Metro Weekly

Classical & Choral: Fall Arts Preview 2016

From Beethoven to Williams and Schubert to Sondheim, here's everything classical and choral in D.C. this fall

Brian Ganz appearing with The National Philharmonic Orchestra

Brian Ganz appearing with The National Philharmonic Orchestra

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the early music-focused Folger Consort has recruited Sir Derek Jacobi and his partner Richard Clifford to recite Shakespearean verse from the Kennedy Center stage. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra ends its year-long centennial celebration with a four-day Beethoven Festival and the performance of one of the most inspiring works in the classical canon, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Every year seems to bring more pops repertoire into that canon, with higher profile pop stars too — and it doesn’t get much higher than Diana Ross with the National Symphony Orchestra. Even more unavoidable is the Nutcracker and Messiah — and holiday sing-alongs in general. But if you can only go to one holiday show, you’re sure to get the most bang for your buck with the Gay Men’s Chorus. All the others might be heartwarming, spirit-raising — nice. Those bawdy boys? They’re “Naughty and Nice.”


GW Lisner
730 21st St. NW

  • I’ll Be Seeing You: A World War II Story — Broadway’s Ron Raines, Florence Lacey, Claybourne Elder, and Rachel Eskenazi-Gold star in a production featuring popular tunes from World War II and based on actual letters exchanged between “Spark” and Charley Frazier, American Pops conductor Luke Frazier’s grandparents (11/11)
  • Don’t Rain on My Parade: 75 Years of Streisand — Amber Iman, Lindsay Mendez and Laura Osnes are just some of the female vocal powerhouses Frazier has lined up to help toast Babs (1/13)


1333 H St. NE

  • Souvenirs Ensemble — Keyla Orozco leads this ensemble in recent works by Latin-American composers Silvestre Revueltas, Eddy Mora, Gabriela Lena Frank and Orozco himself (9/29)
  • Oran EtkinWhat’s New? Reimagining Benny Goodman (10/15)
  • UrbanArias: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat — Composer Michael Nyman (The Piano and Gattaca) has developed a short opera based on the novella by Oliver Sacks (10/15-16, 10/21-22)
  • Great Noise Ensemble — Adventurous contemporary classical ensemble celebrates the life and music of 80-year-old composer Steve Reich, including his incredible setting of four Hebrew songs for voices and chamber ensemble and one of his newest works, Radio Rewrite, based on the songs of Radiohead (10/15)
  • Capital City Symphony — A family concert of “Ghoulishly Good Music!” (10/16)
  • Capital City Symphony — “A Night in Paris” celebrates the beauty of French music, from Faure’s delicate Pavane to Ravel’s arrangements of Debussy’s Sarabande and Danse (11/20)


National Museum of Natural History
10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW

  • Smithsonian Chamber Players — A turn-of-the-century Viennese program featuring Schonberg, Barber, and Penderecki (10/8-9)
  • An Evening of Indian Classical Music: Harsh Narayan, Aditya Kalyanpur — Rising young virtuoso of the traditional string sarangi is accompanied by tabla player for a program of classical ragas of India co-presented by the Freer and Sackler Galleries (10/27, S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW)
  • What Makes It Great?: Rob Kapilow with Michael Winther and Nikki Renee Daniels — Former NPR music commentator leads an examination of seminal musical works focusing on musical theater pioneer Harold Arlen (10/30)
  • Emerson String Quartet — Renowned ensemble kicks off its 40th anniversary season with Mozart, Shostakovich and Ravel (11/19)
  • The Axelrod String QuartetThe Art of the Fugue, written during Johann Sebastian Bach’s final decade (11/19-20)
  • What Makes It Great?: Rob Kapilow with Children’s Chorus of Washington — Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols (11/20)
  • Emerson String Quartet — Beethoven, Shostakovich and Grieg (12/11)
  • Philip Setzer — Emerson String Quartet member violinist in recital (1/8)



  • Gala Celebration Concert with Itzhak Perlman — The BSO kicks off its second century with Marin Alsop leading a program including Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (9/17, Meyerhoff)
  • BSO Pulse: Houndmouth (9/22, Meyerhoff)
  • Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 — Alsop leads the BSO in this heroic symphony, plus rising star Julia Bullock performs Villa-Lobos’ haunting and lyrical Brazilian twist on Bach (9/23, 9/25, Meyerhoff; 9/24, Strathmore)
  • Carmina Burana — Carl Orff’s soaring masterwork in a program featuring the world premiere of Lori Laitman’s Unsung (9/29, Strathmore; 9/30-10/1, Meyerhoff)
  • BSO SuperPops: Broadway’s Leading Men — Jack Everly leads Ron Remke, Ted Keegan, Ben Crawford and Kathy Voytko in a program of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sondheim and Rodgers and Hammerstein (10/6, Strathmore, 10/7-9, Meyerhoff)
  • Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 — Vasily Petrenko conducts a program that also includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring Inon Barnatan (10/14, 10/16, Meyerhoff; 10/15, Strathmore)
  • BSO Pulse: Brett Dennen (10/20, Meyerhoff)
  • Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 — A decade after being named Gramophone’s “Artist of the Year,” Angela Hewitt performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in a program led by Hannu Lintu and Dvorak’s pastoral work (10/21, 10/23, Meyerhoff; 10/22, Strathmore)
  • Witches, Wizards, Ghosts and Goblins — Newly appointed BSO Associate Conductor Nicholas Hersh presents spooky selections, including John Williams’ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain (9/29, Meyerhoff)
  • Movie and Music: The Nightmare Before Christmas — Constantine Kitsopoulos leads the BSO in a performance of Danny Elfman’s rambunctious, colorful score to The Nightmare Before Christmas while the movie screens (10/29-30, Meyerhoff)
  • The Nutcracker — Hersh offers selections from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet (11/3, Meyerhoff; 11/6, Strathmore)
  • Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 — Alsop leads a massive undertaking of the Mahler masterpiece that hasn’t been played by the BSO since 1992 (11/10, Strathmore; 11/11-12, Meyerhoff)
  • BSO SuperPops: Doc Severinsen and Friends: The Art of the Big Band (11/17, Strathmore; 11/25-27, Meyerhoff)
  • Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony — Beethoven’s most breathtaking work, in a program featuring the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and the St. Lawrence String Quartet (11/18, Meyerhoff; 11/19, Strathmore)
  • Handel’s Messiah — Edward Polochick leads the BSO and the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale in the beloved oratorio (12/2, 12/4, Meyerhoff; 12/3, Strathmore)
  • Movie and Music: It’s A Wonderful Life — Live score accompany screening of the Jimmy Stewart classic (12/15-16, Meyerhoff)
  • Holiday Pops with Storm Large (12/17-18, Meyerhoff)
  • Movie and Music: Star Trek — Hersh leads the BSO in a live performance of Michael Giacchino’s score to director J.J. Abram’s film (12/29, Meyerhoff)
  • Movie and Music: Star Trek Into Darkness — Ditto (12/30, Meyerhoff)


1635 Trap Road
Vienna, Va.

  • Bickram Ghosh’s Drums of India — Tabla player leads an electrifying drum ensemble (10/15)
  • Wu Han, Philip Setzer, David Finckel — Three of the most lauded names in chamber music perform Beethoven for a Founder’s Day Celebration (10/28)
  • Boston Brass (12/4)
  • Alessio Bax, Lucille Chung (1/8)
  • Ailyn Perez, Kim Pensinger Witman — Recital by an up-and-coming soprano accompanied by Wolf Trap Opera director (1/20)
  • International Guitar Night (2/1-2/2)
  • Cherish The Ladies (2/14-2/15)
  • Solas (2/16-2/17)
  • Masters of Hawaiian Music (2/25)


Kennedy Center Concert Hall

  • The Art of the Italian Madrigal — Songs of love and wit, tracing the evolution of the Italian madrigal through works by Monteverdi, Palestrina, Lauridsen and Druckman (10/15, Dumbarton Church)
  • Berlioz: Requiem Op. 5 — Scott Tucker leads the Choral Arts Chorus and Orchestra in a performance of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts (11/20)
  • A Family Christmas — Songs of Santa, Rudolph and Frosty are featured in a festive, participatory hour-long afternoon concert (12/17)
  • A Choral Arts Christmas — Holiday concert mixing seasonal classics, favorite sing-alongs and popular Christmas standards (12/18-24)



  • Brahms’ German Requiem — Robert Shafer leads an intimate performance and kickoff to the City Choir’s 10th Anniversary Season (11/6, National Presbyterian Church)
  • The Holly and The Ivy: Music for Christmas — A candlelight processional sets the stage for this annual concert featuring the full choir and brass ensemble plus one area high school choir (12/18, National Presbyterian Church)


Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H St. NE
202-399-7993 ext. 182

  • Fall Festival: The Music of Our Lives — David Simmons leads a spirited program featuring the American Youth Chorus and the NorthEast Senior Singers (11/5, Lutheran Church of the Reformation)
  • Fascinatin’ Rhythms: Celebrating Washington, D.C. in Song, Poetry and Dance — Duke Ellington’s rarely performed Sacred Concert is the featured work at an event including swing and tap dancers from Joy of Motion Dance Center and Capitol Movement, along with Howard University’s renowned jazz a cappella group Afro Blue (11/19, Church of the Epiphany)
  • Holiday Cheers — A Musical Champagne Evening for Grownups (12/10)
  • Holiday Sing-A-Long (12/11)



  • Masquerade Macabre — The Capital Pride Symphonic Band and Capital Pride Wind Ensemble kick off the season with “pieces from the darker, spooky side of music” (10/29, Church of the Epiphany)
  • Holiday Concert (12/11)



A 21-year-old series offering public access to foreign embassies and diplomatic homes in D.C. via classical concerts followed by receptions, aimed at “uniting people through musical diplomacy.” Ukraine: Journey to Freedom — A Century of Classical Music for Violin and Piano (10/7, Embassy of Ukraine)

  • Nilko Andreas Guarin, guitar, Melanie Genin, harp — In commemoration of United Nations Day (10/20, Colombian Ambassador’s Residence)
  • Cimbalom Duo — In commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising (10/26, Embassy of Hungary)
  • Levon Ambartsumian, violin, Evgeny Rivkin, piano — In honor of the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s Independence (11/2, Embassy of Armenia)
  • Darwin Noguera Jazz Ensemble (11/18, Embassy of Nicaragua)
  • Itamar Zorman, violin, Amy Yang, piano (12/1, Embassy of Israel)
  • Boutellis-Taft, violin, Angela Draghicescu, piano (12/8, Embassy of Romania)
  • French Cabaret: Adrien Haan with Howard Breitbart, piano (12/16-17, Embassy of Luxembourg)


Center for the Arts Concert Hall
George Mason University
Fairfax, Va.

  • Amit Peled — Celebrated cellist will perform Dvorak’s Cello Concerto on the historic Goffriller 1733 instrument once played by Pablo Casals (10/1)
  • Simone Dinnerstein, Brahms’ Great Beginnings — Christopher Zimmerman leads a program focused on the composer’s Symphony No. 1 and Piano Concerto No. 1 (9/19)
  • The Nutcracker (12/9)


Folger Elizabethan Theatre
201 East Capitol St. SE

  • Measure + Dido w/Derek Jacobi and Richard Clifford — Passages from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure paired with portions of Henry Purcell’s opera, Dido and Aeneas (10/1, Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater)
  • Roomful of Teeth — Grammy-winning vocal group performs a commission by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest (11/20)
  • The Second Shepherds’ Play — Mary Hall Surface leads a magical retelling of the Nativity story, combining festive medieval English tunes and a moving narrative performed by familiar faces on local stages (11/27-12/21)
  • Medieval Illuminations — London’s Orlando Consort joins for a program of music performed on medieval instruments (1/6-1/7, Washington National Cathedral)



  • Let’s Misbehave — A cabaret of true confessions (11/12, Atlas)
  • Naughty and Nice — Annual holiday extravaganza (12/10, 12/17-18, Lincoln Theatre)


730 21st St. NW

  • Ludovico Einaudi — Italian pianist and composer known for the film scores of The Intouchables and I’m Still Here (10/20)


Source Theatre
1835 14th St. NW

  • Who’s The Boss? — An uproarious double-bill of an early comic opera, Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, and a classic Victorian operetta, Trial By Jury by Gilbert & Sullivan (9/17-18, 9/24-25, Atlas Performing Arts Center)
  • The Romantics — A salon-style concert of Romantic music and poetry from Schumann and Heine and featuring tenor Byron Jones, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Mondragon, and pianist Carla Hubner (10/23, 10/29)
  • Goyescas — An adaptation of the Spanish cloak and dagger story inspired by Francisco De Goya’s paintings (12/7, 12/10-11, 12/17-18, GALA Hispanic Theatre)



  • The 17th Chinese Culture Festival Symphony Concert — Orchestral favorites performed by a high school orchestra from Beijing and another from Howard County, Maryland (10/2)
  • Joyce DiDonato w/Brentano String Quartet — Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano joins Yale’s Quartet-in-Residence for a Fortas Chamber Music Concert (10/5)
  • Harlem String Quartet w/Aldo Lopez-Gavilan — A Fortas Chamber Music Concert featuring the New York ensemble and a renowned Cuban pianist and composer (10/17)
  • Lawrence Brownlee — Ahead of his performance in Washington National Opera’s The Daughter of the Regiment, the heralded bel canto tenor offers an intimate concert in the Family Theater as part of the Renee Fleming Voices series (10/18)
  • Mercury Soul –The San Francisco Chronicle calls this ensemble a “genre-busting musical extravaganza” (10/24)
  • Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra (10/26)
  • Hilary Hahn — Three-time Grammy winner and area native plays classic works by Bach, Mozart and Schubert (10/28)
  • The Kennedy Center Chamber Players — Chamber masterworks by Beethoven (10/30, Sixth and I Historic Synagogue)
  • Takacs Quartet — Selections from Beethoven’s string quartet cycle (11/9)
  • De-Classified: Bryce Dessner — World-renowned guitarist from rock band the National and composer of The Revenant performs original compositions in a program helmed by Jacomo Bairos (11/18)
  • Atos Trio — Berlin-based group returns for a Fortas concert (11/21)
  • Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra — Semyon Bychkov leads what Gramophone has dubbed “the world’s greatest orchestra” in a performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony (11/29)
  • Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio — Kennedy Center’s Chamber Ensemble-in-Residence commemorates 40 seasons since its official debut at President Carter’s inauguration (12/7)
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra w/Louis Lortie — Yannick Nezet-Seguin leads the orchestra in Stravinsky’s spirited Petrouchka and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (1/24)


Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre
1611 N. Kent St.
Arlington, Va.

  • A Night in Vienna — Unforgettable masterpieces by Johannes Brahms and Franz Schubert (10/22)
  • Happy Holidays (12/10)


Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
Bethesda, Md.

  • Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 — Music Director Piotr Gajewski leads Strathmore’s resident orchestra in an all-Beethoven season opener also featuring pianist Brian Ganz performing Piano Concerto No. 4 (9/17-18)
  • Chee-Yun Plays The Four Seasons — Gajewski leads violinist in both Vivaldi’s and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons (10/8-9)
  • Music from the English Cathedral — Chorale Director Stan Engebretson leads the National Philharmonic Chorale (11/5)
  • Handel’s Messiah (12/19-20)



Kennedy Center Concert Hall

  • Season Opening Ball Concert w/Lang Lang — The NSO’s two principal conductors Christoph Eschenbach and Steven Reineke present an opening concert featuring “the hottest artist on the classical music planet,” according to the New York Times, plus R&B crooner Brian McKnight and jazz singer Nnenna Freelon (9/20)
  • Shakespeare at the Symphony — Edward Gardner conducts three works inspired by the Bard: Elgar’s Falstaff, Walton’s Suite from Henry V and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet (9/29-10/1)
  • Emanuel Ax — Star pianist plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 while Juraj Valcuha conducts another Bard-inspired program with works by Korngold, Dvorak and R. Strauss (10/6-8)
  • Nicola Benedetti — Violin sensation offers East Coast premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s Violin Concerto in a program led by Eschenbach and also featuring Tchaikovsky’s “Polish” Symphony (10/27-29)
  • Gianandrea Noseda — The NSO Music Director Designate conducts Prokofiev’s complete ballet score to Romeo and Juliet (11/3-5)
  • Donald Runnicles — Conductor leads the UMD Concert Choir in a program of Durufle’s Requiem plus works by Debussy (10/10-12)
  • Johannes Moser — Young virtuoso cellist makes his NSO debut performing Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, conducted by Krysztof Urbanski (11/17-19)
  • NSO Pops: Diana Ross — The Supreme Supreme and Kennedy Center Honoree performs her many hits, this time accompanied by the NSO led by Emil de Cou (12/1-3)
  • NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops with Laura Benanti and Santino Fontana — Steven Reineke conducts (12/9-10)
  • Handel’s Messiah — Laurence Cummings conducts (12/15-18)



  • Washington Here and Now — Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez leads the ensemble in Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole featuring violinist Akemi Takayama (9/16, Live! 10th & G; 9/17, Westmoreland Church, Bethesda)
  • Smaller Is Better — Three orchestral works have been reduced in instrumentation for this program, including Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor featuring Mayumi Sakamoto, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 (10/29, Live! 10th & G; 10/30, JCC of Greater Washington, Rockville)


5301 Tuckerman Lane
Bethesda, Md.

  • Yiruma — Performing melodious Korean compositions (9/25)
  • Jessica Krash — Wammie-winning classical composer leads soprano Emily Noel, flute player Laura Kaufman, and cellist Tanya Anisimova in a program of song cycles (10/6)
  • David Kaplan — Noted pianist (10/13)
  • Denis Matsuev — Pianist offers a recital of works by Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky (10/30)
  • China Philharmonic Orchestra (12/9)
  • Holidays with Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists (12/7)
  • Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert — This 16-year Washington tradition features the Strauss Symphony of America with vocal soloists plus dancers from the National Ballet of Budapest and International Champion Ballroom Dancers (1/2)



  • Philip Glass: Symphony No. 5 — Julian Wachner leads TWC, the Washington National Cathedral Girl Choristers, five internationally renowned vocal soloists and a full symphony orchestra to play a celestial-sounding work telling the creation story (11/13)
  • A Candlelight Christmas — The splendor of brass, organ, percussion and 200 voices singing Christmas classics (12/11, 12/17, 12/20-22, Kennedy Center; 12/19, Strathmore)


GW Lisner
730 21st St. NW

  • 30th Anniversary Concert — Soloists Angela Meade, Vivica Genaux and Michele Angelini join for this celebration of bel canto classics under the direction of Antony Walker (9/18)
  • Massenet’s Herodiade Michael Fabiano plays John the Baptist, Joyce El-Khoury is Salome and Metropolitan Opera star Michaela Martens takes on the title role in a dramatic masterpiece, based on Flaubert’s version of the biblical tale of Herodias (11/20)


Kennedy Center

  • The Marriage of Figaro — Mozart’s comic masterpiece is an exploration of the perils of temptation and the triumph of love (9/22-10/2, and 9/16 for a free Millennium Stage preview)
  • The Daughter of the Regiment — Lisette Oropesa and Lawrence Brownlee star in Donizetti’s comic opera about a woman who wants to marry a peasant, until a mysterious man offers to make her a proper lady (11/12-20)
  • American Opera Initiative: The Dictator’s Wife — The world premiere of this bitingly satire one-hour work (1/13-1/15)
  • Madama Butterfly — A bold staging of Puccini’s tragedy, in which an American naval officer betrays his geisha bride, leading to one of the most devastating final scenes in all of opera (5/6-21)



  • Brooklyn Rider w/Anne Sofie von Otter — Perennial favorite band offers an eclectic program ranging from The Beatles to Bjork with mezzo-soprano (10/8, Sixth and I Historic Synagogue)
  • Alisa Weilerstein — MacArthur Genius Award winner performs the complete Bach solo cello suites in one evening (10/16, UDC Theater of the Arts, 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW)
  • Zakir Hussain w/Niladri Kumar — Tabla maestro offers an intimate performance in duet with a virtuoso of the sitar (10/20, Sixth and I)
  • Llyr Williams — Welsh pianist widely admired for his musical intelligence and expressive interpretations (10/28, UDC Theater of the Arts)
  • Lucas Debargue — 25-year-old French pianist makes his Washington Performing Arts debut only a year after wowing the international scene at the 15th Tchaikovsky Piano Competition (11/12, UDC Theater of the Arts)
  • Eric Owens & Susanna Phillips — A program of works by Schubert by the Washington National Opera-affiliated bass-baritone and Metropolitan Opera soprano, accompanied by Myra Huang (11/13, UDC Theater of the Arts)
  • Tomer Gewirtzman — Israeli-born pianist (12/3, UDC Theater of the Arts)
  • Attacca Quartet — Quartet-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is “exuberant, funky and exactingly nuanced,” writes the New York Times (12/4, UDC Theater of the Arts)

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