KC’s Harriman-Jewell announces 60th anniversary season with DiDonato, MOMIX, enthusiasm

The Harriman-Jewell Series is celebrating a big anniversary next season, and it’s celebrating with artists who have been mainstays of the series, like Joshua Bell, Joyce DiDonato and Itzhak Perlman, as well as fresh faces like clarinetist Anthony McGill and violinist Leonidas Kavakos.

The stellar 60th season is an auspicious start for the series’ newly structured leadership team. Clark Morris, who has been the artistic director and executive director, will now be artistic director, while Eryn Bates Kemp, who has been associate executive director, is executive director.

“I’ve had both titles for a while, but we’re going back to a co-leadership model,” Morris said. “That’s actually the model I had with Richard (Harriman) when Richard was artistic director and I was executive director. So we think this is getting back to a really good place for the organization and securing our future for the long haul.”

Bates Kemp, a graduate of William Jewell College, got her start with the series in 2014 as director of development. In 2018, she was named associate executive director.

I’ve been fortunate early in my career to find an organization whose mission and history I love, where I can unite a true sense of passion and purpose with my day-to-day work,” Bates Kemp said.

Clark Morris and Eryn Bates Kemp lead the Harriman-Jewell Series. Andrew Schwartz/Veritography
Clark Morris and Eryn Bates Kemp lead the Harriman-Jewell Series. Andrew Schwartz/Veritography

In her new role, Bates Kemp will oversee all administrative operations, such as fundraising and finances, while Morris will focus on performances and programming. But Bates Kemp is a performer herself, a wonderful pianist who can often be heard in various Kansas City venues. So, while she may not be artistic director, something tells me her input into artistic decisions will be invaluable.

Her enthusiasm for next season clearly comes from an appreciation that an artist has for fellow artists.

“The 60th season is special for one specific reason: collaboration,” Bates Kemp said. “Collaboration between artists onstage and collaboration with our community to make these extraordinary events possible. It’s a celebration of the relationships the series has built over time because teamwork makes the dream work.”

As a pianist, Bates Kemp says she is especially looking forward to Georgian firebrand Khatia Buniatishvili on Sept. 17.

“When we presented her in her Kansas City debut performance, she drew audiences from across the U.S. as well as internationally,” Bates Kemp said. “Her recital in Kansas City is one of only a handful in the United States this fall.”

The King’s Singers will perform a holiday concert Dec. 19 at the Folly Theater Frances Marshall
The King’s Singers will perform a holiday concert Dec. 19 at the Folly Theater Frances Marshall

You can count on the series to present a festive holiday concert, and Dec. 19 sees the return of the wassailing King’s Singers.

“I can’t wait to see these lovely gentlemen again,” Bates Kemp said. “Their musicality, charisma and charm always captivate and inspire. They didn’t perform on the series last year, but they stopped by the Harriman offices on their way through Kansas City so that we could honor them with an award. Of course, they made it a point to sample the local barbecue.”

Dance is always an important part of any Harriman-Jewell season. Next year, the series is presenting MOMIX on Feb. 15. Founded in 1981 as an offshoot of another unique dance ensemble, Pilobulus, the group last appeared on the series 20 years ago.

“MOMIX specializes in inventive, surreal work” Bates Kemp said. “They combine illusion with dance, props, costumes and projections for one of their newest large-scale works ‘Alice,’ inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ It will showcase their unique magic, while venturing down the rabbit hole.”

MOMIX will perform its version of “Alice in Wonderland” at the Kauffman Center on Feb. 15. MOMIX
MOMIX will perform its version of “Alice in Wonderland” at the Kauffman Center on Feb. 15. MOMIX

For more information, 816-415-5025 or hjseries.org.

Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Khatia Buniatishvili, piano. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. “In the Fiddler’s House” with Itzhak Perlman, violin; Hankus Netsky, music director, saxophone and piano; Andy Statman, clarinet and mandolin; Members of the Brave Old World and Klezmer Conservatory Band. Helzberg Hall.

Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. “The Voice and the Violin” with Joshua Bell, violin; Larisa Martinez, soprano; Peter Dugan, piano. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St.

Oct. 19 at 5 p.m. Chelsea Guo, soprano and piano; Joseph Parrish, baritone. Folly Theater. Free Discovery Concert.

Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. Disney’s “Encanto” Sing-Along Live Concert. Folly Theater.

Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. “Kings: Rejoyce!” with Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano; Kings Return; Craig Terry, piano. Helzberg Hall.

Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. The King’s Singers in Holiday Concert. Folly Theater.

Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. Anthony McGill, clarinet, and Emanuel Ax, piano. Folly Theater.

Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. MOMIX “Alice.” Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández. Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. Czech National Symphony conducted by Steven Mercurio; Sandy Cameron, violin; Maxim Lando, piano. Helzberg Hall.

March 7 at 7 p.m. Leonidas Kavakos, violin; Daniil Trifonov, violin. Folly Theater.

April 11 at 7 p.m. “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at 300” with Les Arts Florissants and violinist Théotime Langlois de Swarte. Folly Theater.

Bach Aria Soloists — Spring Concert

There’s something about Bach’s music that just breathes springtime. The joyous optimism and soaring lyricism can’t help but make any day more sunny. The Bach Aria Soloists will present their spring concert April 20 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

In addition to Bach, violinist Elizabeth Suh Lane, keyboardist Elisa Williams Bickers, cellist Hannah Collins and soprano Sarah Tannehill Anderson will perform works like Mozart’s Trio Sonata in G, the “Spring” Sonata by Beethoven and “Seven Tunes Heard in China,” a work composed by Bright Sheng for Yo-Yo Ma.

7:30 p.m. April 20. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 6401 Wornall Terrace. $20-$40. 816-769-2575 or bachariasoloists.com.

Park ICM Orchestra

In addition to world-class faculty and students, Park University’s International Center for Music also has its own outstanding orchestra. Barbara Yahr, conductor of the Greenwich Village Orchestra of New York, will lead the ICM Orchestra in its final concert of the season April 19 at Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel.

The program includes Andante Festivo by Jean Sibelius and the “Scottish” Symphony by Mendelssohn. Christian Santos, a star student at ICM, will perform a viola concerto by Johann Stamitz, demonstrating that the often maligned instrument is well worthy of solo status.

7:30 p.m. April 19. Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel, 8700 N.W. River Park Drive, Parkville. Free with reservation. icm.park.edu.

Kansas City Symphony with pianist Jeffrey Kahane

Michael Stern’s time as music director of the Kansas City Symphony is rapidly ending, but he has a few concerts left before his grand finale in June. You’ll have a chance to hear him April 19 to 21 at Helzberg Hall when the symphony will be joined by pianist Jeffrey Kahane for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.

The program also includes two other audience favorites: Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Mozart’s Gran Partita. In the movie “Amadeus,” a movement from the partita caused Mozart’s rival, Antonio Salieri, to swoon. It’s an effect this remarkable work for winds seems to have on audiences.

8 p.m. April 19 and 20, 2 p.m. April 21. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. $25-$99. 816-471-0400 or kcsymphony.org.

Destiny Mermagen — Tango

Who doesn’t like tangos? Violinist Destiny Mermagen and Prairie Classical youth members will present “Tangos of Buenos Aires” April 21 at Old Mission United Methodist Church. This is one of Mermagen’s Side by Side concerts that allow gifted student musicians to perform alongside professionals. A very worthy endeavor, indeed.

6 p.m. April 21. Old Mission United Methodist Church, 5519 State Park Road, Fairway. Free with reservation. prairieclassical.org.

Ailey II

Ailey II, what The New York Times calls “the younger version of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,” will be coming to its one and only second home, Kansas City, April 19 and 20 at the Folly Theater. Presented by the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, the performance promises to burst with energy and innovation.

7:30 p.m. April 19 and 1 p.m. April 20. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. $35-$70. kcfaa.org.

Northland Symphony Orchestra

The Northland Symphony Orchestra, one of the area’s best community orchestras, presents “Spring With the Symphony” April 14 at North Kansas City High School. What I love about Jim Murray, the orchestra’s music director and conductor, is the way he chooses overlooked but delightful gems For example, besides Schumann’s “Spring” Symphony, he’ll also conduct works like “Children of Spring Waltz” by Émile Waldteufel and “Springtime” by Karl Goldmark.

3 p.m. April 14. North Kansas City High School, 620 E. 23d Ave. Free. northlandsymphony.org.

You can reach Patrick Neas at patrickneas@kcartsbeat.com and follow his Facebook page, KC Arts Beat, at www.facebook.com/kcartsbeat.