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Johnson County Community College - Series | Performing Arts Ticketing

2022-2023 MTC Season Event Descriptions

Chris Botti
7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 24
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.

For over two decades, Grammy Award-winning master trumpeter and composer Chris Botti has amassed a spectacular variety of honors, including multiple Gold and Platinum albums, to become the largest selling instrumental artist in the United States.

There’s nothing like a Chris Botti concert. He’s the complete package: a dazzling trumpeter at home in everything from jazz to pop to rock, a brilliant bandleader who lets his players shine, and a born showman whose joy at being onstage is infectious. See him live and you’ll understand why some of the world’s biggest musical stars have been eager to share his stage.

His mesmerizing performances with a stunning array of legends such as Sting, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Yo-Yo Ma, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Andrea Bocelli have cemented his place as one of the most brilliant and inspiring forces of the contemporary music scene. Whether he’s performing with illustrious symphonies or at renowned venues around the globe, his unparalleled crystalline and poetic sound transcends musical boundaries.

Since the release of his 2004 critically acclaimed CD When I Fall In Love, Botti has become the largest-selling American instrumental artist. His success has crossed over to audiences usually reserved for pop music and his ongoing association with PBS has led to four #1 jazz albums, as well as multiple Gold, Platinum and Grammy Awards. His latest album, Impressions, won the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental. Performing worldwide and selling more than four million albums, he has found a form of creative expression that begins in jazz and expands beyond the limits of any single genre.

Impressions, Botti's 2012 Columbia Records and Grammy winning release, is the latest in a stellar parade of albums – including When I Fall In Love (2004), To Love Again: The Duets (2005), Italia (2007) and the CD/DVD Chris Botti in Boston (2009) – that has firmly established him as a clarion voice in the American contemporary music scene.


New Dance Partners
The Ultimate Collaboration

8 p.m., Friday, Sep. 16, and Saturday, Sep. 17
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.

For the ninth festival of contemporary and modern dance, the Midwest Trust Center brings four choreographers to create original works for four local dance companies to perform at the world premieres. Each new work will then be owned by the dance company for two years for use in their own programs.

This year’s collaborative partners are:

The Kansas City Ballet, working with Stephanie Martinez
Over 11 years of award-winning works, Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez moves her audiences along a journey guided by the kinetic momentum of her work. With original creations for Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Charlotte Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Kansas City Ballet and National Choreographers Initiative among others, Martinez’s versatility expands the boundaries of contemporary ballet movement. Martinez has created over 60 ballets for companies and collegiate programs across the country.

In 2010, Martinez assisted Broadway legend Ann Reinking in setting “Fosse Trilogy,” and in 2015, was awarded Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Works: Choreographers of Color commission and the Chicago 3Arts Award in recognition for her work as a female artist of color. More recently, Martinez was awarded an NEA grant for her premiere, “Bliss!” at Joffrey Ballet. Dubbed “a chameleon of choreography” by the Chicago Tribune, Martinez’s psychologically revelatory works challenge the viewer’s notion of what’s possible. Martinez was also lauded as the subject of “Fearlessly Inspired, 2020” and acknowledged as a “shining example of resilience, adaptability and artistry in an extraordinary year.”

Owen/Cox Dance Group, working with Bryan Arias
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Arias studied dance in New York City. He was a performer with the Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT) and Crystal Pite’s company, Kidd Pivot. As a choreographer, Arias has created original works for companies such as The Paul Taylor Company, The Gibney Company, Netherlands Dance Theater, Zurich Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, Bern Ballet, Ballet Theater Basel, Tanz Lucerne Theater, Hessisches Staatsballet and Nuremberg Ballet.

Arias is the recipient of the 2017 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award, the 2019 Jacobs Pillow Fellowship Award and the 2020 prestigious German Der Faust Award in choreography. In 2020, he co-founded Company Snorkel Rabbit, a multidisciplinary company based in Basel, Switzerland, and currently the resident company of Opera de Massy (France).

Störling Dance Theatre, working with Victoria Marks
Marks is an Alpert Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim and Rauschenberg Fellow and Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, who has been making dances for stage and film for the past 40 years. She is a professor in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and serves as Chair of UCLA’s Disability Studies minor. Her projects migrate between “choreo-portraits” for individuals and groups, and dances for and with dancers that fuel her inquiries into movement.

Currently, her projects include the Dancing Disability Lab at UCLA, a gathering of dance artists who together challenge “ability paradigms” and recently, “Ten Questions: If not now, when?” a course and public event that brings together three outstanding members of UCLA’s community from the arts, humanities and sciences to address questions crucial to this contemporary moment. Some of the most recent questions include: How do we remember? How do we heal? How do we love?

Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, working with Charissa Barton
Barton is a multifaceted creative with more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry. A choreographer, director, educator and producer, Barton has collaborated with Robert Battle, David Parsons, James Gunn, Julie Taymor, Howard Schatz, Alan Tudyk and Katy Perry, among others.
Her stage choreography was recently featured on the Pritzker Pavilion stage in Chicago and Ailey Theater in New York. She is co-founder of Axis Connect, a creative platform for world-class dance artists. Her choreography for screen appears on HBOMax, Netflix and SyFy series. Barton has performed with Aszure & Artists, Benjamin Millepied & Co. and Parsons Dance Company on world-renowned stages, including the Sydney Opera House, Kennedy Center, Teatro alla Scala, Theatro Municipal and at the Spoleto Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival and Jacob's Pillow, among others.

Barton has been featured in numerous publications, including Variety, New York Times, Washington Post, Vogue Magazine, Dance Magazine and several prominent international publications. Alongside her achievements in the entertainment industry, Barton ran a humanitarian organization that brought aid to communities in need around the world. Armed with a unique creative voice, her experience, leadership skills and collaborative spirit render her invaluable across multiple disciplines. A lifelong learner, she is currently in the director program at UCLA extension.

Supported, in part, by Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission; Richard J. Stern Foundation, Commerce Bank, Trustee.


Opus 76 Quartet
Glass, Beethoven and Mendelssohn

2 p.m., Sunday Sep. 25
Polsky Theatre
Midwest Trust Center Artists-in-Residence

Program
String Quartet No. 2, “Company” by Philip Glass (1937- )
String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135 by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 44 No. 1 by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)


DEAFinitely Dope featuring Matt Maxey
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sep. 29
Polsky Theatre
Tickets start at $25.

Matthew Maxey hails from Decatur, Georgia, and currently resides in Atlanta. He was born with a severely profound hearing loss and outfitted with hearing aids at 2 years old. At an early age, it became apparent his life would be anything but ordinary. Fast forward as Maxey attended the prestigious Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where he learned sign language to balance the struggle of developing his identity as a double minority in terms of ability and race.

In 2014, DEAFinitely Dope was founded to provide support to those who felt marginalized and ignored by mainstream America. DEAFinitely Dope started as a brand and slowly blossomed into a movement, attracting educational institutions, CNN, ESPN The Undefeated, GQ, Cole Haan, ABC news, Chance The Rapper, MTV Video Music Awards and countless more.



Verona Quartet

8 p.m., Friday, Sep. 30
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.
Pre-show dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Pre-show talk with Paul Laird at 7 p.m. in MTC 211.
A partnership with the Friends of Chamber Music – Kansas City.

Acclaimed for its “bold interpretive strength, robust characterization and commanding resonance” (Calgary Herald), the Verona Quartet has firmly established itself amongst the most distinguished ensembles on the chamber music scene today.

Performers
Jonathan Ong, violin
Dorothy Ro, violin
Abigail Rojansky, viola
Jonathan Dormand, cello

Program (subject to change)
Beethoven String Quartet No. 1, Op. 18, No. 1
Ligeti String Quartet No. 1
Dvořák String Quartet No. 13 in G Major, Op. 106



Winterlude – Vine Street Rumble

7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 2
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.

Kansas City’s Vine Street Rumble Jazz Orchestra, directed by Kent Rausch, was formed to honor the legacy of the “golden era” of Kansas City’s world-renowned jazz history.

The band exclusively performs the same outrageously exciting music that made Kansas City the place to be in the 30s and 40s, dedicated to taking the audience back to the wildly famous “jam sessions” and concert performances that literally changed the jazz world and influenced musicians from coast to coast and beyond.

The band personnel are Kansas City’s “top call” musicians who love to faithfully recreate the KC jazz scene, most of whom have performed across the United States and around the world. Accurately performing the hot swing music of Count Basie, Jay McShann, Andy Kirk and the 12 Clouds of Joy, Harlan Leonard and His Rockets, Mary Lou Williams, Joe Turner and the world-famous boogie woogie piano master Pete Johnson and others, Kansas City’s Vine Street Rumble takes audience members “Back in time, to 18th and Vine!” For more information visit www.vinestreetrumble.com



Disney’s Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation

School shows: 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14
Public shows: 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.


Disney's iconic Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl (oh… and don't forget Tigger too!) come to life in this beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation.

Inspired by the beloved books by A. A. Milne and the classic Disney featurettes, “Disney's Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation” garnered rave reviews when it opened in New York in October 2021.

Featuring the Sherman Brothers' classic Grammy Award-winning music with further songs by A.A. Milne, this beautiful fresh stage adaptation is told with stunning life-sized puppetry through the eyes of the characters we all know and love, in a new story from the Hundred Acre Wood.

This production is created by renowned family entertainment creator Jonathan Rockefeller and created by Rockefeller Productions alongside Disney Theatrical Productions. Following a record-breaking premiere in 2021, the Hundred Acre Wood is heading across the U.S. in 2022!



Soweto Gospel Choir
Hope

7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 16
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.


Winner of the 2019 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album, the world’s most critically acclaimed choir brings its Hope concert to North America and Canada for the first time.
In its concert of Hope, commemorating and remembering South Africa’s Freedom Movement and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., three-time Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir brings joy and inspiration to all of us.
An unforgettable night starts with some of the South African freedom songs that inspired its Rainbow Nation, then moves to the United States with beautiful and heartfelt renditions of the music of the Civil Rights movement, featuring works by legendary artists Billy Holiday, James Brown, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield and the one and only, Aretha Franklin.
Hailing from Soweto (South West Township), a town outside of Johannesburg and the home of Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s democratic movement, Soweto Gospel Choir continues to inspire audiences with its powerful blend of African gospel, freedom songs and international classics.
Comprising a lineup of some of South Africa’s best vocalists, these uplifting performers have shared the stage and collaborated with the biggest names in contemporary music: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, U2, Diana Ross, Peter Gabriel, Chris Martin, John Legend, Pharrell Williams, Jimmy Cliff, Ben Harper, Angelique Kidjo, Robert Plant, Celine Dion, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hugh Masekela and Josh Groban.
Soweto Gospel Choir was formed in 2003 at the end of the apartheid era and during South Africa’s inspiring return to democracy. Taking part in some of the major historical events in the new democratic South Africa, Soweto Gospel Choir is proud to have performed on many occasions for the Father of their Nation, former President Nelson Mandela, and sadly, at his state funeral in South Africa and subsequent commemorative service at Westminster Abbey in London.

The choir was similarly invited to perform at the funeral of the late President’s first wife, Winnie Mandela. The Choir’s patron is human rights activist and Noble Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The choir is proud to act as ambassadors for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.



KC Jazz Orchestra/Hanover Big Band (Germany)

8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.

Celebrate the reunion of Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and Hanover Big Band with their return to Kansas City for another joyful collaboration.

Founded in 2003, Kansas City Jazz Orchestra (KCJO) is one of the nation’s preeminent big bands, performing classic and original repertoire in a variety of settings. KCJO puts forth engaging themed shows ranging from Duke Ellington’s early works to brand-new reimaginations of pop music that celebrate the past and embrace the future.

The orchestra was modeled after the Columbus (Ohio) Jazz Orchestra which, at the time, had been performing for more than 30 years. KCJO performs regularly at well-known Kansas City venues and participates in festivals, educational programs and USO-style dance events across the region.

In 2013, Clint Ashlock was named artistic director and conductor. He holds master’s degrees in jazz and music composition and is pursuing a doctorate in trumpet performance at the University of Kansas. KCJO supports music education and student scholarships and frequently hosts master classes conducted by their outstanding visiting artists.

The Hanover Big Band incorporates all styles of big band jazz. Their joy in playing always reaches the hearts and legs of their audience. The soloistic freedom of the arrangements showcases the charisma and excellence of their musicians. Their repertoire includes original arrangements by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Woody Herman, as well as contemporary compositions and arrangements.



An Evening with Jon, Jon and Efren
Napoleon Dynamite – Film Screening and Conversation

Moderated by Lonita Cook, Film Critic at KCTV 5
8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.
VIP meet-and-greet ticket upgrade.

“Nunchuck skills… bowhunting skills… computer hacking skills… Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!”

Join us for a much-quoted movie and freewheeling discussion with Jon Heder, Jon Gries and Efren Ramirez, three fan favorites from the film.

The evening promises to be a hilarious celebration of the amazing comedy classic that made Napoleon Dynamite, LaFawnduh and Pedro household names. Jon Heder (Napoleon), Efren Ramirez (Pedro) and Jon Gries (Uncle Rico) have plenty of behind-the-scenes scoop on the film we all love. As the conversation goes from silly to super funny, one thing’s for sure – audiences get their money’s worth.

The indie comedy created by Brigham Young University students Jared and Jerusha Hess tells the story of an awkward teen living in Idaho. Produced for just $400,000 in 2004, the film has earned more than $44 million. The movie has received three MTV Movie Awards and was named 14th on Bravo's list of “100 Funniest Movies.”

This is a must-see event: a fan-favorite film screening, audience Q&A and moderated discussion by Lonita Cook, film critic at KCTV 5. “Napoleon” might even do his famous dance moves.

About the moderator
Lonita Cook is a major film lover who adores the films of her 1980s and 90s girlhood. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), a voting member of the Black Reel Awards, member of Alliance of Women Film Journalists, as well as board member at Kansas City Film Critics Circle. She contributes to KCTV5 (CBS), KS Women’s Lifestyle Magazine, awfj.org, Everyday Portland and blackbeebuzz.com. She also cohosts “flix + mix,” an internet-based show festivising food, film and friendship.

As a filmmaker and artist supporter, Cook is the East Central KS Field Rep for Kansas Department of Commerce Creative Arts Industries Commission, Board President of the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Museum Foundation, and she’s volunteered at festivals around the world, including 13 years at Sundance Film Festival.



The Four Freshmen

8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.

Singing with a harmony uniquely their own, The Four Freshmen have enamored listeners world-wide for years, while gaining recognition as one of the most influential vocal groups of all time.
It all started in 1948, when four college freshmen crafted a unique style of vocal harmony that soon caught the ear of the great bandleader, Stan Kenton. Kenton was responsible for bringing The Four Freshmen to Capitol Records, where they would eventually record 23 albums, thrusting them into the national spotlight.
They have recorded more than 75 albums and 70 top-selling singles and received six Grammy nominations. The four have toured constantly since their inception, performing to sold-out audiences around the globe. The integrity of the sound created by the original four has been meticulously maintained. Today’s group members are Bob Ferreira, Tommy Boynton, Ryan Howe and Jake Baldwin.
While paying tribute to such classic Freshmen favorites as “Day by Day” and “Blue World,” the current group also brings new arrangements to their live shows and recordings. In concert, The Four Freshmen shine in brand-new arrangements of “Come Fly with Me” and “I Ain’t Got Nobody.” Within their show, audiences enjoy the body swaying “Summer Samba” and toe-tapping “Route 66.”
Today the quartet features the musical stylings of Bob Ferreira, Tommy Boynton, Ryan Howe and Jake Baldwin.
For this performance, The Four Freshmen will be joined by the JCCC Jazz Band, directed by Ryan Heinlein, as the opening act.



Piff the Magic Dragon and Puddles Pity Party
The Misery Loves Company tour

7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.
VIP meet-and-greet ticket upgrade.
Recommended for ages 12 and up.

These satin-adorned down-and-outers have been pals since meeting ages ago at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Now, they’re world-famous and traveling the world. Not bad for two “losers” from “America’s Got Talent.”

Piff the Magic Dragon, accompanied by his sidekick, Mr. Piffles, the world’s only magic performing chihuahua, has won several Best of Las Vegas awards for his long-running show at the iconic Flamingo Hotel & Casino. He was a viral sensation on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and voted one of Variety’s Top Ten Comics to watch. In 2020, Piff triumphed over his heroes, Jeff Ross, Natasha Leggero and Judah Friedlander when he was crowned winner of TBS’ “Tournament of Laughs.”

Puddles Pity Party, the sad, giant clown with the golden voice, has amassed more than 813,000 YouTube subscribers and performed sold-out shows across the globe, including at The Kennedy Center, San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, London’s Soho Theatre and a residency at Caesars Palace. Deftly combining melancholy with the absurd, Puddles has become a favorite of musical comedy legends like Eric Idle, Jack Black, Paul Reubens and Weird Al. He has even won the approval of his long-standing man-crush and modern-day Renaissance Man, Kevin Costner.

When these two lonesome losers were offered the chance to play a double bill, they agreed it was a pretty good idea, and thus was born “The Piff and Puddles Misery Loves Company” tour.



Legally Blonde - The Musical

4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12
Yardley Hall
Pre-show talk with Paul Laird at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in MTC 211.


The story follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, sexism, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams, and proves that you can be legally blonde and STILL the smartest person in the room. This contemporary, sassy musical moves at a breakneck pace, driven by memorable songs and explosive dances. “Legally Blonde - The Musical” warms the heart by proving that self-discovery can be way too much fun and hilarious to boot.

Elle Woods appears to have it all. Her life is turned upside down, however, when her boyfriend dumps her so he can start getting more serious about his life and attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle uses her ingenuity and charm to get into Harvard too. School begins with endless struggles, but with the help of her new friends, Elle quickly realizes her potential, and her true assets, as she sets out to prove herself to the world and make everyone a believer.



An Evening with Nigella Lawson

Moderated by Jenny Vergara, food critic and co-host of “Hungry for MO.”
8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19
Yardley Hall
Pre-show dinner option at 6:30 p.m.

Marvel in this conversation and Q & A with Nigella Lawson as she recounts the people, food and recipes that have shaped her unique career and life.

Nigella Lawson is an internationally renowned food writer and TV cook whose successful television programs have made her a household name around the world. Her career began with her reading of Medieval and Modern Languages at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She went on to become Deputy Literary Editor of The Sunday Times at the age of 26, followed by a successful career as a critic and op-ed columnist, writing for a range of newspapers, including The Times and The Guardian.

In 1998, she published her first cookbook, “How to Eat, The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food.” She now has 12 bestselling books to her name, including her latest, “Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes and Stories.” Her books have sold over 12 million copies worldwide.

Her first TV series, “Nigella Bites,” aired in 2000, followed by a string of successful series broadcast in the U.K., U.S., Australia and beyond. Lawson was a judge on the three seasons of “The Taste,” which broadcast in the U.K. and U.S. in 2013 and 2014. She has made several appearances on “MasterChef Australia.”

Lawson was voted author of the year at the 2001 British Book Awards (Nibbies) and Best Food Personality in 2014 at the Observer Food Monthly Awards. She lives in London.

She is also the co-host for “Hungry for MO,” a podcast about the history of the foods from the state of Missouri, produced by Kansas City’s NPR affiliate, KCUR 89.3 FM Studios, with help from the Missouri Humanities Council.


tenThing Brass Ensemble
8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.

Explore musical traditions of the Christmas season while traveling across the old continent.
Starting at the beautiful fjords of Norway, travel through 18th century Germany, warm Italian Christmas and evergreen England to the sounds of Ukrainian folk and Czech fairy-tale. And there would be no holiday without some of the most celebrated American tunes and Disney songs featured in fantastic new arrangements.
Formed in 2007 by Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth as a fun and exciting collaboration between musical friends, the 10-piece, all-female brass ensemble has firmly established itself on the international scene to great acclaim. tenThing is celebrated for its commitment to outreach and access to music through a diverse repertoire that spans Mozart to Weill, Grieg to Bernstein and Lully to Bartok. The group works closely with Norwegian guitarist and arranger Jarle Storløkken on scores, which enables them to play pieces using a variety of instrumentations.
tenThing first established itself in performances across its native Norway, delighting a huge national audience by opening the 2011 Norwegian Grammy Awards. Soon after, the group came to international prominence at the BBC Proms in a performance at London’s Cadogan Hall. Elsewhere in Europe, they have performed at a wide range of prestigious festivals and concert halls, including the Schleswig-Holstein, Beethoven Bonn, Gstaad, MDR Musiksommer, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheingau, Bodensee, Engadin, Merano, Thüringer Bachwochen and Bremen festivals in Central Europe, the Merano and Sienna festivals in Italy, the NCPA Beijing May Festival and Moscow’s House of Music.
In Spring 2017, the ensemble embarked on its American debut tour, which included concerts in New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and at the renowned Wolftrap Festival. tenThing also made its Paris debut at the St Denis Festival in May 2017. Following international success, the ensembled returned to the U.S. in 2019 and again, on this third visit, performing holiday-themed songs from Europe and the U.S. Next up: tenThing will be back on tour in Germany, Asia and across Europe.



Winterlude – Doug Talley Quartet

7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 4
Polsky Theatre
Tickets start at $25.

The Doug Talley Quartet expands the parameters of jazz with colorful harmonies and strong rhythms.

Formed in 1995, the quartet has performed at numerous festivals, concerts, clubs and schools throughout the Midwest.

Doug Talley has performed with jazz luminaries Jay McShann, Clark Terry, Bob Mintzer, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Bobby Watson, Karrin Allyson, Byron Stripling, Ignacio Berroa, Randy Brecker, Scott Robinson and Gary Foster. Talley has appeared at the 18th & Vine Festival, Kansas Jazz and Blues Festival, Kansas City Spirit Festival, Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival, Mayport Jazz Festival and in Las Vegas with The Four Freshman, The Platters and The Diamonds.


Winterlude – Bobby Watson Quartet
7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 15
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.

For more than three decades, Watson has contributed consistently intelligent, sensitive and well-thought-out music to the modern-day jazz lexicon.

A saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, Bobby Watson grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and trained formally at the University of Miami. He earned his “doctorate” – on the bandstand – as musical director of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, which showcased a rotating cast of players, many of whom would go on to have substantial careers as bandleaders.


Oran Etkin
Open Arms

7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 22
Polsky Theatre
Tickets start at $25.

Etkin's unique sound on the clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone come from an openness to deep musical connections that transcend cultural and generational boundaries.

Oran Etkin, described as “ebullient” by the New York Times, was voted #1 Rising Star Clarinetist in DownBeat Magazine's 2016 Critics Poll. He has been invited several times to be a guest lecturer at Harvard University. Etkin's music can be heard on concert stages worldwide and numerous recordings, including a Grammy Award Winning anti-bullying compilation album.

Etkin reimagined how touring could become part of the creative process with his Gathering Light project. Flipping the traditional record-then-tour model, he first toured in Indonesia, China, Japan, Israel and West Africa and then let the rhythms and melodies he encountered influence the music he created with his New York-based band of Nasheet Waits, Ben Allison, Lionel Loueke and Curtis Folks.


Opus 76 Quartet Amadeus (recital and film)
2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 29
Polsky Theatre
Midwest Trust Center Artists-In-Residence

Program
String Quartet No. 22 in B-flat major, K. 589
Film screening of “Amadeus”

The quartet’s residency, which began as digital artists-in-residence in 2021, saw the group embark on a number of critically acclaimed recording projects in partnership with MTC as part of its innovative digital concert series, “Eat, Drink & Play!”

Adding to its previous recordings of “The Complete Works for String Quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven,” (broadcast live on Kansas Public Radio (KPR) in 2020), Opus 76 recorded Mendelssohn’s Op. 44 No. 1, Schubert’s Quintet in C, Brahms’s F minor Piano Quintet, Mozart’s Quintet No. 3 in C Major, Bartok’s Quartet No. 1 and Mozart’s The Six Quartets Dedicated to Haydn, a project also supported by KPR.

In addition to a national touring schedule, as part of its residency, the Quartet runs The Sunrise Programme, which provides a year of free lessons and performance opportunities to selected students in the Kansas City metro area.


The Small Glories
7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 5
Polsky Theatre


Thrown together purely by accident for an anniversary show at Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre, The Small Glories could almost make you believe in fate.

Roots powerhouse duo The Small Glories – Cara Luft and J.D. Edwards – are a musical tour-de-force partnership planted on the Canadian prairies. With a stage banter striking a unique balance between slapstick and sermon, these veteran singer-songwriters have a way of making time disappear, rooms shrink and audiences feel as if they are onstage with the band writing, living and performing the songs.

Folk singers by nature, the duo writes what people can relate to. Luft, an original member of harmony sweethearts The Wailin' Jennys and whose parents were folk singers influenced by the great activist Pete Seeger, knows sometimes a song is all you need to bring people together.

The Small Glories duplicate and reinforce each other's many strengths and yet allow their distinct personalities to shine through, resulting in a live show that’s as heartwarming as it is hilarious, as finger-picking proficient as it is relatable and as Canadian as, well… it’s very Canadian. But that hasn’t stopped them from winning over audiences from Nashville to the Australian outback. Their highly anticipated sophomore album, Assiniboine & the Red, was released the summer of 2019 on Compass/Red House Records.

The Small Glories concert is welcoming in its subject, folk-pop melody and instrumentation. Songs of love, loss and environment are delivered with soaring, interwoven vocals on various combinations of stomping clawhammer banjo, guitar and harmonica. However, the performance is really about what happens in-between the songs. “The feedback we get is that it’s not just about the music, it’s the whole package,” Luft says.
The Small Glories takes the musical synergy honed from hundreds of shows together and expands it into a new soundscape amplified by pounding drums and other textural embellishments. These only reinforce the magic of Luft and Edwards’ innate chemistry labeled the “Lennon-McCartney syndrome” by Americana UK.
The band’s debut album, 2016’s Wondrous Traveler, was also praised in Pitchfork by legendary American rock critic Greil Marcus: “…in moments (The Small Glories) find the darkening chord change the best bluegrass — from the Stanley Brothers to Be Good Tanyas — has always hidden in the sweet slide of the rhythm, the tiny shift where the person telling the story suddenly understands it.”



L.A. Theatre Works
Lucy Loves Desi: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom

8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11
2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12
Polsky Theatre

Lucille Ball paved the way for many of today’s top comediennes, while forcing Hollywood to deal with the rising power and influence of women artists. Her iconic series, “I Love Lucy,” remains one of the groundbreaking shows in television history.

Playwright Gregg Oppenheimer, son of “I Love Lucy” creator Jess Oppenheimer, spins this fast-paced, witty tale of Lucy and Desi’s battles with CBS over the pioneering ideas that changed the face of television forever.

For one, Lucy insisted Desi Arnaz, her Cuban-born bandleader husband, be her TV co-star instead of the “All-American” leading man preferred by the network. Additionally, the couple wanted the show filmed in Hollywood, where they planned to raise a family, not broadcast live from New York like other major TV programs of the time. They demanded and won the right to own the show themselves. Their writers incorporated Lucy’s real-life pregnancy into the program’s story line—an absolute taboo in 1950s America—resulting in the highest audience share ever recorded. And they proposed the unheard-of notion of airing “reruns” on the network to accommodate Lucy’s mid-season maternity leave—an experiment that ultimately turned the entire TV industry’s business model on its head.

“Lucy Loves Desi: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom” tells all of these stories and more, with as much heart and humor as an episode of “I Love Lucy” itself. This crowd-pleasing show, written for L.A. Theatre Works, played to sold-out houses during its world premiere run at the James Bridges Theater in Los Angeles in 2018.

Gregg Oppenheimer, who co-authored his father’s memoir, “Laughs, Luck...and Lucy,” and produced the award-winning “I Love Lucy” DVD series, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on this classic sitcom. He received valuable input on this project from Lucy and Desi’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, who served as technical advisor.

Under the leadership of Producing Director Susan Albert Loewenberg, L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) has been the foremost radio theater company in the United States for four decades. L.A. Theatre Works is broadcast weekly in America on public radio stations, daily in China on the Radio Beijing Network, streamed online at www.latw.org and aired internationally on the BBC, CBC and many other English language networks.

LATW has single-handedly brought the finest recorded dramatic literature into the homes of millions. On the road, LATW has delighted audiences with its unique live radio theater style performances in over 300 small towns and major cities, including New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Chicago, Beijing and Shanghai. An L.A. Theatre Works performance is immediate, spontaneous and features a first-rate cast, live sound effects and a connection to the audience rarely felt in a traditional theater setting.


Voices of Mississippi
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11
Yardley Hall

“Voices of Mississippi” is a new multimedia event that celebrates the music, art and storytelling traditions of the people of Mississippi.

Based on the 2019 double-Grammy Award–winning “Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris,” the program features live musical performances integrated with film, audio recordings and rare photographs by folklorist William “Bill” Ferris, who will serve as host for the evening.

The show features musicians Ruthie Foster, Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, Sharde Thomas and Chris Mallory, all of whom have deep ties to Mississippi and artists documented by Ferris.

A historian with a proud egalitarian lens, Ferris studied Mississippi as a slice of humanity in which everyone and everything was interconnected—and in which the beating heart of broader cultural traditions could be found in some of the most overlooked figures and places. From the 1960s through the 1990s, Ferris captured an invaluable archive of cultural and musical treasures, and much of that art and humanity will be shared in this unique concert experience.

With a broad array of photos, film clips, stories and live music, Voices of Mississippi paints a powerful picture of a unique time and place that remains an essential piece of the American cultural fabric.



Emerson Quartet Farewell Tour
and David Finckel, cello

8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18
Yardley Hall
A partnership with the Friends of Chamber Music – Kansas City.
Pre-show dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Pre-show talk at 7 p.m. in MTC 211.

The Emerson String Quartet has maintained its status as one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles for more than four decades.

Performers
Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer – violins
Lawrence Dutton – viola
Paul Watkins – cello

Program (subject to change)
Beethoven String Quartet Op. 127
Schubert String Quartet in C Major, D. 956

“With musicians like this,” wrote a reviewer for The Times (London), “there must be some hope for humanity.” The Quartet has made more than 30 acclaimed recordings and has been honored with nine GRAMMYs (including two for Best Classical Album), three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” award.

The Quartet collaborates with some of today’s most esteemed composers to premiere new works, keeping the string quartet form alive and relevant. The group has partnered in performance with such stellar soloists as Renée Fleming, Barbara Hannigan, Evgeny Kissin, Emanuel Ax, and Yefim Bronfman, to name a few.
During the 2021-2022 season, the Quartet performed the New York premiere of André Previn’s Penelope at Carnegie Hall, alongside soprano Renée Fleming, actress Uma Thurman and pianist Simone Dinnerstein, before reprising the program in a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to touring major American venues extensively, the Quartet returned to Chamber Music Society of Louisville, where it completed the second half of a Beethoven cycle they began in spring 2020. Finally, the Quartet embarked on a six-city tour of Europe, with stops in Athens, Madrid, Pisa, Florence, Milan and London’s Southbank Centre where it presented the Emerson in a complete Shostakovich cycle, one of the staples in its repertoire.
The Quartet’s extensive discography includes the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bartok, Webern and Shostakovich, as well as multi-CD sets of the major works of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Dvorak. In 2018, Deutsche Grammophon issued a box of the Emerson Complete Recordings on the label. In October 2020, the group released a recording of Schumann’s three string quartets for the Pentatone label. In the preceding year, the Quartet joined forces with GRAMMY-winning pianist Evgeny Kissin to release their debut collaborative album for Deutsche Grammophon, recorded live at a sold-out Carnegie Hall concert in 2018.
Formed in 1976 and based in New York City, the Emerson String Quartet was one of the first quartets to have its violinists alternate in the first chair position. The Quartet, which takes its name from the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, balances busy performing careers with a commitment to teaching and serves as Quartet-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. In 2013, cellist Paul Watkins—a distinguished soloist, award-wining conductor and devoted chamber musician—joined the original members of the Quartet to form today’s group.
In the spring of 2016, the State University of New York awarded full-time Stony Brook faculty members Philip Setzer and Lawrence Dutton the status of Distinguished Professor and conferred the title of Honorary Distinguished Professor on part-time faculty members Eugene Drucker and Paul Watkins. The Quartet’s members also hold honorary doctorates from Middlebury College, the College of Wooster, Bard College and the University of Hartford. In January of 2015, the Quartet received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, Chamber Music America’s highest honor, in recognition of its significant and lasting contribution to the chamber music field.
The Emerson String Quartet enthusiastically endorses Thomastik strings.


Winterlude – Trent Austin Quartet
7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 19
Polsky Theatre

As a trumpeting Renaissance man, Trent Austin plays jazz classics with the influences of classical and contemporary music.

Celebrated trumpet artist, educator/clinician and entrepreneur, Trent Austin is a trumpeting Renaissance Man. His brilliant performances and recordings in both the jazz and classical music worlds, as well as packed-house master classes, have garnered him rave reviews, awards and international acclaim.
A prodigy, in high school, Austin performed at the opening of Euro-Disney and was a featured performer at the 1992 Montreux Jazz Festival. He was selected first trumpet of the Maine All-State Music Festival and was awarded a full music scholarship to the University of New Hampshire to study classical trumpet. Austin’s other early career awards include being named to the prestigious Berklee Grammy High School Jazz Band in 1993 and designated lead trumpet of the 1995 Disney All-American Show Band. He was a featured soloist at the 1996 Harmony Ridge Brass Festival and at the 1997 Lake Placid Institute of the Arts Seminar.
As an in-demand pro, Austin has performed with a lengthy list of music’s who’s who: Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Joe Williams, Clark Terry, Jack Jones, Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider, Peter Erskine, Arturo Sandoval, Hal Galper, Dick Oatts, Marvin Stamm, Red Holloway, Jesse Davis, Dick Johnson, Kenny Werner and Bob Wilber. For 11 years, Austin was a featured trumpet soloist with the famed Artie Shaw Orchestra. He is currently a first-call performer in the Boston Metro and Southern New England areas.
Austin has recorded four CDs: Trumpet 101 (2001), Two-Toned (2006), Meditations for Solo Trumpet (2009) and Trumpet 102 (2012). Each of these efforts demonstrates his impeccable command of his instrument and marvelous artistic approach.
Austin has studied jazz improvisation privately with greats, Jerry Bergonzi, Kenny Werner and Chuck Findley and engaged in extensive studies with Hal Crook and Charlie Banacos. His primary classical instructors include studies with Robert Stibler of the University of New Hampshire, Benjamin Wright of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Edward Carroll, formerly musical director of the New York Trumpet Ensemble.
Fiercely dedicated to the cause and development of music and jazz education, Austin was a trumpet professor at the University of Southern Maine for nine years and regularly provides clinics and master classes nationwide at trumpet and brass conferences, including the International Trumpet Guild Conference. Austin maintains an active teaching studio providing trumpet and jazz improvisation lessons in Kansas City, Missouri, and worldwide via Skype.


DahkaBrakha
8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 24
Polsky Theatre


Reflecting fundamental elements of sound and soul, Ukrainian “ethno chaos” band DakhaBrakha creates a world of unexpected new music.
DakhaBrakha was created in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art (DAKH) by avant-garde theatre director Vladyslav Troitskyi, and given a name that means “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language. Theatre work has left its mark on the band's performances; their shows are always staged with a strong visual element.
After experimenting with Ukrainian folk music, the band has added rhythms from around the world into their music, creating the bright, unique and unforgettable sound of DakhaBrakha. The group strives to bring Ukranian melodies to the hearts and consciousness of younger generations in Ukraine and the rest of the world.
Accompanied by Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian traditional instrumentation, the quartet’s astonishingly powerful and uncompromising vocal range creates a trans-national sound rooted in Ukrainian culture. At the crossroads of Ukrainian folklore and theatre, their musical spectrum is at first intimate then riotous, plumbing the depths of contemporary roots and rhythms, inspiring cultural and artistic liberation.
In March 2010, DakhaBrakha won the prestigious Grand Prix prize named after S.Kuriokhin, in the sphere of contemporary art, and confirmed its place in the culture. In March 2011, DakhaBrakha was discovered by Australian Womadelaide and began their ascent in the international music scene. They have since played more than 300 concerts and performances and have taken part in major international festivals throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, Asia, Australia and North America. DakhaBrakha has collaborated with international musicians such as Port Mone (By), Kimmo Pohjonen Cluster (Fi), Karl Frierson (DePhazz) (Ge), Steve Cooney (IRL), Inna Zhelannaya (Ru), Kievbass (UA), Djam (UA-Iran) and David Ingibaryan (Hu).


Opus 76 Quartet Haydn and Schubert
Midwest Trust Center Artists-In-Residence
2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 26
Yardley Hall Stage
Seating is limited.

Described as a “brilliant young string quartet” by London’s Spectator and giving “certainly passionate performances” by The Kansas City Star, Opus 76 Quartet is proud to return as artists-in-residence at the Midwest Trust Center.


Program
Quartet in G major, Op. 76, No. 1 by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
String Quartet No. 13 in A minor - “Rosamunde” by Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

The quartet’s residency, which began as digital artists-in-residence in 2021, saw the group embark on a number of critically acclaimed recording projects in partnership with MTC as part of its innovative digital concert series, “Eat, Drink & Play!”

Adding to its previous recordings of “The Complete Works for String Quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven,” (broadcast live on Kansas Public Radio (KPR) in 2020), Opus 76 recorded Mendelssohn’s Op. 44 No. 1, Schubert’s Quintet in C, Brahms’s F minor Piano Quintet, Mozart’s Quintet No. 3 in C Major, Bartok’s Quartet No. 1 and Mozart’s The Six Quartets Dedicated to Haydn, a project also supported by KPR.

In addition to a national touring schedule, as part of its residency, the Quartet runs The Sunrise Programme, which provides a year of free lessons and performance opportunities to selected students in the Kansas City metro area.


Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra
8 p.m., Friday, Mar. 3
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.
Pre-show talk with Paul Laird, 7 p.m. in MTC 211.
Sponsored by Kansas Public Radio.


The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s finest chamber orchestras, renowned for fresh, brilliant interpretations of the world’s greatest orchestral music.

Program (subject to change)
Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No.3 BWV in G Major
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Cello Concerto in A Major No. 3
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Adagio and fugue in C minor K.546
Arcangelo Corelli: Concerto Grosso in F, Op. 6 No. 2
Francesco Geminiani: La Folia 12 Concerti Grossi after Corelli’s Violin Sonatas
Henry Purcell: Chacony in G minor arr. Britten

Formed by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958 from a group of leading London musicians, the Academy gave its first performance in its namesake church in November 1959. Through unrivalled live performances and a vast recording output – highlights of which include the 1969 best-seller Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film “Amadeus” – the Academy quickly gained an enviable international reputation for its distinctive, polished and refined sound. With more than 500 releases and a comprehensive international touring program, the name and sound of the Academy is known and loved by classical audiences throughout the world.

When COVID-19 sparked lockdowns across the globe, the Academy responded by establishing a digital campaign to fund the production of new performance videos. New films of Elgar and Shostakovich will be out soon, and future filming plans include recording with Music Director Joshua Bell.

In addition, the orchestra launched a new concert series at its spiritual home of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London’s Trafalgar Square. The series – the first of its kind in the orchestra’s home city for many years – has seen the Academy collaborate with international artists on concert programs devised by members of the orchestra.

Johannes Moser, cello
Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as "one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists," German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser has performed with the world’s leading orchestras, Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, BBC Philharmonic at the Proms, London Symphony, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and Tokyo NHK Symphony, and with conductors of the highest level, including Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Jurowski, Franz Welser-Möst, Christian Thielemann, Pierre Boulez, Paavo Jarvi, Semyon Bychkov, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Gustavo Dudamel.
Born into a musical family, Moser began studying the cello at the age of 8 and became a student of Professor David Geringas in 1997. He was the top prize winner at the 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition, in addition to being awarded the Special Prize for his interpretation of the Rococo Variations. In 2014, he was awarded with the prestigious Brahms prize.
Supported, in part, by Kansas Public Radio.


Brooklyn Rider
Variations on a Theme

7 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 5
Polsky Theatre


Featuring works that exemplify the long musical arc from two of Brooklyn Rider’s close musical friends, this program juxtaposes Caroline Shaw’s “Entr’acte” plus a major new work (written for Brooklyn Rider) by Osvaldo Golijov with Schubert’s transcendent masterpiece.

“…a Beethoven-goes-indie foray into making classical music accessible but also celebrating why it was good in the first place.” – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

With its gripping performance style and unquenchable appetite for musical adventure, Brooklyn Rider has carved a singular space in the world of string quartets over its 15-year history.

Program
Caroline Shaw “Entr’acte”
Osvaldo Golijov New Work (Title to be confirmed)
Franz Schubert String Quartet No.14 in D Minor, D 810 “Death and the Maiden”

Defining the string quartet as a medium with deep historic roots and endless possibility for invention, the quartet finds equal inspiration in musical languages ranging from late Beethoven to Persian classical music to American roots music to the endlessly varied voices of living composers.
Claiming no allegiance to either end of the historical spectrum, Brooklyn Rider most comfortably operates within the long arc of the tradition, seeking to illuminate works of the past with fresh insight, while coaxing the malleable genre into the future through an inclusive programming vision, deep-rooted collaborations with a wide range of global tradition bearers, and the creation of thoughtful and relevant frames for commissioning projects.
The vital and bountiful music of the late classical and early romantic eras is as significant today as it was two centuries ago, creating the possibility of a dialogue between the foundation and the contemporary expression of the string quartet tradition.
Featuring works that exemplify this long musical arc from two of Brooklyn Rider’s close musical friends, this program juxtaposes Caroline Shaw’s “Entr’acte” plus a major new work (written for Brooklyn Rider) by Osvaldo Golijov with Schubert’s transcendent masterpiece.


Danú
St. Patrick’s Celebration

8 p.m., Friday, Mar. 10
Yardley Hall
Pre-show dinner at 6:30 p.m.


A glorious mix of ancient Irish music and new repertoire leaves you feeling like you’ve visited Ireland.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Go on a musical journey to Ireland in this moving and memorable concert experience with one of the leading traditional Irish ensembles of today.

A perennial favorite of MTC audiences, Danú’s standing-room only concerts throughout Ireland feature high-energy performances and a glorious mix of ancient Irish music and new repertoire.

For more than two decades, Danú’s virtuosi players on flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, bouzouki and vocals (Irish and English), have performed around the globe and recorded seven critically acclaimed albums. Their live DVD, One Night Stand, was filmed at Vicar St. Dublin.

Winners of numerous awards from the BBC and Irish Music Magazine, Danú has toured throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America with stops at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Symphony Space in New York City and major concert engagements in the United Kingdom, India, Israel and across Europe.

Danú takes its audiences on a musical journey to their native Ireland, offering a moving and memorable concert experience. Their popular recordings are available on the Shanachie label, and live performances are often broadcast on NPR, the CBC and the BBC.



John McCutcheon

8 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 11
Polsky Theatre
A partnership with the Folk Alliance International.
Tickets start at $25.

Whether in print, on record or on stage, few people communicate with the versatility, charm, wit or pure talent of John McCutcheon.

John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folk singers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe.

“The most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard.” — Johnny Cash

From simple beginnings, John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folk singers.

As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His 30 recordings have garnered every imaginable honor, including seven Grammy nominations.

He has produced more than 20 albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works. His books and instructional materials have introduced budding players to the joys of their own musicality. And his commitment to grassroots political organizations has put him on the front lines of many of the issues important to communities and workers.
Even before graduating summa cum laude from Minnesota’s St. John’s University, this Wisconsin native literally “headed for the hills,” forgoing a college lecture hall for the classroom of the eastern Kentucky coal camps, union halls, country churches and square dance halls. His apprenticeship to many of the legendary figures of Appalachian music embedded a love of homemade music and a sense of community and rootedness.
The result is music – whether traditional or from his huge catalog of original songs – with the profound mark of place, family and strength. It also created a storytelling style that has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.
The Washington Post described McCutcheon as folk music’s “Rustic Renaissance Man,” a moniker flawed only by its understatement. “Calling John McCutcheon a ‘folksinger’ is like saying Deion Sanders is just a football player...” (Dallas Morning News).
Besides his usual circuit of major concert halls and theaters, is equally at home in an elementary school auditorium, a festival stage or at a farm rally. He is a whirlwind of energy, packing five lifetimes into one. In the past few years, he has headlined more than a dozen different festivals in North America (including repeated performances at the National Storytelling Festival), recorded an original composition for Virginia Public Television involving over 500 musicians, toured Australia for the sixth time, toured Chile in support of a women's health initiative, appeared in a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in New York City, gave a featured concert at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, taught performance art skills at a North Carolina college, given symphony pops concerts across America, served as president of the fastest-growing local chapter in the Musicians Union, and performed a special concert at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This is all in his spare time. His “real job” – he's quick to point out – is father to two grown sons.
It’s in his live performances that McCutcheon feels most at home. It’s what has brought his music into the lives and homes of one of the broadest audiences any folk musician has ever enjoyed. People of every generation and background seem to feel at home in a concert hall when McCutcheon takes the stage, with what critics describe as “little feats of magic,” “breathtaking in their ease and grace...,” and “like a conversation with an illuminating old friend.”


Opus 76 Quartet with Ramona Pansegrau, piano
Tchaikovsky and Schumann 

Midwest Trust Center Artists-in-Residence
2 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 12
Polsky Theatre

The Midwest Trust Center’s artists-in-residence are joined by pianist Ramona Pansegrau, Kansas City Ballet Music Director and Conductor, for Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major.

Hailed as “Kansas City’s Premier String Quartet” (KC Independent), the Opus 76 Quartet and pianist Ramona Pansegrau, Kansas City Ballet Music Director, reunite to perform Robert Schumann’s E-flat major Piano Quintet, following Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1 in D major.

Program
String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11 by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44 by Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

The Quartet last joined forces with Pansegrau for Kansas City Ballet’s 2021 production “Wunderland” when Opus 76 appeared as guest artists performing works by Philip Glass. In a review, Bachtrack observed the musical performances were “complements to the movements, athletic, sinuous, centripetal and centrifugal, both tense and harmonious. It was a powerful, postmodern mix.”

Pansegrau is an accomplished pianist, music director and conductor. Before joining the Kansas City Ballet, she held the positions of principal pianist, solo pianist, music director and conductor at the Boston and Tulsa ballet companies. She was on the faculty at Aspen/Snowmass Dance Festival, taught at the Boston Conservatory and served on the faculty and as music director of seven International Ballet Competitions.

She has performed the piano concertos of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Gottschalk, Hindemith and Chopin as a piano soloist for ballet with many symphony orchestras, including the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra. Other continuing engagements for Pansegrau include Music Director and Conductor for the USA International Ballet Competition and guest conductor for Orlando Ballet.



Winterlude – KC Jazz Disciples

7 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 19
Polsky Theatre
Tickets start at $25.


Kansas City jazz greats share their smooth, contemporary and innovative sound.

Five musicians share their unique touch while flawlessly blending into the ultimate Kansas City jazz sound. Led by saxophonist Gerald Dunn, this quartet captures and captivates its audiences.

Five musicians flawlessly blend into the ultimate Kansas City jazz sound while bringing their unique touch to the stage.

Led by saxophonist Gerald Dunn, this quartet captures and captivates its audiences. Dunn plays an inventive, contemporary sound and knows how to capture an audience’s attention. He has been featured in bands with Illinois Jacquet and Bobby Watson.

Pianist Everett Freeman has toured with Oleta Adams and performs with a deliciously intricate, yet fluid, grace. There are few Kansas City jazz musicians whom drummer Michael Warren hasn’t backed, and bassist DeAndre Manning provides a solid footing to this group of seasoned local musicians. For this performance, the ensemble will be joined by special guest trumpeter Danny Campbell.


Curtis on Tour

The Nina von Maltzahn Global Touring Initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music
Featuring David Shifrin, clarinet; John de Lancie , narrator; Soovin Kim, violin
Performing Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat and more

7 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 26
Polsky Theatre
Pre-show talk with Paul Laird, 6 p.m. in MTC 211

A thrilling tale of trickery and magic.

Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat comes to life through an ensemble of musicians from the Curtis Institute of Music. They team up with beloved actor and narrator John de Lancie, who voices the characters, award-winning performer David Shifrin (clarinet ’71) and prominent recitalist Soovin Kim (violin ’99). The program also features works by Penderecki, Poulenc and Curtis alumnus Viet Cuong.

A thrilling tale of trickery and magic, Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) comes to life through an ensemble of musicians from the Curtis Institute of Music.

The program, designed for audiences in North America, also features works by Penderecki, Poulenc, and Curtis alumnus Viet Cuong.

Repertoire includes (subject to change):
Well-Groomed for solo snare drum Viet Cuong (b. 1990)

Sonata for clarinet and bassoon, FP 32a Francis Poulenc (1899–1963)
Allegro
Romance
Final

Duo Concertante for violin and double bass Krzysztof Penderecki (1933–2020)

Commissioned Work for Curtis on Tour – Title TBD Nicholas DiBerardino (b. 1989)

L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) Igor Stravinsky (1882¬–1971)

Curtis performers team up with beloved actor and narrator John de Lancie, who voices the characters, award-winning performer David Shifrin (clarinet ’71) and prominent recitalist Soovin Kim (violin ’99).

Curtis on Tour is the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music. Grounded in the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy, tours feature extraordinary emerging artists alongside celebrated alumni and faculty. In addition to performances, musicians offer master classes, educational programs, and community engagement activities while on tour.

Curtis on Tour also manages solo engagements for Curtis artists with professional orchestras and presenters. Since the program was established in 2008, Curtis on Tour ensembles have performed more than 375 concerts in over 100 cities in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

John de Lancie (narrator) is an American actor, director, producer, writer, sailor, educator and father. He is known for roles in countless TV shows: Q in “Star Trek,” Discord in “My Little Pony” and Donald Margolis in “Breaking Bad,” to name a few. De Lancie also wrote, produced and directed numerous shows for symphony orchestras and operas, in addition to being the host of children’s concerts at Disney Hall.

David Shifrin (clarinet), winner of both the Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Avery Fisher Prize, is in constant demand as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber music collaborator. Shifrin has appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia and Minnesota orchestras and the Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit, Fort Worth, Hawaii and Phoenix symphonies, among many others in the United States, as well as with orchestras in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. He has also received critical acclaim as a recitalist, appearing at such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

An accomplished chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Guarneri, Tokyo, Emerson, Orion, Dover and Miró String Quartets, as well as Wynton Marsalis, André Watts, Emanuel Ax, and André Previn. An artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1989, Shifrin served as its artistic director from 1992 to 2004. He also served as artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest from 1981 through 2020 and is currently artistic director of the Phoenix Chamber Music Festival.

Shifrin was the recipient of a Solo Recitalists’ Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the 2016 Concert Artists Guild Virtuoso Award. He was given an honorary membership by the International Clarinet Association in 2014 in recognition of lifetime achievement, and, at the outset of his career, he won the top prizes at both the Munich and the Geneva International Competitions. In recent years, he received the Distinguished Alumni Awards from the Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Music Academy of the West, and a Cultural Leadership Citation from Yale University. He was recognized with the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award at the 2018 Chamber Music America Conference and in 2019, was awarded the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Award for Extraordinary Service to Chamber Music.

Shifrin performs on a Backun “Lumière” cocobolo wood clarinet made by Morrie Backun and Légère premium synthetic reeds. He is represented by CM Artists New York.

Soovin Kim (violin) enjoys a broad musical career regularly performing Bach sonatas and Paganini caprices for solo violin, sonatas for violin and piano ranging from Beethoven to Ives, Mozart and Haydn concertos and symphonies as a conductor, and new world-premiere works almost every season.

When he was 20 years old, Kim received first prize at the Paganini International Violin Competition. He immersed himself in string quartet literature for 20 years as the first violinist of the Johannes Quartet. Among his many commercial recordings are his “thrillingly triumphant” (Classic FM Magazine) disc of Paganini’s demanding 24 Caprices, and a two-disc set of Bach’s complete solo violin works, to be released in 2022.

Kim is the founder and artistic director of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival (LCCMF) in Burlington, Vermont. In addition to its explorative programming and extensive work with living composers, LCCMF created the ONE Strings program through which all third through fifth grade students of the Integrated Arts Academy in Burlington study violin. The University of Vermont recognized Kim’s work by bestowing an honorary doctorate upon him in 2015.

In 2020, he and his wife, pianist Gloria Chien, became Artistic Directors of Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon. Kim devotes much of his time to his passion for teaching at the New England Conservatory in Boston.



A Moving Sound

8 p.m., Friday Mar. 31
Polsky Theatre


Fusing traditional Taiwanese influences with a global sensibility.

Featuring the distinctive timbres of the erhu (Taiwanese fiddle) and zhong ruan (lute), coupled with the transcendent vocals of Mia Hsieh, A Moving Sound has devised a unique and compelling style all their own.

Fusing traditional Taiwanese influences with a global sensibility, award-winning ensemble A Moving Sound (Sheng Don 聲動) built a world-wide following through their joyous mix of original music and dance.

Featuring the distinctive timbres of the erhu (fiddle) and zhong ruan (lute), and the transcendent vocals of Mia Hsieh, A Moving Sound has devised a unique and compelling style all their own – a Taiwanese whirlwind that veers between the meditative and the exuberant with irrepressible spirit. A Moving Sound has been featured on BBC Radio 3, NPR’s “All Things Considered” and The Discovery Channel.
A Moving Sound has performed at festivals, universities, art centers and museums in 23 countries throughout North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Central America and Asia. They have performed at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, WOMAD in England, WOMEX in Spain and The Kennedy Center, Grand Performances and Redcat Theater in Los Angeles, and Great Performances at Vanderbilt University. They have appeared at festivals such as the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Chicago World Music Festival and the
respected Paleo Music Festival in Switzerland.
A Moving Sound designs residency programs specializing in Taiwanese culture, dance and music, which they have conducted for many universities and communities around the world, including a five-college consortium in Massachusetts.
A Moving Sound is co-directed by Mia Hsieh (vocals, dance) and Scott Prairie (zhong ruan, bass guitar). They are joined in the ensemble by Sho-u Ray (erhu), Chih-Ling Chen (zhong ruan) and Yu-Hsin Chen (percussion).
Mia Hsieh draws creative inspiration from her roots in Asian culture, as well as an assimilation of experimental and improvisational art forms. Her vocal influences range from ethnic to experimental music. For many of the compositions, she performs using her own created language; chanting, speaking and singing with a deep emotion that reaches beyond words. In other pieces, she reinterprets ancient dialects and creates theatrical landscapes for her vocals and dance. She studied with Meredith Monk and Lynn Book in New York City on a Fulbright scholarship and has collaborated with visual artists, film directors, fashion designers and created several of her own interdisciplinary pieces. Hsieh also leads voice and dance and tai chi workshops internationally, which guides participants into creativity and self-exploration.
Scott Prairie lived in New York City before moving to Taiwan in December of 2001. He has a diverse artistic background drawing from his studies in music, visual art and psychology. He was trained as a conservatory French horn player at Carnegie-Mellon University, and later developed his own compositional style using classical, ethnic, experimental and pop music forms. He performed in many of New York City's centers for creative art, including The Kitchen and The Knitting Factory, and his music has been featured in theatrical productions in the United States and Taiwan.



Masters of Percussion featuring Zakir Hussain

8 p.m., Saturday Apr. 1
Yardley Hall


Zakir Hussain, Kala Ramnath and Jayanthi Kumaresh come together for the first time as a trio for the 2022 TRIVENI tour.

Leading Indian classical exponents of their respective instruments—tabla, violin and Saraswati veena—each is renowned as a virtuoso collaborator, ground breaker and educator, advancing the art of their instruments to remarkable levels. Feted and honored in India and abroad with numerous awards, each has successfully toured around the world with their own acclaimed solo projects.

Triveni is the mythical site of the union of three sacred rivers in India. The name aptly represents the confluence of the varied musicality the three maestros bring to this collaboration.

A hallmark of Hussain’s iconic career has been his groundbreaking work at the forefront of brilliant musical dialogues between Hindustani (North Indian) and Carnatic (South Indian) music.

With Ramnath, an innovative representative of North Indian raga tradition, Kumaresh, the leading exponent of the ancient South Indian veena, and Hussain seamlessly stitching North and South Indian rhythm traditions to provide a bridge for veena and violin to meet, TRIVENI promises to be a fluent, joyous and entirely original musical conversation.



George Hinchliffe's Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

8 p.m., Saturday Apr. 15
Yardley Hall
Tickets start at $25.

Fresh and entertaining, both modern and old-fashioned.

While it is not normally in the nature of these artists from Britain to “blow their own trumpets,” or in this case to “pluck their own ukuleles,” it is undeniably a fact that The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has become not only a national institution, but also a worldwide phenomenon.

Returning for their fifth appearance at MTC, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has become not only a national institution, but also a worldwide phenomenon.

When the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain began in 1985, public opinion was that an orchestra consisting entirely of ukuleles in different sizes was a strange concept. But this was something that attracted the founders, who had experience with many kinds of music and yet, had become tired of the conventions of the music business world, as well as the conventions of performance and genre stereotyping prevalent at that time. The idea was to make something fresh and entertaining, both modern and old-fashioned, in a style which deviated from the current performance fashion. People liked the result.

Today, the Orchestra finds that wherever they go, people are now playing ukuleles, often in groups. Many of these enthusiasts tell the orchestra they were inspired to play after seeing and hearing the original Ukulele Orchestra. Now there are many ukulele orchestras, some acknowledging the pioneering work of the UOGB, others claiming ignorance of this rich history, but none of them existed before this, the original Ukulele Orchestra.
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has been featured in a CNN report in 2012 and on CBS’ “This Morning” in 2013. The Orchestra has been invited by the British Broadcasting Corporation to play live on air for BBC Radio 3 (the classical music channel), as well as for BBC Radio 1 (the rock, Electronic Dance Music and youth music channel) and live on other BBC channels many times. They have taken part in The Electric Proms (in a collaboration with The Kaiser Chiefs), and the BBC Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London (The Proms), where they were the fastest selling late-night prom in history, selling many thousands of tickets for the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London.
Original compositions and songs by the Orchestra have been used on television, in film and in radio plays, as well as in performances by other musicians. The orchestra has collaborated with the British Film Institute in providing music for silent films and musically with Madness, Robbie Williams, Ant & Dec, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Stefan Raab, Rainer Hersch and a full symphony orchestra performing at the Royal Festival Hall in London. George Harrison was a well-known fan who established contact and played with the orchestra.

In addition to performing at theatres and concert halls, the orchestra has packed the crowds at rock festivals such as Glastonbury, The Big Chill, WOMAD, The Electric Picnic and before 170,000 people in Hyde Park, as well as playing in seven cathedrals in England and Wales. The group has been commissioned to write commemorative concerts, eg. The Cecil Sharp 100 Year Memorial Concert in 2012, and the 100-Year World War One Memorial Concert in 2014 for Birmingham Town Hall.




Cirque Kalabante Afrique en Cirque

School show: 10 a.m., Friday, May 19
Tickets start at $5.
Public show: 7 p.m., Friday, May 19
Tickets start at $25.
Yardley Hall


Radiating the diversity of traditional African arts with the virtuosity of North American modern circus performance.

Afrique en Cirque is a highly colorful creation featuring amazing acrobats performing authentic choreography to the frantic rhythms of native instruments of Guinea.

Afrique en Cirque is a highly colorful creation featuring amazing acrobats performing authentic choreography to the frantic rhythms of native instruments of Guinea.

To the melodious sound of the Kora, artistic director and company founder, Yamoussa Bangoura, takes us into an elsewhere that radiates the diversity of traditional African arts with the virtuosity of the North American modern circus performance.

Bangoura began his professional career with the show, “La Légende du Singe Tambourinaire.” After being spotted in Spain with Cirque Éloize, he was recruited for the show Nomade, where he performed from 2002 to 2007.

In 2010, he joined the equestrian company, Cavalia, for the creation of the show, Odysséo, and toured with them until 2012, after which he chose to focus on his own company, Productions Kalabanté.

Bangoura always dreamed of founding a multidisciplinary circus school and forming his own company specializing in African arts. Kalabanté (meaning “child go-getter, ambitious, with exceptional courage” in Susu language), carries a double mission: promoting the artistic cultures of African and humanitarian projects while promoting cultural exchanges between Canada and Guinea. Kalabanté’s highlighting of multiculturalism shows audiences that it is possible to be united in solidarity and to communicate and live together despite cultural differences.