UMKC Conservatory student performs for Yo-Yo Ma

Event takes place Jan. 21 at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts’ Helzberg Hall

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Wei Shen, a master of Music Performance student in the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, will perform in a master class with Yo-Yo Ma — arguably the most celebrated cellist in the world — at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts’ Helzberg Hall. Tickets are sold out for this event.

Ma will coach Shen and two other cello students. Shen, who is from Shanghai, studies with Carter Enyeart, the Conservatory’s Rose Ann Carr Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor of Cello. Shen’s pianist will be Conservatory Artist’s Certificate student Tate Addis, and they will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme”.

After Enyeart nominated Shen to perform in the master class, she was selected as one of three student performers.

“Yo-Yo Ma is an inspiration to all musicians — not just cellists,” said Shen, who has studied cello since she was 4 years old. “He is one of the greatest musicians, and it is a great honor to perform for him.”

Before enrolling at the Conservatory, Shen received a Bachelor of Music degree from East China Normal University and was a member of Asian Youth Orchestra and Shanghai Oriental Symphony Orchestra. She also was a substitute cellist for the Shanghai Opera House Orchestra.

The master class is sponsored by the Kansas City Symphony. Ma is in Kansas City to perform Johannes Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture,” Witold Lutoslawski’s “Concerto for Orchestra” and Antonin Dvorak’s “Cello Concerto” with the Kansas City Symphony from Jan. 20 through 22.

The Conservatory’s involvement in Yo-Yo Ma’s Kauffman Center debut reinforces the idea of a downtown UMKC Arts Campus. UMKC recently hired Helix Architecture + Design, Integra Realty Services and HGA Architects and Engineers to complete a feasibility study for a downtown UMKC Arts Campus. The firms will look at potential downtown properties in January, develop site plans and gather feedback from UMKC and the community in February.

One of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s “Big 5” ideas, the UMKC Arts Campus plan would relocate the Conservatory of Music and Dance, UMKC Theatre and other arts programs to a new downtown location, reinforcing the university’s missions to advance urban engagement and excel in the visual and performing arts. With the recent grand openings of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, civic and university leaders agree that a UMKC Arts Campus would enrich a growing arts district. In line with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s 2005 “Time to Get It Right” report — which said the arts are essential to attracting the young, talented professionals Kansas City needs to flourish — the UMKC Arts Campus could bring as many 1,000 students, faculty and staff downtown each week.

If the feasibility study proves the UMKC Arts Campus to be a worthwhile investment, the preliminary goal is to raise between $50-80 million for the move. Funding will rely almost exclusively on local revenue streams.

About UMKC:

UMKC, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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