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JITTERS AND GENIUS

Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker remains a local holiday favorite
If you are looking for just one holiday event to attend, the Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker might not be the most inexpensive offering in town, but it’s probably the most solidly satisfying aesthetically.

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Tickle, fiddle and tap

The KC spring culture-feast begins
The Kansas City Symphony has an intriguing array of soloists lined up for the spring, from superstars to newcomers, and the first one I’m looking forward to is Benedetto Lupo, a marvelous Italian pianist with a substantial European career who only recently has begun to attract due notice on these shores.

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QUINK AND A NOD

Dutch vocal quintet slated for Venue Visitation sings music from nine centuries
Musical groups of all kinds have drawn on word-play for their names — from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Chanticleer (Geoffrey Chaucer’s “clear-singing” rooster in The Canterbury Tales) and Anonymous 4 (a quartet named for the unknown author of a famous 13th-century musical treatise). But one Dutch vocal ensemble may have gone those groups one further, by basing its name on a triple pun.

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CONCERTO WITH CONSCIENCE

Italian composer creates new work for Symphony, mega-flutist
Italian composer Luca Lombardi has admired the artistry of flutist Emmanuel Pahud since he first heard him play years ago. “I was very impressed not only with the beauty of the tone, but with the musical intelligence and sensitivity,” the 64-year-old composer said in a recent phone chat. “I like his earnestness but also his humor, his irony.

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UNEARTHLY VIRTUOSO

Pianist persuades through imagination, intelligence, muscle
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin has an uncanny ability to convince you, through the sheer force of his musical personality and will, that whatever he’s playing at the moment is the greatest music on earth — even music whose genius you might later, upon reflection, decide you’re not as sure about as he is. But at the moment he’s playing it, you believe in it.

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