Kansas CIty Connection: Fall chock-full of colorful events
Arts aficionados in Kansas City have long believed their humble metropolis to be a quietly compelling capital of world-class culture.
A look through the upcoming calendars of the city’s top museums, stages, galleries and performance halls shows this belief is by no means unfounded. Here are some of the season’s highlights.
Pianists at the Folly
Several piano virtuosos are visiting the Folly Theater this fall, starting with French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie, who will perform works by Mozart, Beethoven and Scriabin on Sept. 26. “Summoning reserves of sheer power, (Lortie) made the walls shake,” wrote Ivan Hewett of The Guardian earlier this year. Sounds like someone worth seeing.
On Oct. 16 at the Folly, Hungarian pianist and conductor Sir András Schiff will perform works by Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart. A pre-concert lecture will be delivered by William Everett of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Tickets for both performances are available at follytheater.org.
The next day at the Folly, the Harriman-Jewell Series presents American pianist Brian Zeger as part of the Metropolitan Opera Rising Star Concert Series. Zeger will introduce several of the Met’s best young voices while providing accompaniment. Purchase tickets online at hjseries.org.
Plaza Art Fair and WaterFire
As far as arts events in Kansas City go, it doesn’t get any bigger than the Plaza Art Fair from Sept. 25-27.
Hundreds of artists and craftspeople from around the country will occupy booths, with live music stages, food and drink vendors and crowds of pedestrians filling the streets normally covered with car traffic. Visit countryclubplaza.com for more information as the date approaches.
On Oct. 3, WaterFire Kansas City returns to the Country Club Plaza for a ninth year.
The event will feature live music and a fire display along Brush Creek from 7-10 p.m., with a rain date the following evening at the same time. Find more info at waterfirekc.com.
Strawberry Swing Fall Pop-Up
It’s not as expansive or high-profile as the Plaza Art Fair, but the Strawberry Swing fall event is guaranteed to include much more affordable arts and crafts from dozens of young, local artisans.
The Fall Swing Pop-Up will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at Woodyard Bar-B-Que at 3001 Merriam Lane, which serves delicious smoked meats in a setting that feels more like a country roadhouse than an urban eatery.
Visit thestrawberryswing.org for more information or to apply to be a vendor.
The Owen/Cox Dance Group is presenting two exciting performances this fall, including “New Dance Partners” Sept. 25 and 26 at Yardley Hall and “What Keeps Mankind Alive” from Oct. 23-25 at the Musical Theater Heritage at Crown Center.
“New Dance Partners” features three world premieres commissioned by the Johnson County Community College Performing Arts Series, while “What Keeps Mankind Alive” explores the darkly comic world of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, as well as a piece inspired by Argentine tango. Find more info at owencoxdance.org.
From Oct. 9-18, The Kansas City Ballet will present “The Three Musketeers” at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Based on the 1844 story by Alexander Dumas and featuring a score by Giuseppe Verdi, this is the first time “The Three Musketeers” ballet will be performed in the Kansas City area. Tickets are $29 and up at kcballet.org.
World culture at Yardley Hall
This fall on the JCCC Campus, Yardley Hall will be a passport to the music and dance of several different cultures, beginning with The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 9.
On Oct. 23, the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India present “The Spirit of India,” featuring 17 different musicians playing traditional Indian instruments to present both modern and traditional sounds of India.
A full schedule of events in the series is online at jccc.edu/performing-arts-series.
“Festa Italiana” at the Kansas City Symphony
From Oct. 23-25 at Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, conductor Michael Stern, The Kansas City Symphony and the 160-voice symphony chorus will perform no less than a dozen excerpts from famous Italian operas by Puccini, Verdi, Rossini and others.
Tickets start at $23 for this event, and a full list of the concerts in the 2015-2016 Symphony series is online at kcsymphony.org.
Plenty of excellent visual art exhibitions will be on display over the next few months at Kansas City’s leading galleries and museums.
Perhaps the most notable art exhibit opening this fall is “American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton in Hollywood” at the Nelson-Atkins, the first major exhibit of his paintings in 25 years (Oct. 10 through Jan. 3, 2016).
Other highlights include “The Center Is A Moving Target: If You Lived (T)here” at Kemper in the Crossroads (now through Dec. 31), and a series of exhibits at Haw Contemporary featuring photographs by Mike Sinclair, portraits by Samara Umbral, aerial river paintings by Lisa Grossman and large-scale charcoal drawings by Lawrence-based artist Hong Chun Zhang (Sept. 18 through Oct. 30)
— Lucas Wetzel is a writer and editor from Kansas City, Mo. Know of an upcoming event in Kansas City you’d like to see featured in Kansas City Connection? Email us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.