The Saturday program of the British ensemble Voice will encompass the many moods of love, from the melancholy to the blissful. Photographer: Yoshitaka Kono Yoshitaka Kono
The Saturday program of the British ensemble Voice will encompass the many moods of love, from the melancholy to the blissful. Photographer: Yoshitaka Kono Yoshitaka Kono

Classical Music & Dance

The Classical Beat: Romance is in the air this week in Kansas City

By PATRICK NEAS

Special to The Star

February 08, 2015 01:00 AM

UPDATED February 07, 2015 09:57 PM

The 26-year-old French pianist Lise de la Salle is one of the most charismatic young musicians on the classical music scene today.

The Friends of Chamber Music will present de la Salle in recital Friday night at the Folly Theater.

Even though she’s only 26, de la Salle is already a seasoned performer. At the age of 9 she gave a performance on Radio France and has since racked up numerous awards and released several outstanding recordings. For her program in Kansas City, “Romantic Impressions,” de la Salle has chosen challenging works by Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

The first half will feature Brahms’ Theme and Variations in D minor and Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel. The second half will be devoted to French music, selections from Debussy’s Preludes and Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit.” “Gaspard,” inspired by the macabre poem of the same name by Aloysius Bertrand, is one of the most fiendishly difficult pieces ever written for piano. The “Scarbo” movement, which depicts a goblin, is especially renowned for its diabolical challenges.

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8 p.m. Friday. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. $15-$35. 816-561-9999 or www.chambermusic.org.

Park University: David Radzynski

The faculty at Park University’s International Center for Music are like fine jewelers. They take young musical virtuosi of the rarest talent and potential and cut and polish them until they sparkle with uncommon brilliance.

Pianist Behzod Abduraimov is one such gem, and now violinist David Radzynski has caught the eye of the international classical community.

Radzynski, a graduate student at Park studying under Ben Sayevich, has just been appointed concertmaster for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. You’ll have a chance to hear Radzynski perform a free concert Friday night at the Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the campus of Park University. He will be accompanied by pianist Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich.

Radzynski will perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Ravel’s gypsy-flavored “Tzigane” and Cesar Franck’s gorgeous Violin Sonata in A.

Students at the ICM learn through the European apprenticeship tradition. Master musicians like Stanislav Ioudenitch and Sayevich pass along their knowledge and experience to their pupils, but they also transmit something intangible. It’s a subtle yet very important quality that takes an excellent musician and turns him or her into someone who can utterly command a stage and an audience. Kansas City should be proud of Park University’s International Center for Music, which maintains that rarefied teaching tradition and gives to the world musicians like Abduraimov and Radzynski.

7:30 p.m. Friday. Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel, Park University, Parkville. This concert is free, but reservations are required at www.park.edu/ICM

Jim Brickman with the KC Symphony

When Jim Brickman is in town, love is in the air. Romantics with a taste for lush contemporary pop will be pleased to know that Brickman will perform with the Kansas City Symphony this Friday and Saturday, Valentine’s Day. Flowers and chocolates are fine, but for many women, Brickman would be the ultimate, swoon-worthy Valentine’s Day gift.

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. $40-$85. 816-471-0400 or www.kcsymphony.org.

Voice, “If Music Be the Food of Love”

William Shakespeare also knew a thing or two about romance. The Bard was well aware that one of the surest ways to a lover’s heart is through music.

As a character says in “Twelfth Night,” “If music be the food of love, play on.”

The British ensemble Voice is using that quote as the name for its Valentine’s concert Saturday at the Polsky Theatre on the campus of Johnson County Community College.

The program will encompass the many moods of love, from the melancholy to the blissful. Many eras will be covered, as well. There will be plenty of songs from the time of Shakespeare, but the group also will perform mystic music by the 12th century abbess, St. Hildegard von Bingen, whose love songs are of a more cosmic nature.

Voice, which was formed in 2006, takes great pleasure in bringing the British choral tradition to audiences around the world. While in Kansas City, the ensemble will perform at Children’s Mercy Hospital on Friday morning and will conduct workshops with vocal students at Baker University and Johnson County Community College. For more information about those workshops, contact Angel Mercier at 913-469-8500, ext. 4221.

8 p.m. Saturday. Polsky Theatre, Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College. $15-$30. 913-469-4445 or www.jccc.edu/theseries.

Kansas City Wind Symphony

The Kansas City Wind Symphony conducted by Phil Posey will warm you up for Valentine’s Day with “Celebrating Romance” Sunday at Village Presbyterian Church. There will be lots of lovey-dovey music on the program including a wind transcription of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” and the Wedding March from Richard Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin.”

7 p.m. Sunday. Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village. Free. www.kcwindsymphony.org.

Patrick Neas is program director for RadioBach.com. To reach him, send email to pneas@jccc.edu.