KC’s Friends of Chamber Music announce the 2021-22 season



Hwæt! As an Anglo-Saxon bard might have said.

Listen! The Friends of Chamber Music have just announced their 2021-2022 season and this is big news indeed. With everything from Benjamin Bagby’s “Beowulf” to an abundance of Beethoven, it’s a welcome return from a pandemic-induced absence from on-site live concerts.

The season will include some of the best pianists of our time, such as the powerhouse Vladimir Feltsman, who plays Mussorgsky’s complete “Pictures at an Exhibition”, and Sergei Babayan, who plays Robert Schumann’s “Kreisleriana”.

“Revolutionary Icons” celebrates musical rebels as diverse as Beethoven and Miles Davis. Speaking of Beethoven: There is a two-day Beethoven Festival with all of the composer’s piano trios as well as panel discussions with Beethoven experts.

Benjamin Bagby - Photo by Susanna Drescher.jpg
The next season of the Friends of Chamber Music begins with Benjamin Bagby’s “Beowulf”. Susanna Drescher

The old English epic “Beowulf” will start on October 29th. You will feel like you are in an old, torch-lit mead hall when the early musicologist Benjamin Bagby sings the story of monsters and heroes and accompanies himself on a six-string harp.

“We are very excited to host it at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral because it will be a great setting for this presentation,” said Leia Barrett, the group’s executive director.

Barrett will serve as executive director until the Friends find a permanent replacement for the show’s founder, Cynthia Siebert, who stepped down earlier this year.

A key element of Siebert’s legacy of quality programming is the Master Pianist range. Next season, alongside Feltsman and Babayan, Garrick Ohlsson, known for his muscular interpretations, will perform the music of Beethoven, Chopin and Prokofiev.

Rafal Blechacz_Photo by Andrzej Rybcznski.jpg
Rafał Blechacz will perform at the Folly Theater on April 10th. Andrzej Rybcznski

Ohlsson was the first American to win the Chopin International Music Competition in 1970. In 2005 Rafał Blechacz won the prestigious competition. Blechacz will be giving a recital at the Folly on April 10th.

“RafaÅ‚ won this big competition but decided to go back to school to complete his PhD. specifically so that he has a deep understanding of the repertoire and is able to deliver insightful performances, ”said Barrett. “His talent and musicality are second to none, but he’s only just beginning his career, even if most people would say that by winning the Chopin Competition you already have an impressive résumé.”

On January 14th, The Friends will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Brentano Quartet with a special performance. The Brentano was the first quartet to win the Cleveland Quartet Award, which the Friends of Chamber Music helped finance 30 years ago.

The Brentano Quartet is Misha Amory, viola; Serena Canin, violin; Nina Lee, cello; and Mark Steinberg, violin. Jürgen Frank

“Almost every quartet that has won the award since then has had outstanding careers,” said Barrett. “I felt that this was a special anniversary and we wanted to honor that.”

At the Beethovenfest on March 5th and 6th, the Morgenstern Trio will play all of Beethoven’s piano trios. There will also be two panel discussions with musicologists from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

“These aren’t just music professors,” Barrett said. “We also have professors who talk about Beethoven’s influence on German theater, the visual arts and German history.”

Ensemble Correspondances under the direction of the harpsichordist and organist Sébastien Daucé is one of the most renowned early music ensembles in Europe. They make their debut in Kansas City on May 15th with a program called “The Eternal City”. The concert celebrates Molière’s 400th birthday with music written by the baroque composer Charpentier for pieces by Molière.

On May 6, cellist Eckart Runge and pianist Jacque Ammon go wild with “Revolutionary Icons”. The concert presents Beethoven’s music side by side with works by Paul McCartney, Astor Piazzolla and Chick Corea and contrasts musical rebellion as it is expressed in different genres.

“Eckhart was the founding cellist of the Artemis Quartet, and he really is an amazing person,” said Barrett. “He and Jacque will be doing a week long residency and we are planning several master classes in unique rooms. I really think that this concert will be one of the most creative on the program. “

Tickets and more information at 816-561-9999 or Chambermusic.org.

7.30 p.m. October 29: Benjamin Bagby’s “Beowulf”. Mercy and Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St.

7.30 p.m. Dec. 9: Stile Antico. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 416 W. 12th St.

7:30 p.m. January 14, 2022: Brentano Quartet. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.

7.30 p.m. January 28: Garrick Ohlsson, piano. Folly theater.

7:30 p.m. February 11: Vladimir Feltsman, piano. Folly theater.

2.30 p.m. 02/20: Goldmund Quartet. Folly theater.

2 and 8 p.m. March 5 and 2 p.m. March 6: Beethovenfest, Morgenstern Trio. Panel discussions at 4:30 p.m. March 5 and 12:30 p.m. March 6, 1900 Building, 1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Mission Woods.

7.30 p.m. March 18: Sergei Babayan, piano. Folly theater.

2.30 p.m. April 10: Rafał Blechacz. Folly theater.

7 pm May 6: “Revolutionary Icons” with Eckart Runge and Jacque Ammon. Yardley Hall, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park.

3:30 p.m. May 15: Ensemble correspondence. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

You can reach Patrick Neas at [email protected] and follow his Facebook page, KC Arts Beat, at www.facebook.com/kcartsbeat.

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