Transcendent: A New Season for the Friends of Chamber Music

The Friends of Chamber Music’s upcoming season, Transcendent, is aptly named for its star-studded lineup, outstanding repertoire, and enriching experiences outside of the concert hall for our community. Between our three series—the International Chamber Music Series, Master Pianists Series, and Early Music Series—the Friends continue to bring the world’s finest musicians to Kansas City for concerts that transport, transform, and transcend daily life.

We’re featuring not one but two great chamber orchestras. First, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will take the stage at the Kauffman Center for the Performing arts with soloists Ari Avital (mandolin) and Ksenija Sidorova (accordion) for their Stars Aligned program. This concert will feature music by some of Hollywood’s greatest film composers: Franz Waxman (Sunset Boulevard, Rebecca, Suspicion, and A Place in the Sun), Benjamin Walfisch (Blade Runner 2049, It, Dunkirk, and Hidden Figures), Nino Rota (The Godfather (parts I and II), Romeo and Juliet (1968), and ), and Miklos Rozsa. The two soloists and orchestra will come together for a magnificent performance of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in D Minor. It will be like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. They will be followed by one of the greatest early music ensembles in the world, Bach Collegium Japan with Artistic Director Masaaki Suzuki performing a baroque program with music by Bach, Vivaldi, Conti, Marcello, Telemann, and Handel on period instruments.

In addition to Bach Collegium Japan, the Early Music Series features three outstanding vocal ensembles, Vox Luminis, Stile Antico, and Atalante. Vox Luminis will perform five of the Motets by Johann Sebastian Bach and is a must-see for Bach fans. Stile Antico will perform their program, A Spanish Nativity, featuring early Christmas carols and masses just in time for the Holidays in December. Both Vox Luminis and Stile Antico will also present performance-demonstrations for the students of Grandview High School and Carver Dual Language Elementary School. In the spring, Atalante will bring some of the most gorgeous early opera works from Rome, the Eternal City, to Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in April.

Of course, we have a wonderful selection of string quartets and ensembles. The season opens with a performance by the Pacifica Quartet performing works by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, and Beethoven on October 12. The Quartet will also give a performance-demonstration for the students of Holliday Montessori Elementary School prior to their concert at the 1900 Building. In early 2019, two of the greatest string quartets in the world—The Pražák and Zemlinsky Quartets—will come together for a performance of Mendelssohn’s stunning Octet in addition to two Czech classics but Dvorak and Schulhoff. Like the Pacifica Quartet, the members of the Zemlinsky Quartet will give a performance demonstration for the first-year students of the Kansas City Art Institute during their residency.  On March 29th, we’ll have the Morgenstern Piano Trio performing Schubert’s famous trio in E-flat Major in addition to trios by Jalbert and Martin. The Morgenstern Trio will also give a performance-demonstration for students at Paseo Academy and masterclasses to music majors at the University of Kansas.

The music of Shostakovich is also highlighted across our season. The season opener will feature the Pacifica Quartet performing Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 2 in A Major. In March, we’ll hear Alexander Melnikov perform all twenty-four of Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues, a masterful feat. And our season finale, Transfigured Nights, will end with a performance of Shostakovich’s final symphony arranged for chamber ensemble. This concert is an all-star collaboration between Pianist Inon Barnatan, Violinist Sergey Khachatryan, Cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and Percussionist Colin Currie, along with two additional percussionists. They will perform two remarkable transcriptions, Schoenberg’s Verkäkte Nacht (Transfigured Night) for piano trio and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 for the whole group.

Our Master Pianist Series features four of today’s great soloists. Richard Goode, one of our best friends, is returning to Kansas City in April, just a few weeks after Alexander Melnikov’s concert. Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson will make his Kansas City debut in November performing music by Bach and Glass. The Friends will also host a meet-and-greet coffee hour for area piano teachers and students with Mr. Ólafsson prior to his performance. And in the spring, Jonathan Biss returns to Kansas City (we recently heard him with the Brentano String Quartet in February) to perform a sampler of Beethoven’s sonatas. Prior to his performance, he will give a masterclass for piano majors at the University of Kansas.  

As summer transforms to fall, so begins the Friends of Chamber Music’s forty-third season presenting thirteen larger-than-life concerts that transcend all earthly expectations. Single tickets and subscriptions are on sale now.  Reserve your seats today by visiting our website or by calling 816-561-9999. We look forward to seeing you at the concerts!