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Kansas City Symphony Unveils Ambitious Concert Schedule For Its First Post-Pandemic Season

Todd Rosenberg
For the first time since early 2020, the full Kansas City Symphony will perform in Helzberg Hall beginning Sept. 24.

The orchestra's 2021-22 lineup, which begins Sept. 24 before full audiences in Helzberg Hall, features classical favorites and world premieres and commissions.

The Kansas City Symphony has announced a robust lineup of classical, pop and family concerts for its 2021-2022 season, to be performed before full capacity audiences in Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

“I think it’s going to be overwhelming," music director Michael Stern said. "When we finally see a full house and we are back into the rhythm of what our life had been, I think it’s going to hit us pretty strongly."

The announcement marks another milestone as large-scale entertainment venues open up as coronavirus cases decrease in the Kansas City region. Along with the symphony's return, the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, Harriman-Jewell Series and other groups have announced post-pandemic schedules in recent weeks.

Officials have also announced returns to full capacity for Kauffman Stadium, Starlight Theatre and Sporting KC’s Children’s Mercy Park.

Symphony musicians weathered the pandemic with smaller, outdoor concerts, virtual performances and podcasts. Meanwhile, its leaders worked with the University of Kansas Health System to gauge the safety of gathering musicians and audiences in Helzberg. They announced a return to the stage in January with limited, in-person performances. But those plans were postponed after COVID-19 cases spiked.

In late May, the symphony presented several concerts to limited-capacity audiences, and smaller ensembles of musicians on stage. More of these performances are scheduled in June.

Music director Michael Stern expects an emotional return to live performances.

Stern also said the return to Helzberg could provide some healing for Kansas City.

“The need for healing that comes through music and community is important like never before,” he said in a press release.

The concert schedule includes a blend of classical and pop music. It opens up Sept. 24-Sept. 26. with Symphony No. 1 from Gustav Mahler, which Stern described as a grandiose composition to kickstart the season. Later classical concerts will include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.

The season also features programs with music from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Star Wars.

“There is a really interesting mix of music — a lot of diversity, a lot of stuff we haven’t played before and a lot of great classics,” Stern said.

Current season subscribers have until July 15 to renew or upgrade their existing subscriptions. People wanting to subscribe for the first time can choose any unsubscribed seats.

More information about the concert lineup and ticket availability can be found at the Kansas City Symphony’s website, or by calling the Symphony Box Office at (816) 471-0400, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

DC Benincasa is a news intern at KCUR 89.3.
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