KC Symphony music director receives honorary doctorate, presents commencement address
The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance presented Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern with an honorary Doctor of Musical Arts at its 2011 spring commencement ceremony, where Stern also presented the commencement address.
Stern is in his sixth season with the Kansas City Symphony. The Symphony and Stern concluded their first year together by making a recording for the Naxos label, which was released in 2007. Two additional CDs, “Britten’s Orchestra” and “The Tempest,” were recently released to critical acclaim on the Grammy Award-winning Reference Recordings label.
Stern has led orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic, Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, National Symphony of Taiwan, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony and the Vienna Radio Symphony, among many others.
Stern has been instrumental in partnering with the UMKC Conservatory, conducting the Conservatory Orchestra in the fall of 2010, and facilitating cooperative experiences between Conservatory students and Symphony musicians.
Beginning in September, Stern and the Kansas City Symphony will celebrate their first season in the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Among the first works the Symphony will perform is a new composition by UMKC’s Chen Yi, Lorena Searcy Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor of Composition.
“Michael Stern is a brilliant communicator and a gracious partner with UMKC’s Conservatory,” said Conservatory Dean Peter Witte. “Clearly, his tenure with the Kansas City Symphony has been transformational. As the Kansas City Symphony enters its new world-class home at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the future is even brighter. Mr. Stern has given much to the Conservatory this year, leading a superb concert with our Conservatory Orchestra, availing Kansas City Symphony guest artists and guest conductors to our students in master classes, and programming a new work by UMKC’s Chen Yi in the orchestra’s first subscription concert in their new home in 2011-2012. At its best, music is a collaborative art – in Michael Stern, we have a truly collaborative artist. As the university bestows its highest honor to our city’s music director, we look forward to an even deeper partnership in the years ahead.”