By Brittany Young
On a warm summer night in early September, the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) performed an open-air concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to commemorate Labor Day 2018. The event was free and open to the public. Large crowds filtered in to see the city’s great symphony perform patriotic favorites (America the Beautiful, Servicemen Medley, Star Spangled Banner, etc), American classics (Copeland’s Three Dances from “Rodeo,” Shenandoah, etc) as well as some contemporary pieces featuring soloists from the orchestra (Bolcom’s Lyric for Flute featuring Aaron Goldman, Pryor’s Blue Bells of Scotland with trombonist Craig Mulcahy). The patriotic spirit of the night brought the holiday weekend to an appropriate close. However, the season of the Orchestra is only just beginning! Consider taking one night of an upcoming weekend to see the NSO. Not only is it a musical experience, but it is also culturally all-encompassing, in that you will hear the works of composers of our time and times past and witness up close professional artistry from the finest DC musicians, all at one of the most well-known music venues in the nation, The Kennedy Center, and while taking in the sights and sounds of city nightlife.
So, do you want to see the NSO? Keep the following events in mind! Throughout the school year there are always opportunities to see the NSO and other musical events at the Kennedy center. The full calendar of events can be found on the Kennedy Center’s website http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/index.
The National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Gala (Saturday, September 22 5:30PM @ The Kennedy Center) From the Kennedy Center Website: “The 2018 NSO Season Opening Gala will take place on Saturday, September 22 and will celebrate the beginning of Maestro Gianandrea Noseda’s second season as Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra. As part of the NSO’s season-long focus on space-themed programming, this event will highlight music’s relationship in expressing the vastness and spirit of deep space and space exploration. Maestro Noseda continues to lead the NSO to new heights and, through this event and beyond, is dedicated to exploring a new frontier of artistic possibilities with the Orchestra.”
Some Program Highlights include Claude Debussy arr. Leopold Stokowski Clair de lune, Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy, and selections from Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
The following week National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda Conducts Pictures From An Exhibition (Thursday, September 27 through Saturday, September 29)
“A rowboat approaching a desolate island. A goddess on a half-shell emerging from water. A bittersweet stroll through the gallery of a departed friend. Image and sound can link with extraordinary power when one inspires the other. NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda conducts a program of music inspired by the visual arts including Rachmaninoff’s The Isle of the Dead, a tone poem influenced by Swiss symbolist Arnold Böcklin’s painting; Respighi’s Trittico botticelliano, a triptych suite born from Sandro Botticelli paintings including “The Birth of Venus”; and Musorgsky’s blazing Pictures from an Exhibition, a series of movements that bring artworks by Victor Hartmann to symphonic life.”
The Program will include Rachmaninoff’s The Isle of the Dead, Respighi’s Trittico botticelliano, and Musorgsky/Ravel’s Pictures from an Exhibition.
Please consider supporting our city and our country’s National Symphony Orchestra. We are lucky to attend school in a location where performances of this highest caliber are so easily accessible to us. To take advantages of the orchestral opportunities in the immediate DC region and beyond is not only to expand the breadth of one’s knowledge musically and culturally, but also to enhance one’s position as an informed and appreciative global citizen.