The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra is pleased to announce their 33rd Season will kick off on Thursday, September 26th at Grace and Holy Trinity in downtown Kansas City. The historic downtown cathedral will be the perfect atmosphere for the season-opening program entitled “Night Reflections” featuring talented guest conductor, Anthony Maglione and music ranging from Haydn to acclaimed young African American contemporary composer Jessie Montgomery. Maglione commented: “I was reminded of the words of Desmund Tutu when I was preparing this concert: ‘Hope is seeing that there is light despite all the darkness.’” He continued, “In our darkest, most bitter moments, there are opportunities to see the beauty of the world around us. Sometimes beauty appears to us as boisterous, joyous bursts of light, while other times it reveals itself in a moment of solitude or reflection. I’m delighted to present this season opener in hopes that our audience will find joy, solace, and hope through our musical offering.”
Conductor/Composer Anthony J. Maglione is a graduate of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, East Carolina University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the Director of Choral Studies at William Jewell College. In addition to his responsibilities at William Jewell, he serves as Artist-in-Residence and Choir Master at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City and Conductor Emeritus of the Freelance Ensemble Artists of NJ Symphony Orchestra.
An active composer, Anthony’s choral works are growing in popularity. In the last several years, his music has appeared at state and national-level conventions, on TV, in video games, and has been recorded on Gothic Records, Albany Records and Centaur Records. In 2014-2015, Anthony was honored as a Semi-Finalist and Finalist (respectively) for the American Prize in Composition, Professional Choral Division and was recently awarded the 2016-2017 William Jewell College Spencer Family Sabbatical in order to compose two new large-scale works for choir, soloists and chamber orchestra.
The first half of the program is comprised of three works for string orchestra. It begins with Jessie Montgomery’s exuberantly rhythmic Starburst (2012), which she describes as a “multidimensional soundscape” expressing “rapidly changing musical colors.” Montgomery is one of 19 women recently chosen to compose new works for the New York Philharmonic in 2020 as part of “Project 19”, honoring the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. The Chamber Orchestra is excited to recognize her talent and acknowledge her rising star in the music world. In Jessie’s words, “Music is my connection to the world. It guides me to understand my place in relation to others and challenges me to make clear the things I do not understand. I imagine that music is a meeting place at which all people can converse about their unique differences and common stories.”
The program continues with a Chamber Orchestra favorite, Anton Arensky’s Variations on a Theme By Tchaikovsky (1894), a beautiful tribute to the composer, who was admired by and encouraged Arensky as a mentor. It is based on “Legend”, a tune from Tchaikovsky’s Children’s Songs of 1814. The first half of the concert will conclude with the sparse, yet beautiful Trisagion (1992/1994), translated as “Thrice Holy” by Arvo Pärt, a reflection on the opening prayers for Vespers, an evening service in the Eastern Orthodox church, and written for the 500th Anniversary of a church in Ilomantsi, Finland. Conductor Paul Hillier, an avid champion of Pärt’s music, summarizes his impact as follows: “Arvo Pärt’s music accepts silence and death, and thus reaffirms the basic truth of life, its frailty compassionately realized, its sacred beauty observed and celebrated.”
After intermission, the strings are joined by winds for Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony no. 44 in E minor “Trauer”. Composed during 1770/1771, this symphony is full of a new sturm und drang (storm and stress), or heightened emotionalism that Haydn and other composers were experimenting with in the late 18th century. It is one of Haydn’s best known and was later named “Trauer” (mourning) since the composer requested his favorite movement, the third, be played after his death. The work is unique being one of the few minor key symphonies by Haydn. It was written the year Beethoven, who later studied with Haydn, was born, and begins the KCCO’s look at the background of music Beethoven grew up with in this 250th anniversary year of the great composer. Said Maglione, “I’m particularly eager to present the third movement as Haydn requested it be played at his funeral. Interestingly, it is pitched in E major and some have speculated that it may reflect his hopeful look towards life after death.”
The Focus of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra 2019-2020 Season:
Each concert this season features signature Baroque and Classical period repertoire paired thematically with modern or contemporary music composed for chamber orchestra, highlights contemporary women and regional composers, and traces the background and musical landscape that led to the revolutionary compositional work of Ludwig Beethoven whose 250th birthday is celebrated worldwide in classical music during 2020.
Night Reflections, Thursday, September 26, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral
Jesse Montgomery: Starburst
A. Arensky: Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, op. 35a
Arvo Pärt: Trisagion
J. Haydn: Symphony No. 44 in E minor “Trauer”
Holiday Concert, Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 7:30 p.m., Old Mission United Methodist Church
J.S. Bach: Magnificat
Telemann: Concerto for Oboe d’Amore
(Additional works by Rameau and Handel)
Bruce Sorrell, Conducting, Margaret Marco, Oboist, Musica Vocale Choral Ensemble
Valentine Concert, Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 7:30 p.m., Folly Theater
Valentine Concert with Special Champagne & Chocolate Reception Following
Season Finale Featuring Soloists from Park International Center for Music, Saturday, May 2, 2020, 8:00 p.m., Location TBD
Bruce Sorrell, Conducting, with Soloists from Park ICM
Weekday concerts, regardless of location, begin at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. A free pre-concert talk with each conductor will begin one hour before the performance. Individual tickets range from $20 to $35; senior and student discounts are available. Purchase tickets online at KCChamberOrchestra.org or (816) 235-6222.
The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, now in its 33rd season, is the region’s only professional resident chamber orchestra. Founded by music director and conductor Bruce Sorrell, the orchestra features talented professional musicians who live and work in the metropolitan area including members of the Kansas City Symphony, music faculties of the University of Kansas and the Conservatory at University of Missouri – Kansas City, and freelance professionals. For more information, visit KCChamberOrchestra.org