Black Violin Performs Sold Out Performances for Audiences of All Ages at The Kauffman Center

“It was lit,” exclaimed one African-Centered College Preparatory Academy student after a Black Violin school Matinee on Wednesday, October 3rd. Many other students from across the Kansas City metro area echoes that sentiment as they returned to their school buses, noting that the show was “fabulous” and “amazing.”

Students enjoy the Black Violin Matinee performance. Photo by Cody Boston.

Black Violin members Kev Marcus and Wil B showcased their impressive skills on the strings while fusing hip-hop, pop, and modern sounds with classical tunes. In between pieces that had students up on their feet, Kev and Wil B paused to share their personal stories as musicians. Throughout the performance, they encourage students to pursue their dreams, break stereotypes and think outside the box. The Kauffman Center’s Black Violin school matinee brought more than 1,500 students from 24 local schools, ranging in age from kindergarten to 12th grade. When asked about her favorite elements of the performance, one student replied that she liked, “everything, but especially when I got to get up and dance.”

Through the Kauffman Center’s Open Doors program, young people can be a part of high-quality arts experiences like Wednesday’s Black Violin school matinee. The Open Doors Transportation Fund, Community Tickets, and Spotlight on Youth initiatives all work to give Kansas City youth diverse opportunities to experience the arts. Click here to learn more about upcoming performances and programming for young audiences.

Harmony Project KC with Black Violin members, Kev Marcus and Wil B.
Photo courtesy of the Kauffman Center.

After performing for enthusiastic students in the morning, Black Violin performed a second show for a sold-out audience on Wednesday evening. Prior to the Black Violin performance, students with Harmony Project KC, a local non-profit focused on youth development and mentorship, performed for guests as part of the Open Doors Live in the Lobby program. Not only did these Harmony Project KC students get to watch the Black Violin performance, they also got to meet Kev Marcus and Wil B prior to the show!

Ultimately, both Black Violin performances reached audiences of all ages and backgrounds and made for a memorable performing arts experience. The Kauffman Center was thrilled to showcase Black Violin on its stage while connecting so many young people to the duo’s innovative sound and powerful message.

Community Tickets Presented by:

Kauffman Center Launches Program to Feature Local Talent at Upcoming Performances

The Kauffman Center’s Open Doors Spotlight on Youth initiative presents Live in the Lobby, a new program designed to showcase Kansas City ensembles and individual artists. As part of the Kauffman Center’s mission to provide diverse arts experiences to the community, performance groups can now be a part of the new Open Doors Live in the Lobby program. Artists can apply to perform for audience members in Brandmeyer Great Hall prior to select Kauffman Center Presents performances. While elevating the audience experience, Live in the Lobby also connects Kansas City’s young and emerging artists to the Kauffman Center while they launch their futures in the arts.

Amado Espinoza, from left, and Andres Ramirez performing for Live in the Lobby prior to Kauffman Center Presents Punch Brothers concert. Photo by Cody Boston.

The first Live in the Lobby performance was presented by Folk Alliance International and featured Amado Espinoza and Andres Ramirez prior to the Kauffman Center Presents Punch Brothers concert on Sunday, September 9, 2018. Espinoza moved to Kansas City four years ago from Bolivia, where he found his passion for music. In addition to performing, Espinoza handcrafts instruments that are played around the world. Punch Brothers audience members enjoyed Espinoza’s and Ramirez’s performance in Brandmeyer Great Hall prior to the main event in Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

Photo courtesy of Harmony Project KC.

Harmony Project KC will be the next Live in the Lobby performers to showcase their talents prior to the Kauffman Center Presents Black Violin concert on Wednesday, October 3, 2018. Harmony Project KC is an arts-based youth program dedicated to promoting healthy development and growth of children through music. To learn more about Harmony Project KC’s programs, visit their website at

Local community groups and individual artists are invited to apply to be featured at Live in the Lobby performers at future Kauffman Center Presents events. In addition to showcasing and promoting emerging talent, the Open Doors Live in the Lobby program also provides performers with a stipend and tickets to see the headlining performance (pending availability).

Community groups, small ensembles, and individual artists can learn more and apply for Live in the Lobby at



The Kauffman Center’s Open Doors program offers transportation subsidies for schools to attend matinee programs, provides free community tickets to non-profit agencies, and designs opportunities for students to engage with Kauffman Center staff through workshops and internships. Through its various initiatives, the Open Doors program is vital to the Kauffman Center’s efforts to promote and invest in arts advocacy.

The Kauffman Center Open Doors program connects young people to the arts through three major components:

– The Open Doors Spotlight on Youth initiative contains several programs that inspire and nurture the next generation of artists, arts patrons, and arts professionals with access to the Kauffman Center’s staff, stages, and resources.

– The Open Doors Community Tickets program offers access to programming at the Kauffman Center for youth and families through reduced-price or free tickets.

– The Open Doors Transportation Fund offers funding to schools in the metropolitan area so that bringing students to the Kauffman Center for school matinee performances is more affordable.

Live from Here is coming to Kansas City

 Live from Here to Broadcast Live from the Kauffman Center on January 12th!

Acclaimed host Chris Thile will produce the live radio show January 12th from Muriel Kauffman Theatre

Tickets on sale 9/21

Kansas City, MO – An acclaimed national radio show will broadcast live from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts this winter, when Live from Here with Chris Thile brings its variety show format to Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The live radio broadcast will happen on Saturday, January 12, 2019, as part of the 2018-2019 Kauffman Center Presents series.

Tickets for the event range from $49 to $89 plus applicable fees and go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21. Tickets will be available through the Kauffman Center Box Office at (816) 994-7222, via the Kauffman Center mobile app, or online at

Media support for Live from Here at the Kauffman Center is provided by KCUR 89.3 FM and Kansas Public Radio.

About Live from Here with Chris Thile

Each episode of Live from Here with Chris Thile includes music from Thile and the show band, thoughts from Out In America presented by comedian correspondent Tom Papa, comedy sketches and much more. Live from Here is produced by American Public Media and is heard by 2.6 million listeners each week on nearly 600 public radio stations, online, and on the American Forces Networks, SiriusXM Radio, Radio New Zealand, and KPRG in Guam.

Chris Thile is an acclaimed composer and mandolinist. From age 5, Thile showed great proficiency with the mandolin and by age 8, he had co-founded the band Nickel Creek which would later win both a Grammy and multiple IBMA Awards. Thile was a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2012 for his exceptional creative work with the mandolin. He made his first appearance on A Prairie Home Companion in 1996 at age 15 during an episode about child prodigies, and later succeeded host Garrison Keillor in 2016. The show changed its name shortly after to Live from Here and is now its second season.

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2018-19 Season Guide

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts - 2018-2019 Season Guide

The eighth season of extraordinary and diverse performing arts experiences is underway at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City. As a major center for music, opera, theater and dance, and the performance home of some of the region’s leading performing arts organizations, the Kauffman Center hosts a wide spectrum of entertainers from around the world.

Pick up a copy of the 2018-2019 Season Guide to learn about all the events happening this season at the Kauffman Center. Highlights for this fall include the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s presentation of West Side Story; a world premiere of The Wizard of Oz from the Kansas City Ballet; classics concerts and special guests like Ben Folds and Leslie Odom Jr. with the Kansas City Symphony; and Kauffman Center Presents concerts with Black Violin and Brian Wilson.

Flip through the guide below, or pick up a hard copy at the Kauffman Center or in the September issue of SPACES magazine.

Additional performances are added throughout the season. Find complete event listings for all that’s happening at the Kauffman Center at

Kauffman Center ’18-’19 School Matinees Announced


The Kauffman Center’s Open Doors program is designed to create unprecedented access to the performing arts young people in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Programs contain many avenues that connect local youth to high quality arts experiences. Through the Open Doors Transportation Fund, Community Tickets, and Spotlight on Youth initiatives, the Kauffman Center impacts the lives of hundreds of Kansas City’s youth.

The Kauffman Center is proud to continue offering popular school matinees for the upcoming school year. These presentations and performances serve as field trips for area schools and offer the opportunity for students to enjoy the Kauffman center.

After nearly 4,000 students attended the National Geographic Live matinees in 2018, the series will return with presentations for schools in January – March 2019.  This season’s speakers will explore their work socializing with chimps and gorillas, discovering new mountaintop environments, and investigating the reigns of ancient Egypt’s female rulers. Tickets are only $2 each!

  • National Geographic Live: Social by Nature presented by Ronan Donavon
    Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – 10:30am
  • National Geographic Live: Life on the Vertical presented by Mark Synnott
    Tuesday, February 19, 2019 – 10:30am
  • National Geographic Live: When Women Ruled the World presented by Dr. Kara Cooney
    Tuesday, March 19, 2019 – 10:30am

    Photo by Joanna Polley

The Kauffman Center’s season will also feature a special school matinee by classical hip hop fusion group, Black Violin, on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are currently sold out, but educators are invited to please submit an application to be added to the reservation waiting list. All school matinee tickets are $2 each, and ticket applications are required. Click here to request seats for any of the Kauffman Center matinees offered this school year.

Tickets are also available for a wide range of matinees offered by the Kauffman Center’s resident arts organizations. Students can enjoy Peter and Wolf with the Kansas City Symphony, The Nutcracker presented by the Kansas City Ballet, and much more!

For full dates and information for all school matinees, visit us at