Michael Stern

Michael Stern has embarked upon his second decade with the Kansas City Symphony, hailed for its remarkable artistic ascent, original programming, organizational development and stability, and the extraordinary growth of its varied audiences since his tenure began. Over the last four seasons, Stern and the orchestra have ushered in a new era and have performed to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences in their performance home, Helzberg Hall at the $400 million Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
To date, Stern and the Kansas City Symphony have successfully partnered with award-winning audiophile label Reference Recordings to produce five albums: Shakespeare’s Tempest; Britten’s Orchestra, which won a 2011 Grammy Award in the “Surround Sound Album” category and producer David Frost won “Producer of the Year, Classical;” an Elgar/Vaughan Williams project; Miraculous Metamorphoses, featuring the music of Hindemith, Prokofiev and Bartók; and most recently, Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3, which Gramophone Magazine named “Editor’s Choice” for September 2015. Reference Recordings has slated two project for future release: Holst’s The Planets (recorded January 2015) and Adam Schoenberg’s Finding Rothko; Picture Studies, an expressive interpretation of masterpieces at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and American Symphony, premiered by the Symphony in 2011 (recorded June 2014). Stern led the commissioning of all three Adam Schoenberg pieces.… Full Bio

Michael Stern Reviews:

“The KC Symphony, with superb direction from Michael Stern, sounds absolutely world-class. The orchestra has the full, rich, romantic sound that is so essential for 19th-century French music. And there is visceral excitement, too. The musicians are on fire, and they blaze with self-confidence…One gets the feeling that the Kansas City Symphony’s burgeoning discography will stand the test of time and that its CDs will take their place among the classics.” —Patrick Neas, Kansas City Star

“The KCS under the direction of Stern plays with clarity and crispness. Apparently, the KCS has been flying under the radar. But with this new recording, it is soaring higher and could be knocking on the door of the pantheon of American orchestras.” —Henry Schlinger, Culture Spot LA

“Mouth-watering and terrific music in good performances…The Kansas City Symphony plays with excellence and dedication, and Michael Stern solicits well-judged pacing and detailing…Worth considering” —ClassicalEar

“Stern and his players put the music across with dash and no little brilliance.”—John Quinn, MusicWeb International

“The Kansas City Symphony have been on a roll with Michael Stern…[Miraculous Metamorphoses] are works that provide conductor and musicians with a spectrum of atmospheres and colours into which they can sink their respective teeth. Stern and his orchestra do so to captivating effect, without resorting to sonic exaggeration. ….” —Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone

“Michael Stern’s Kansas City Symphony performance shows what can be achieved when a band on inspired form makes the effort to play what’s actually written. …It sparkles, abounding in oft-hidden detail.…” —Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

“I said at the start that this is my first encounter with the Kansas City Symphony – as, indeed, it was with Michael Stern; I hope it won’t be the last.” —John Quinn, MusicWeb International

“Stern offers a striking performance…” — Joe Milicia, EnjoytheMusic

“…the Kansas City Symphony sets its sights on another with a second all-English concert for multiple Grammy-winner Reference Recordings, featuring a revelatory Enigma Variations. From the outset, Michael Stern and his world-class band bypass the riddle by treating the theme with such spare, noble sentiment that the music takes on a transcendent air that honours the deep personal connections Elgar felt for the subjects of his variations…” —Laurence Vittes, Gramophone