Wind symphony takes on the Kauffman

One sole oboe rings out over the crowd with a haunting concert “A”. The rest of the band joins in, adjusting pitches to all mesh together into one harmonious note. As it does at all musical performances, tuning started off the Conservatory Wind Symphony at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this past weekend.

The Conservatory Wind Symphony, one of UMKC’s many large ensembles, was directed by Steven D. Davis, the Rose Ann Carr Millsap Missouri Distinguished Professor of Music and Professor of Conducting at UMKC’s Conservatory. Davis is an internationally known conductor who has a great deal of experience leading a great range of various performance genres, including operas and ballets, in addition to musical ensembles.

The performance began with “Festmusik de Stadt Wien” by Richard Strauss; originally composed for the Vienna Corps of Trumpeters in 1943, the piece highlighted the brass instruments and their wide range of abilities from peaceful melodic sections to bombastic explosions of harmonized sound.

The piano was then showcased in the following piece, “Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments” by Igor Stravinsky, by guest artist Thomas Rosenkranz, Associate Professor of Piano at UMKC and intercontinental performer. Though the piano leads the musical conversation, the give and take combines to create phenomenal experience.

Lastly, the performance concluded with Symphonie: “Mathis der Maler” by Paul Hindemith, a shortened version of the full-length opera Hindemith wrote by the same name. It is inspired by the life of Mathias Grunewald, a painter, and the series of religious paintings that hang in St. Anthony’s Church in Germany. The audience themselves went through a religious experience similar to Grunewald with the extended woodwind runs and sparkling of xylophone and triangle while following his journey.

Even if you aren’t a big fan of classical music, the pure dedication of Davis and the Symphony personnel and their countless hours of practice ignite deep appreciation of what it takes to produce such beautiful art.

Be sure to attend their next performance on November 2nd at the Kauffman Center, “Crescendo: Rhythm of a City.” 

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