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The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra Presents SPANNING THE CENTURIES

The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra Presents SPANNING THE CENTURIES

The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra is pleased to announce that acclaimed Kansas City conductor, Ward Holmquist, will guest conduct their upcoming concert. "I had a great time leading performances of J.S. Bach's Coffee Cantata with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra during their 2017 - 18 Season and I'm so thrilled to be back with them again for Spanning the Centuries in May," said Holmquist. Kansas City Chamber Orchestra will present Spanning the Centuries, 8:00 p.m., Saturday, May 4th at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 40th and Main. The evening will showcase Mozart's Symphony No. 40, Virtuosities by composer Dorothy Chang, Rossini's Overture to La Scala di Seta and a selection of beloved Mozart and Donizetti opera arias with tenor soloist Josh Lovell.

Canadian tenor Josh Lovell is in his second year as a performer at The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where recent and upcoming performances include Emperor Altoum inTurandot, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Odoardo in Ariodante, and Le Doyen de la Faculté in Cendrillon. He has also appeared as Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor and Bardolfo in Falstaff with Pacific Opera. On the concert stage, Lovell made his debut with The International Music Foundation and Apollo Chorus in Handel's Messiah, as the Evangelist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Victoria Philharmonic in Canada, and sung Bach cantatas as well as the Magnificat with Baroque ensemble I Musici de Montréal. He is the 2018 Grand and Opera Prize winner at the 52nd Annual International Vocal Competition's-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands, the 2nd place winner of the 2018 Dallas Opera competition, and was a 2017 semi-finalist with the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. After the close of the season in Chicago, Lovell will join the Ensemble of Vienna Staatsoper in Vienna, Austria.

Mozart's "No. 40" (Symphony in G minor, K. 550) was one of his last three symphonies that resulted from his extraordinarily creative summer of 1788. In the space of slightly over six weeks, he composed three different symphonies. Of the three, Symphony No. 40 is the most original and has had the greatest influence on future composers. Few works from then 18th century are as intense, chromatic and unconventional. The choice of key is, in itself, a measure of the work's depth. Mozart wrote only three substantial works in G minor, a key that is commonly associated with the 18th century aesthetic principles of "lamentation" and "suffering."

Continuing a commitment to featuring women composers, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra is also featuring the work of Dorothy Chang. Described as "evocative and kaleidoscopic" by the Seattle Times, the music of composer Dorothy Chang reflects an eclectic mix of musical influences from her youth, ranging from popular and folk music to elements of traditional Chinese music. Her works are often inspired by place, time, memory and personal histories.
Chang's impressive catalog includes over 70 works for solo, chamber and large ensembles as well as collaborations involving theatre, dance and video. Her interest in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration has led to projects including a radio play adaptation of Gertrude Stein's White Wines, mixed chamber ensemble works for Chinese and Western instruments, and most recently, a collaboration with choreographer Yukichi Hattori in the large-scale True North Symphonic Ballet premiered in 2017 by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

Commissioned in honor of the 40th anniversary season of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Chang's Virtuositiesis a work that celebrates music history and tradition while also embracing the new and innovative. Virtuositiesseeks to find connections between the music of the past and present, either through points of intersection or through sharply contrasting juxtaposition. As an example, in the first movement, "To dream, perchance to fly," Chang created an electric-fast tempo and continuous swirls of rising figures meant to create a breathless whirlwind of energy, referencing elements of Baroque virtuosity within a contemporary context. The intimate and lyrical second movement, "Souvenir", features the beauty of a simple melody-and-background texture, enriched with an expanded sound palette of distinct colors and timbres. The final movement, "Mechanica," is an animated walking bass serving a constant driving pulse with an assortment of various short quotes spliced, layered and woven together.

Also on the program are Rossini's Overture to La Scala di Seta and a selection of great arias for tenor from Mozart, Donizetti, and Rossini.

Conductor Ward Holmquist has over 30 years of experience in the professional opera performance and orchestra-conducting field. After an influential apprenticeship with Houston Grand Opera under David Gockley, he rose to the position of resident conductor. In that position he led performances and complete productions of over 20 works for the company. Holmquist would later serve as an assistant professor and music director for USC Opera. In 1998 he began his 17-year career as artistic director of Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Holmquist programmed over 70 productions of traditional and new repertoire, including a world premiere by Kirke Mechem. Holmquist led the company into respected national prominence. He is currently working as a freelance conductor and coach.

Spanning the Centuries begins at 8:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 11 East 40th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The Pre-concert Talk with conductor Ward Holmquist about the music and composers will begin at 7:00 p.m. Individual tickets range from $20 to $30; senior and student discounts are available. Purchase tickets online at, Eventbrite or (816) 235-6222.

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