds together to make exceptional music. Hear Kirill Gerstein on May 5th at 8pm in the Folly Theater for the final concert of the Friends 2016-17 season. Tickets to all events are available at or by calling (816) 561-9999.

As we look forward, the 2017-18 season will be just as remarkable as the 41 that came before it. Highlights include The Tallis Scholars return to Kansas City just on the heels of the Cardiff Tallis installation at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Boston Camerata in conjunction with local ensembles as The Friends presents a new production of the Play of Daniel. The Friends looks forward to, once again, another season bringing the world’s greatest musicians to Kansas City.