Music: Success in Kansas City

From the Kansas City Philharmonic came a cacophony of sweet and sour notes: the too-familiar sweet notes of Brahms and the too-familiar sour notes of an empty cash register. Conductor Karl Krueger had signed up with the Detroit Symphony. Sponsors debated whether to try out a new conductor or cancel the next concert season. In the end, they hired lanky Efrem Kurtz. Since that time, three years ago, they haven't had a moment's regret.

Kurtz found only 700 subscribers on the books for a ten-concert season. Today 46-year-old Efrem Kurtz runs one of the...

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