One of the most memorable experiences I've had in KPR's Live Performance Studio was the time guitarist Jason Vieaux came to perform for us while he was visiting Kansas City a couple of years ago. I was blown away by his virtuosity....and, by his fresh approach to teaching classical guitar. He's set up a system where he teaches his programs online....in one-on-one virtual sessions with students from all over the planet. Just this past year, Jason released a solo-guitar CD called, "Play." I've had the chance to play several selections from the album on KPR over the last several months. I was thrilled to learn that the CD was nominated for a Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. It's great when good things happen to good people! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Grammy win for Jason. At very least, it's wonderful that he's made it to the nomination level. I'm also quite intrigued by his upcoming project, due out at the end of January: a collaboration with harpist Yolanda Kondonasis. I'll be sure to feature works from the project as soon as it comes in!
I was not disappointed by last night's Messiah at Helzburg Hall. The Spire Chamber Ensemble delivered a magnificent performance! The period instruments were played brilliantly, and the singing was exquisite. Ben Spalding gave the works great tempos, and the music was performed with great sensitivity. This was a performance I won't soon forget. I'm already planning to make this a yearly ritual!
On another note, I want to take this time to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays. Thanks for listening to the program mornings on KPR, and thanks for your support of this station.
This is my first attempt at a blog....bear with me. I look forward to writing here about the music and arts scene in Northeast Kansas, and look forward to hearing your thoughts, as well! There have been many great concerts for the holiday season this year. KU Vespers is always a treat, the Kansas City Symphony had delightful holiday programs this year. The Kansas City Chorale, The William Baker Festival Singers, The Topeka Symphony and many others put on marvelous performances that delighted audiences during this festive time of year. For me, the concert I'm most looking forward to is the Spire Chamber Ensemble's performance of Handel's Messiah at Helzburg Hall tonight. The orchestra is a period-instrument ensemble, with some of the finest musicians in the country performing. The same can be said for the 16-member vocal ensemble. This small setting is very close to what Handel himself envisioned for this work. I've had the opportunity to see and hear the Spire Chamber Ensemble several times, and have always been thrilled by their performances. I am eager to see and hear this tonight....and, I will be sure to chime in here tomorrow morning with my thoughts. Have a great day!