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Sydney Menees


May 26, 2010 at 7:07 AM

Not much is more rewarding after a tough semester than drifting back into sleep after waking for a moment to hear your siblings hastily preparing for school.  Ahhhh.  Summer has arrived once again.  Returning home is a treat in itself, but being away can cause one to be out of the loop.  I experienced first hand a jolt of that sort on Saturday.   

My Saturday evening was every all-American teenager’s ideal weekend night: Thai food, friends, and the Kansas City Symphony.  Everything was going as planned: Dinner was delicious, the trip to the city was smooth, student rush tickets were cheap, and the program looked promising.  The lights dimmed and a disembodied voice made the following disconcerting announcement: “Filling in the position of concertmaster this evening will be **** ****.”  My initial reaction was, “How odd!  Kanako must have had a last-minute conflict.”  Without another thought on the matter, I let the music wash over me – Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Jennifer Higdon’s “The Singing Rooms” with Jennifer Koh as the violin soloist.  I was in good spirits as I approached my friends to converse with them during the break.

“So,” I broached small talk with my compatriots, “What’s with this new concertmaster guy?”

One of my peers answered me, “You know Kanako’s leaving.”

My world was shaken.  Kanako Ito.  The concertmistress I felt I had grown to know as I transformed into a symphony aficionado… leaving?  But I’d become so accustomed to her prowess and leadership of the symphony!  My head was spinning.

“Wait, WHAT?”

And so the fateful tale was explained to me. As it turns out, it’s not fateful for her at all.  Her husband won the position of principal cello chair in the BBC Scottish Orchestra, so they’re moving to Scotland.  For more details, here’s the press release.

As much as it pains me to see Kanako go, I must keep looking forward.  She has moved on, so must we all.  With the KC Symphony sounding the best it ever has and the new symphony hall opening in 2011, I can’t wait to see the masterful candidates who head our way.  


From Laurie Niles
Posted on May 26, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Sydney, I like this new word! Did you make it up? So many times, a situation that seems like a failure or a catastrophe ends up being a re-birth. I like it!

From Royce Faina
Posted on May 26, 2010 at 7:50 PM

My Sioux grandfather (Tankashiila in Sioux) always taught me that endings are preludes to New Beginnings.

From Bill Busen
Posted on May 27, 2010 at 3:19 AM

Well, I'm losing one of my friends who's going *to* Kansas City.  Travis Jürgens is the new director of the Philharmonia of Kansas City.  He was in my church and my School of Music Bible study.  If you're ever home during their season, check them out - he's a pretty communicative conductor.  (I don't mean verbally; physically, like a conductor should.)

And ask him about his Master's Recital, when the power went out right before Beethoven 4.  We relocated to the only sunlit room in the building, and about 50 people heard Beethoven 4 by a complete (Beethoven) orchestra - in a room the size of a living room.  WOW!

With period lighting.  :-)

From Sydney Menees
Posted on May 27, 2010 at 9:49 PM

 Yes, I realized it is in the most seemingly catastrophic situations that we make the biggest changes in life.  These changes can turn out for the best as well.  We'll see what happens....

From Sydney Menees
Posted on May 28, 2010 at 5:36 AM

 Bill, I will have to look him up!

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