Summerfest Concerts has an outstanding series of concerts planned for its 28th season. By combining familiar chamber music repertoire with rarely performed and lesser known pieces, Summerfest concerts provide opportunities for classical music audiences to experience high quality, rare fine arts performances in Kansas City. There are two opportunities each weekend in July to experience Summerfest. Saturday performances begin at 7:30pm at the White Recital Hall on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Sunday performances are held at 3:00pm at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 13th & Holmes in downtown Kansas City. A complimentary Meet the Musicians reception follows each performance and each venue offers plenty of free parking.
Summerfest’s first week centers on the way chamber music speaks to our soul, starting with Nico Muhly’s Gibbons Suite, J.S. Bach’s celebrated solo vocal cantata “Ich habe genug,” and Ernest Bloch’s Piano Quintet No. 1 rounds out the week by reminding us that chamber music allows composers to let their imaginations run free and to mix styles freely in order to express the depth of human experience.
Week two presents chamber music where composers can experiment and try new ideas, and our first composer does so by searching for new colors. Richard Lavenda’s Chiaroscuro features an unusual grouping of alto flute, bassoon, vibraphone, and bass. Eric Sammut’s Zapping Trio creates a jazz combo out of marimba, clarinet, and bass. Daniel Kellogg ends the week with Divinum Mysterium, a reimaging the Genesis creation narrative through the old hymn “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”
The third week finds Summerfest looking at the connections between art and chamber music. Libby Larsen’s Black Birds, Red Hills uses six paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe for inspiration. Albert Roussel’s Serenade for Flute, String Trio, and Harp paints with a lightness of timbre. Alyssa Morris’s Brush Strokes creates impressions of four painters – Monet, Seurat, Van Gogh, and Pollock – by recreating their painting gestures in music. Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Trio in D minor ends the week by mirroring the late works of great painters in its economy of colors and depth of expression.
Finally, Summerfest ends its series with an exploration of what makes chamber music tick. Ottorino Respighi’s Quartetto Dorico recasts the string quartet into a single movement work that reimagines the past through the lens of the present. J.S. Bach’s eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, brings us a Duet No. 1 in E minor that similarly mixes two styles – in this case the Baroque style he outlived and the newer, simpler Classical style that developed during his life. Jacques Ibert’s Trois Pieces Breve for wind quintet began life as incidental music for a comedy and carries that humorous feeling into the concert version. And Heinrich Hofmann’s Octet in F major proves that Brahms was not the only composer in the 19th century living in the past while making music for the future.
Tickets are $24/adults, $10/students 18 and older with valid ID, and free for youth 17 years of age and under. Summerfest also offers a festival flex ticket for $84, which includes 4 tickets to be used at any concert(s) and two guest passes. Tickets may be purchased through the Central Ticket Office at 4949 Cherry, by phone at 816-235-6222, or online at www.summerfestkc.org.
Summerfest, a professional chamber music ensemble, enriches the cultural life of Kansas City through the performance of a variety of music in a setting that fosters interaction between musicians and audience. For more information on Summerfest Concerts and to order tickets for its 28th season, visit www.summerfestkc.org.