Arts & Culture

KCUR’s Arts & Culture Desk covers arts news from music to visual art to dance and theater, with a focus on Kansas and Missouri.

Our reporters explore the behind-the-scene stories about newsmakers and emerging artists. We also take a look at the intersections of arts and technology, science and creativity, and present profiles of creative people. 

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Music
11:46 am
Tue February 24, 2009

Opera Soprano Carol Vaness

Carol Vaness performed the title role of Puccini's Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera in 2004 opposite Pavarotti in the legendary tenor's final operatic performance. That's just a part of the extraordinary professional life of this opera soprano.

Kansas City, Mo – >>LISTEN TO THE PROGRAM

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Music
8:45 am
Sun February 22, 2009

Jumping on the Orient Express

Sergio Reyes

Guitarist Beau Bledsoe has become known to local music fans as one of the more open-minded and adventurous musicians in town. His resume already includes explorations of tango, flamenco and Western classical music. In his new project, Orient Express, the musical exploration continues further, as Beau Bledsoe collaborates with musicians from Turkey.

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Kemper ARTcasts
3:08 pm
Wed February 18, 2009

Kemper ARTcast 5: Installing Apfelbaum

Photo: Robert J. Bingaman

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art curator Christopher Cook and collections manager and registrar Amy Duke detail the process of installing the museum's permanent collection installation Split, by artist Polly Apfelbaum. View the slideshow here.

MUSIC: "Thrashy" by Brandon Draper

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Theater/Performance
12:20 pm
Thu February 12, 2009

St?rling Dance Theater Tackles Race Relations

The neo-classical dance company, St?rling Dance Theater (in residence at the Culture House in Olathe), has tackled difficult subject matter in its choreography over the last decade, from biblical themes to Alzheimer's.

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Jazz/Blues
2:48 pm
Mon February 9, 2009

Blue Note Records Through the Years

The Blue Note record label started 70 years ago when German immigrant Alfred Lion was inspired to record some of the boogie-woogie piano music he heard at Carnegie Hall. Today, the label is recognized as one of the finest in jazz. It's classic records, especially those from the 50's and 60's, have a cult following. The American Jazz Museum at 18th and Vine is celebrating Blue Note's anniversary with a series of events.

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Theater/Performance
9:59 am
Wed February 4, 2009

Soprano Danielle de Niese in her American Recital Debut

In its more than 40 year history, the Harriman-Jewell Series has presented 18 American recital debuts, including tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Recently, it was soprano Danielle de Niese's turn.

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Music
3:11 pm
Mon January 26, 2009

Remembering Dona Edith do Prato

Dona Edith do Prato

KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has a remembrance of a musician she met several years ago in Brazil. Edith Oliveira Nogueira died last week at the age of 94. She was from Santo Amaro, a colonial town surrounded by sugar cane plantations in the state of Bahia. Dona Edith, as she was known, didn't become a professional musician until her 60s, when she went on tour with the legendary singer Caetano Veloso

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KCUR News
7:28 am
Tue January 20, 2009

Gem Theater Hosts Local Inauguration Celebration

Kansas City, MO – More than a million people flooded Washington D.C. today to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama. In Kansas City, many gathered at the Gem Theater to watch the national events on a big screen and take part in a local celebration which included music and poetry. KCUR's Elana Gordon was there and brought back this audio postcard.

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Classical
9:40 am
Mon January 19, 2009

Chen Yi: From the Path of Beauty

In Kansas City recently, the all-male vocal group, Chanticleer and the Shanghai Quartet continued the world premiere tour of Chen Yi's From the Path of Beauty.

Kansas City, MO – A Kansas City-based composer, Chen Yi has taught for the last decade at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. KCUR's Laura Spencer has this profile.

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KCUR News
11:52 pm
Wed January 14, 2009

Nelson-Atkins Museum Of Art Clarifies Cuts

photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

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Music
1:43 pm
Mon December 22, 2008

Tubas Carol for Christmas

TubaChristmas is an annual event that brings together hundreds of tuba and euphonium players of all ages and music levels, shapes and sizes. And they all perform arrangements of traditional Christmas tunes.

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Music
3:57 pm
Fri December 19, 2008

The Mongol Beach Party Re-Releases CD for Reunion Shows

The Mongol Beach Party, 2008
photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

After 16 years apart, the Kansas City party band, The Mongol Beach Party, reunited recently for two shows.

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Music
1:07 pm
Fri December 19, 2008

Best Pop Music of 2008

KCUR's Up to Date program takes its annual look at the year's best in new pop music.

Kansas City, MO – The December 19th edition of Up to Date featured Steve Wilson, manager of Kief's Downtown Music and Bill Brownlee, music critic and author of two music blogs.

They spoke with host Steve Kraske about their picks for best music of 2008.

 

 

 

Bill Brownlee's Picks

 

 

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Music
10:07 am
Thu December 18, 2008

TubaChristmas 2008

For nearly 30 years, hundreds of tuba, euphonium and baritone players, amateurs and professionals, have gathered in Kansas City to perform in the annual TubaChristmas concert.

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Music
2:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2008

Classical Music Recordings for the Holidays

Frank Byrne, Executive Director of the Kansas City Symphony, returns to KCUR's Up to Date program with another collection of classical recordings. Selections include music by composers Mozart, Vivaldi, Haydn, Hahn, Reinberger, Sibelius, and Bernstein.

Kansas City, Mo – Frank Byrne, Executive Director of the Kansas City Symphony, returns with another collection of classical recordings.

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Theater/Performance
8:33 am
Thu December 11, 2008

Owen/Cox Dance Group Presents Contemporary Version of Medieval Mystery Play

In the 15th and 16th centuries, residents of towns and villages in England would gather together during the holiday season, while guilds produced short public plays called pageants.

Kansas City, MO – The Shearmen and Taylors' Pageant is one of only two surviving plays of the Coventry Cycle, from the town of Coventry, which became well-known for its lavish Christmas productions.

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Theater/Performance
12:29 pm
Wed December 10, 2008

Behind the Scenes in the Costume Shop of The Nutcracker

Matthew Powell and Breanne Starke as the Mechanical Dolls in Todd Bolender's The Nutcracker.
Photo: Steve Wilson (courtesy of Kansas City Ballet)

Richard Nixon was president when the Kansas City Ballet premiered its production of The Nutcracker, set to the music of Tchaikovsky. For thirty-six years running, audiences have been so swept up in the music and the movement that other crucial elements of the piece tend to get overlooked, and what would The Nutcracker be without its extravagant costumes?

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Music
11:20 am
Thu December 4, 2008

Kansas City Chorale Gets Grammy Nod

The nominees for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards were announced Wednesday. And for the second year in a row, two choral ensembles led by conductor Charles Bruffy have been included.

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Jazz/Blues
9:03 am
Fri November 28, 2008

Jazz Artist Bobby Watson Presents The Gates Bar-B-Q Suite

Nine years ago, when Kansas native son Bobby Watson returned to the area from New York to head the UMKC jazz department, jazz fans had cause to celebrate.

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Kemper ARTcasts
8:48 am
Fri November 28, 2008

Kemper ARTcast 4: Conversation with Michael Rush

Johanna Billing, Project for a Revolution, 2000, video loop

Beth Harris, curator of education at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, talks with the director of the Rose Art Museum, Michael Rush, after his recent lecture on video art at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Kansas City, MO – Harris and Rush discuss the current state of the medium in relation to the Kemper Museum exhibitions Johanna Billing: Taking Turns and Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher: Reel to Reel.

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Theater/Performance
3:45 pm
Sun November 16, 2008

Ties to Alvin Ailey Endure in Kansas City

For the late dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey, dance was a way to celebrate and honor the African-American experience. The company Ailey founded, the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, marks its fiftieth anniversary this year.

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Theater/Performance
10:40 am
Sun November 16, 2008

Ailey Camp Inspires Area High School Students

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey

Ailey Camp is one of the legacies of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. It's more than a summer camp for kids who want to dance. Alvin Ailey started the camp with the idea that dance could be a vehicle for growth and personal development among the community's youth.

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Theater/Performance
12:08 pm
Sat November 15, 2008

Charlotte Street Foundation Recognizes Generative Artists

The 2008 Fellows are (pictured left to right) choreographer/dancer DeeAnna Hiett; composer/musician Mark Southerland; and playwright/producer/director/actor Ron Megee.
photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

Kansas City artists who've been recognized by the Charlotte Street Foundation over the last 10 years will tell you that it helps their reputations and their bank accounts.

Kansas City, MO – This year, the organization expanded its definition of "artist" to include an actor and playwright, a dancer/choreographer, and a musician. KCUR's Steve Walker gathered the honorees together and found them to be equally flattered, humbled, and appreciative.

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Kemper ARTcasts
10:33 am
Thu November 13, 2008

Kemper ARTcast 4: Reel to Reel Vox Pop

photo: Drew Bolton

Kemper at the Crossroads opened November 7, 2008, with the exhibition called Reel to Reel. Listen to the public's reactions to the artwork at this new space and watch the slideshow.

Kansas City, MO – Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher: Reel to Reel

November 7, 2008-January 11, 2009

Kemper at the Crossroads, 33 W. 19th St.

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Music
8:12 am
Wed November 12, 2008

Steven Jarvi on Breaking Down Walls Between Audience and Orchestra

Steven Jarvi, Assistant Conductor for the Kansas City Symphony

The Kansas City Symphony's new assistant conductor, Steven Jarvi, just started in August. At the age of 30, Jarvi's already held a number of positions, including most recently, conducting fellow for the New World Symphony in Miami, and associate conductor for the New York City Opera.

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Jazz/Blues
3:43 pm
Mon November 10, 2008

South America in Kansas City - Sons of Brasil

Sons of Brasil's new album "While You Were Out"

The bossa nova craze hit the US in the late 50's, and ever since then, that mellow Brazilian groove has been a standard part of many jazz musicians' repertoire. But when Kansas City musicians Stan Kessler, Doug Auwater, Danny Embrey and Greg Whitfield formed the Sons of Brasil in 1991, they were determined to dig deeper into the rhythmic soul of the country.

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Kemper ARTcasts
1:04 pm
Mon November 3, 2008

Kemper ARTcast 4: Kemper at the Crossroads Preview

photo: Drew Bolton and Margaret Keough

Kemper at the Crossroads, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art's third location, opened November 7 in the building formerly occupied by the Dolphin Gallery. The Dolphin is now located in the West Bottoms. Check here for a slideshow.

Kansas City, MO – Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher: Reel to Reel

November 7, 2008-January 11, 2009

Kemper at the Crossroads, 33 W. 19th St.

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Jazz/Blues
2:57 pm
Mon October 27, 2008

People's Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City

The People's Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City got its start two years ago. That's when an all-star group of local jazz composers decided to do their own radical take on Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker." The mix of folk, popular and avant garde styles turned out to be so much fun that the musicians decided to stick together.

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Music
11:15 am
Fri October 24, 2008

A New Face for the Kansas City Symphony Chorus

Artistic director Charles Bruffy conducts a recent rehearsal of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus
photo: Laura Spencer, KCUR

Audiences at the Kansas City Symphony this weekend might spot a new yet familiar face. Charles Bruffy, artistic director of the Grammy award-winning Kansas City Chorale, debuts at the helm of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus as its new artistic director.

Kansas City, MO – Fri, October 24, 8 pm
Saturday, October 25, 8:00 pm
Lyric Theatre

Sunday, October 26, 2 pm
Yardley Hall

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