Tonight Christoph Eschenbach kicks off the new season of the National Symphony Orchestra with a bang, bringing in superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma and gay rising superstar organist Cameron Carpenter for a one-night-only concert. The NSO performs Bizet’s Carmen Suite No. 2, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with Ma and Saint-Saens’ majestic Symphony No. 3, better known as the “Organ Symphony,” featuring Carpenter in his NSO debut on the Concert Hall’s Rubenstein Family Organ.
But if you can’t make it tonight, you’ll have three other chances this week alone to hear that famous Saint-Saens’ piece. NSO organist William Neil, who actually christened the new organ last year with the same Organ Symphony, will play it again starting Thursday, Oct. 3, as part of the first NSO program of the season. The program also includes Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 21 and most notably the world premiere of a multimedia work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds. A co-commission by the NSO, Reynolds’s george WASHINGTON features actors portraying the nation’s first president at different ages and offering slices of his daily life, with text drawn primarily from his letters and journals.
The NSO Season Opening Ball Concert is Sunday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m., in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Remaining tickets are $175 to $250. The NSO performs its season opening program on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m., as well as Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 to $85. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.