Where do the world’s finest musicians go to provide top-tier performances at gorgeous venues? Kansas City, of course — in the Midwest Trust Center, to be more specific.
That’s thanks to the work of Friends of Chamber Music, a nonprofit founded in 1975 with a mission to bring world-class chamber music to our city. Recently, we were able to experience it for ourselves with a performance of classical string music (think: Beethoven, Ligeti, and Dvořák) by the Verona Quartet.
This fall marks a new chapter for the Friends — not only is it the 47th season, but the organization also added two artistic co-directors who hope to bring together educational outreach efforts + community programming.
“This is a dream come true,” co-director Dmitri Atapine told us. “We’re crazy about [chamber music].”
What we tried (with pricing):
During the concert ($25), the Verona Quartet performed two hours (including intermission) of some of the most impressive string music we had ever heard. We especially noticed the physicality of the performance — the musicians were literally jumping out of their seats, and their phrasing moved their entire bodies.
Fun fact: Friends of Chamber Music nonprofit was initially conceptualized by founder Cynthia Siebert as a series of intimate, in-home performances — but has grown to attract the likes of internationally-acclaimed musicians like Yo-Yo Ma.
What not to miss:
Don’t skip the three-course, pre-concert dinner, especially if it’s date night. Our main course (besides great conversation) included a KC strip steak with mashed potatoes and veggies ($42), plus after-dinner coffee and cherry pie. There are also vegetarian options.
At dinner, you’ll also have the opportunity to chat with Friends members, the artistic directors, and fellow music-lovers, which was music to our hearts.
What we’re still talking about:
The Midwest Trust Center is a perfectly elegant venue for chamber music. The lobby opens into a gorgeous, multi-story atrium with stone artwork that depicts Kanza, Osage, and Shawnee peoples — honoring the Native Americans and the ancestral territory where the center now resides.
We also loved how welcoming the Midwest Trust Center staff was, including the friendly volunteers who guided us to our seats. It made the entire evening feel inclusive + approachable, even for newcomers to the chamber music scene.
How you can experience this:
This season has 15 performances scheduled through the middle of May 2023. That’s five more than seasons past, so you have lots of opportunities to hear great music.
The full schedule of performances is available online, so you can easily plan which performances, pre-concert lectures, and meals you’re interested in attending. Here’s one that’s playing our heartstrings:
- Emerson String Quartet, Yardley Hall at Midwest Trust Center | Feb. 18, 2023 | 8 p.m. | After 50 years as the world’s top string quartet, the Emerson String Quartet will play works by Beethoven and Schubert for its final tour.
Things to know if you go:
- Experience: Dinner, pre-concert lecture, and chamber music performance
- Price: $25+
- Website: Friends of Chamber Music
- Address: Performance locations vary
- Hours: Performance times vary
- Social: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube *