by Mark Linville // Fall 2011
It’s time to raise the curtain at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This month, Kansas City’s newest landmark will be home to UMKC Conservatory Artist Series 2011-12 performances. As part of the series, William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri Professor of Jazz Studies Bobby Watson will conduct “The Gates BBQ Suite” on Sept. 28 with the Conservatory Concert Jazz Band. In addition, the Conservatory Orchestra and Wind Symphony, along with the PRISM Quartet and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, will perform on later dates throughout the season.
The Kauffman Center was designed to rival some of the most famous venues in the world, including the Sidney Opera House and the Walt Disney Philharmonic Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In addition to its world-class architectural design, the Kauffman Center possesses some of the world’s best acoustics. Both halls are adorned with a system designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, BNIM architecture firm and architect Moshe Safdie. Toyota has also tuned the Walt Disney Philharmonic Concert Hall.
The 285,000-square-foot complex features two halls: the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and the Helzberg Hall, which will be the venue for three of the seven Artist Series dates this season. The Helzberg Hall seats 1,600 concert goers in the round, giving everyone a premium view. Helzberg Hall will be the new home for the Kansas City Symphony.
The Muriel Kauffman Theatre seats 1,800 people with balconies and elevated rows. Each seat is 22 to 24 inches wide with a monitor on the seat back that makes for easier viewing of the show. The theater features a 5,000-square-foot stage and a 74-foot fly tower. The theater will house the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.