Metro Weekly

Classical and Choral Music: Spring Arts Preview 2019

Symphony, recital and opera performances coming to D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Joshua Bell, appearing at Strathmore

This Spring, two leading area orchestras will put their own spin on Verdi’s Requiem. The National Philharmonic is also one of two orchestras offering Beethoven’s 9th choral symphony. But if you prefer the German master’s heroic 5th, the National Symphony is giving you multiple chances to hear it — with a traditional run in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in April and then a reprise in July, under the stars at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center.
Among the usual slate of anniversary-pegged programs, the most notable come from the D.C. Different Drummers and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, both of which will be playing tribute to the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

But perhaps the most notable development this classical season is the many and varied efforts to shake up conventions and broaden the genre’s appeal — from the increasing number of crossover collaborations with pop artists and even hip-hop stars such as Nas, who will perform with the NSO this summer, to more headlining concerts with younger, intentionally genre-blurring acts, such as Black Violin (coming to Strathmore) and yMusic (coming to the Clarice).

And lest you think going to the opera, above all, is an intimidatingly serious affair, UrbanArias is quick to dissuade and disarm you. Opera Improv, anyone?


Arena Stage
1101 6th St. SW

  • Here and Now: The Music of Luther Vandross — A revue featuring Vandross’ biggest hits, presented in partnership with Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) and the Howard University Musical Theatre program (4/7, THEARC)
  • Music & Mindfulness Series II: Yoga with the American Pops Orchestra — It’s as bizarre as it sounds, a 70-minute yoga practice led by Michael Peterson and accompanied by members of the orchestra performing songs from some of the greatest crooners (4/13, Dupont Underground)
  • I Am What I Am — Closing out the season with a tribute to musical theater legend Jerry Herman featuring classics that have become American Songbook standards from Hello, Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles, Mack and Mabel, and more (5/18)



  • Capital City Symphony w/Beatrice Chen: Mythical Melodies — The 2018 winner of the Johansen International Competition joins to perform Béla Bartók’s Viola Concerto as part of the symphony’s Great Masters, Young Stars Series; program also includes Scott Pender’s Oedipus the King and Alan Hovhaness’ Meditation on Orpheus (3/17)
  • Jazzy Orchestra — Free Cafe Concert featuring musicians from the Capital City Symphony revealing their jazzier side by performing selections from Claude Bolling’s Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio (4/5)
  • Capital City Symphony: Songs of the Universe — Gustav Holst’s The Planets with video projections from NASA plus works by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo inspired by the northern lights and his homeland are featured in a season-concluding program (5/5)


Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
1212 Cathedral St.
Baltimore, Md.

  • Appalachian Spring — Music Director Marin Alsop conducts the world premiere of a BSO commission from British composer Roxanna Panufnik featuring the University of Maryland Concert Choir, who also joins the BSO to perform Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms; program also includes Villa-Lobos’ Chôros No. 10 and the titular work by Copland (3/14, Strathmore; 3/15-16)
  • Movie with Orchestra: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix— Jeffrey Schindler leads the BSO performing the score to this film from the J.K. Rowling series as it’s projected onto a giant screen in a CineConcerts presentation (3/22, 3/24; 3/23, Strathmore)
  • Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 ft. Lars Vogt — Renowned German pianist is showcased in a romantic program led by Markus Stenz also including Schoenberg’s lush orchestral tone poem Pelléas und Mélisande (3/28, Strathmore; 3/29-30)
  • SuperPops: Cirque Goes Hollywood w/Troupe Vertigo — Jack Everly leads the BSO in a program of Hollywood hits as acrobats, aerialists, and jugglers perform dazzling feats all around and above them (4/4, Strathmore; 4/5-7)
  • Porgy and Bess — Back by popular demand, an Alsop-led semi-staged production of Gershwin’s jazzy folk opera featuring the Morgan State University Choir and vocal soloists (4/11, Strathmore; 4/12-14)
  • Leslie Odom, Jr. — The Tony- and Grammy-winning Aaron Burr from Hamilton comes to Baltimore for a one-night-only concert of Broadway and classic hits accompanied by the Everly-led BSO (4/26)
  • Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra Chamber Concert — Launched in 2012 and comprised of three ensembles featuring over 250 of the region’s most talented young musicians, led by Nicholas Hersh (5/2)
  • Movie with Orchestra: An American in Paris — The 1951 classic starring dancing dynamos Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron screens as Everly leads the BSO in Gershwin’s extraordinary film score (5/2, Strathmore; 5/3-5)
  • Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto ft. James Ehnes — One of the world’s most sought-after violinists joins Alsop and the BSO in a program that also showcases Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, an exhilarating showpiece for large orchestra (5/9, Strathmore; 5/10-11)
  • Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras Concert (5/12)
  • BSO Pulse: Rhiannon Giddens — Grammy-winning folk artist and Nashville actress joins in a multi-part genre-crossing concert with members of the BSO led by Nicholas Hersh (5/16)
  • Brahms Violin Concerto ft. Jonathan Carney — The BSO Concertmaster takes center stage in a program led by Peter Oundjian also featuring Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, perhaps the most poignant and powerful of the Russian’s 15 symphonies (5/18, Strathmore; 5/19)
  • André Watts: Beethoven’s Emperor — Revered pianist plays the last and mighty piano concerto from Beethoven as well as the exhilarating, youthful Piano Quartet in G Minor from Brahms (5/30; 6/2, Strathmore)
  • Off The Cuff: André Watts: Beethoven’s Emperor — A performance and discussion focused on a single work led by Alsop (5/31, Strathmore; 6/1)
  • Mahler Symphony No. 9 — Alsop conducts Mahler’s magnificent masterwork, touted as “a vivid testament to the power of a live concert experience” (6/7-6/8; 6/8, Strathmore)
  • Movie with Orchestra: West Side Story — Alsop closes out the BSO season with a live performance of her late mentor Leonard Bernstein’s masterful score as the iconic film screens in high-definition (6/13-16; 6/15, Strathmore)


Kreeger Theater
6125 Montrose Rd.
Rockville, Md.

  • Miró Quartet — An all-Schubert program from this acclaimed 24-year-old string quartet from Austin (4/14)
  • Alexander Quartet & Joyce Yang — Van Cliburn International Piano Competition silver medalist Yang continues her ongoing partnership with this string quartet performing a program of piano quintets, two romantic favorites from Schumann and Brahms and a new work by Samuel Adams (5/5)
  • The Mount Vernon Virtuosi — “Spring is in the Air” with a program of Vivaldi, Haydn, and Sulkhan Tsintsadze performed by this new Baltimore-based chamber orchestra comprised of recent graduates from the Peabody Conservatory and led by cello faculty artist Amit Peled (5/12)



  • Into The Light w/the New Orchestra of Washington — A world of immersive soundscapes and projections making use of the shimmering acoustics of the venue with a program including Steve Reich’s Different Trains, a choral and double-string quartet arrangement of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and a new piece by artistic director Scott Tucker; featuring the Choral Arts Chamber Singers & Youth Choir, NOW with the Aeolus Quartet and production designer JD Madsen (4/5-6, Dupont Underground)
  • Gabriel Fauré: Requiem — A transcendent work performed alongside Psalm settings by Florent Schmitt and Lili Boulanger (5/19, Kennedy Center Concert Hall)



  • Baroque and Beyond — Artistic Director Robert Shafer concludes the 12th season with one of the most popular choral works ever written, Mozart’s immortal Requiem, as part of a program exploring the baroque influences that shaped the masterpiece, including Handel’s Messiah and Schütz’s Magnificat (Uppsala) (5/19, National Presbyterian Church)


Gildenhorn Recital Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.

  • Tim Powell, saxophone — A program of classical saxophone works by University of Maryland School of Music faculty member (3/26)
  • Maryland Opera Studio, Kurt Weill Festival: An Affair to Remember — Austrian-born soprano Ute Gfrerer, hailed as one of the greatest Weill interpreters of our time, is joined by UMD faculty member Tim McReynolds to perform a work subtitled The Love Story of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, presented as part of a year-long Weill Festival (3/29, MilkBoy ArtHouse, 7416 Baltimore Ave.)
  • Left Bank Quartet: Polish Revival from Beyond the Border — A program of works by two Polish composers, Grażyna Bacewicz and Mieczyslaw Weinberg, plus Beethoven’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, presented as part of the Year of Immigration multidisciplinary series (3/31)
  • Tomeka Reid Stringtet — A Maryland alumna, known for nimble improvisations with classical cello that makes her equally in demand in classical and jazz contexts, performs with seven string players and drummer in a unique improvisatory ensemble (4/5, MilkBoy)
  • Maryland Opera Studio, Kurt Weill Festival: Kurt Weill’s Zaubernacht and Mahagonny Songspiel (4/5-11)
  • George X. Fu, piano — A “heroic piano soloist” (Boston Music Intelligencer) returns home to Maryland to perform selected études by Debussy and selected works by Chopin as the final concert of the TaoArts Chamber Music Festival (4/9)
  • Maryland Opera Studio, Kurt Weill Festival: Street Scene — Widely acknowledged as one of Weill’s masterpieces, this opera, based on a story by Elmer Rice with lyrics by Langston Hughes, is set in a crowded tenement in 1940s New York City; production is directed by Amanda Consol with conductor Craig Kier (4/12-20, Kay Theatre)
  • Kurt Weill Festival: Weill’s American Songbook — A musical journey through Weill’s repertoire since he emigrated to the U.S. (4/13)
  • yMusic — Hailed by an NPR critic as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” this New York sextet flourishes along the lines separating pop and classical music (4/18, MilkBoy)
  • Astrid Schween, cello & Michael Gurt, piano — An evening of Romantic favorites by Franck, Debussy, Barber, and Popper performed by New York-born cellist and member of the Juilliard Cello Faculty, accompanied by prize-winning pianist and Louisiana State University piano professor (5/8)
  • Prince George’s Philharmonic: Season Finale — Music Director Jesus Manuel Berard concludes the orchestra’s 53rd season with a performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets, plus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major featuring soloist Rita Sloan (5/18, Dekelboum Concert Hall)



  • Jazz Hot!: Syncopated, Sophisticated & Sassy — Artistic Director David Simmons leads the organization’s 90 singers accompanied by a seven-piece Chamber Ensemble plus a bevy of dancers to perform an eclectic line-up of iconic jazz numbers, everything from ragtime to swing, bebop to bossa nova, hard bop to cool (3/23-24, Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW)
  • American Youth Chorus: May Concert (5/21, Miracle Theatre)
  • Let Justice Roll…: from Montgomery to Selma to Birmingham — The chorus and chamber ensemble perform a program of groundbreaking musical works shedding light on the nation’s racial inequality and celebrating those who have worked to bring justice, freedom, and hope (6/1, National City Christian Church)
  • Civil Rights Concert Tour (7/3-7)



  • Capitol Pride Symphonic Band: Pride in Concert — A concert of works, as written or newly arranged, inspired by the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, each of which are said to represent a particular color of the Pride rainbow flag; the Capital Pride Alliance will be the concert’s master of ceremonies (4/6, Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW)
  • Marching Band: Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (4/13)
  • DC Swing: The Royal Extravaganza — The organization’s jazz ensemble performs works with a “Kingly” twist (4/14, Jammin’ Java, 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna)


GMU Center for the Arts Concert Hall
Fairfax, Va.

  • Peabody Peled Cello Gang — Students from Amit Peled’s studio from Baltimore’s Peabody Institute perform works arranged for cello ensemble with Peled as a soloist; co-presented by Cellospeak (3/31, Providence Presbyterian Church, 9019 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax)
  • Inspiring the Next Generation: Holst: The Planets feat. the 2019 Fairfax County All-Stars Youth Orchestra — An ensemble of students selected through a competitive audition process performs side-by-side with the FSO in a program also including Jonathan Leshnoff’s popular Stardust and two pieces from Smetana’s Ma Vlast (4/27)
  • Verdi Requiem — Music Director Christopher Zimmerman closes out the season with a performance of one of the greatest musical masterpieces ever composed (5/11)


Folger Elizabethan Theatre
201 East Capitol St. SE

  • Tastes of the Mediterranean w/Piffaro, The Renaissance Band — Folger’s celebrated early music ensemble performs Renaissance music of 16th century Spain and Italy in a program presented in conjunction with the latest Folger exhibition and institution-wide project Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures (3/29-31)



  • Let Freedom Sing — A musical celebration of gay African-American culture through stories and songs reflecting diverse experiences and shared history (3/16, Lincoln Theatre)
  • Small Ensembles Extravaganza — GMCW’s GenOUT Chorus is joined by the company’s select adult groups Potomac Fever and Rock Creek Singers for a showcase of music from the world of pop and Broadway (4/6, UDC Theater of the Arts, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW)
  • Spring Affair 2019: Legends of Olympus w/guest host Jackie Hoffman — The annual black-tie gala fundraiser featuring cocktails, live and silent auctions, dinner, and entertainment (5/11, The Ritz-Carlton, 1150 22nd St. NW)
  • Stonewall 50 — The world premiere of one-act musical Quiet No More, commissioned by GALA Choruses as part of a program toasting the LGBTQ Movement and including reflections from GMCW members young and old as a kickoff Pride event (6/1-2, Lincoln)


Concert Hall
Fairfax, Va.

  • Kodo – Athletic artists give a visually stunning performance of the ancient Japanese artform of taiko drumming with astonishingly precise movements and the sheer beauty of the wall of sound produced (3/16)
  • Virginia Opera: Madama Butterfly — The season ends with Puccini’s magnificent tragic masterpiece revealing the depth of human emotion through lyrical duets and heartbreaking arias (3/23-24)
  • Vocal Pops Concert — Performances by Mason a cappella groups under the direction of Stan Engebretson (4/7, deLaski Performing Arts Building)
  • Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Chopin in Paris — A concert with illuminating commentary focused on eminent Polish composer Frédéric Chopin and the gorgeous pieces he created while in Paris (4/28)



  • La Paloma – At The Wall — The most famous and beloved Spanish zarzuela is given new life in a bold reimagining set on the Tijuana side of the border between Mexico and the U.S.; Nick Olcott directs a work from writer Anna Deeny Morales and composer Ulises Eliseo with Mexican folk dance choreography by Alejandro Gongora and featuring Corazon Folklorico DC (3/23-31, GALA)
  • Innovātiō: The Tale of Serse — Handel’s vibrant, revolutionary Italian-language opera is performed by soloists along with the In Series’ new in-house orchestra, performing on period instruments under the direction of Artistic Director Timothy Nelson, who adapted the work with a new English narration crafted from the poetry of Rumi (6/1-9, Atlas Performing Arts Center)



  • Benjamin Beilman in Recital — Charismatic young violinist returns for a Fortas Chamber Music Concert of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Frederic Rzewski, the latter, Demons, was specially composed for Beilman, accompanied by pianist Orion Weiss (3/21, Terrace Theater)
  • San Francisco Symphony w/Michael Tilson Thomas: Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony — Michael Tilson Thomas makes his momentous final appearance in D.C. as the symphony’s outgoing music director by performing Beethoven’s Third Symphony (3/23, Concert Hall)
  • 2019 John Philip Sousa Band Festival — Music Celebrations International presents a tribute to “the March King” featuring the Niceville High School Wind Ensemble from Florida and the Pitman Wind Ensemble from California (3/24, Concert Hall)
  • Christina & Michelle Naughton, pianos — Washington Performing Arts presents Wisconsin-native twin sisters exploring lesser-known works of four-hand and two-piano repertoire by five of the genre’s towering giants: Schubert, Poulenc, Schoenfield, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff (3/24, Terrace Theater)
  • Morgenstern Trio — A Fortas Chamber Music Concert pairing a delightful 20th century work with a Mendelssohn trio and a lighthearted favorite by Schubert (3/26, Terrace Theater)
  • Direct Current: Where We Lost Our Shadows — The U.S. premiere of Pulitzer-winning composer Du Yun and Palestinian videographer Khaled Jarrar, a multimedia work for orchestra and soloists, with Qawwali raga and texts by Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan, depicting the timeless struggle of human migration and its many effects (3/31, Terrace Theater)
  • Direct Current: Brooklyn Youth Chorus: Lovestate — A diverse choir of teenagers performs commissions (4/1)
  • Direct Current & KC Jukebox: Chanticleer — The all-male a cappella ensemble performs music by Robert Shaw, Kurt Weill, Steven Stucky, Ned Rorem, Queen’s Freddie Mercury, and Kennedy Center Composer in Residence Mason Bates, who presents the “Orchestra of Voices” as part of his new music series (4/2, Family Theater)
  • Direct Current: Caroline Shaw and Friends — Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and member of vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, joined by some musician friends for intimate performance (4/5, Terrace Gallery)
  • Zlatomir Fung, cello — A Young Concert Artists concert featuring a 19-year-old American cellist who’s already racked up numerous awards and performed as a soloist with several American symphonies, accompanied by pianist Tengku Irfan (4/9, Terrace Theater)
  • Lawrence Brownlee, tenor in Recital — Vocal Arts DC presents world-renowned singer accompanied by pianist Myra Huang (4/11)
  • Dénes Várjon, piano — Washington Performing Arts presents Hungarian pianist and onetime protégé of András Schiff and Alfred Brendel and regular collaborator with Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis (4/13, Terrace Theater)
  • The Kennedy Center Chamber Players: Works of Loeffler, Shostakovich & Brahms — Ensemble of NSO musicians perform a varied program of music (4/14, Terrace Theater)
  • World Projects Corporation: 2019 Washington, D.C. International Music Festival 2019 — A middle school band and a high school wind ensemble from California and another wind ensemble from Montana have been afforded the opportunity to participate in this year’s festival (4/21, Concert Hall)
  • Opera Lafayette: Alessandro Stradella’s La Susanna — The 24th season of the internationally acclaimed D.C.-based French-language opera-focused company closes with a well-timed co-production with Heartbeat Opera, focused on the Bible’s iconic story of sexual harassment and the perversion of justice, adapted with a female narrator and female savior (4/21-22, Terrace Theater)
  • Yevgeny Kutik, violin: Music from the Suitcase — Washington Performing Arts presents a performance of Russian miniature works drawn from the sheet music this Belarusian-American’s family emigrated with in 1990; accompanied by Anna Polonsky (4/23, Terrace Theater)
  • Itzhak Perlman, violin & Evgeny Kissin, piano — Blockbuster soloists unite for a grand evening of chamber music presented by Washington Performing Arts featuring favorites of the violin repertoire by Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms (4/28, Concert Hall)
  • Weilerstein, Barnatan, Khachatryan & Currie: Transfigured Nights — Four in-demand international soloists explore a program anchored by works that have gone through the act of transcription (5/9, Terrace Theater)
  • Iestyn Davies, countertenor & Thomas Dunford, lutenist — Vocal Arts DC presents the return to D.C. (5/14)
  • Russian Renaissance — A Fortas concert of classical works and jazz favorites, from Bach to Ellington, performed on classic Russian instruments by tradition-minded yet modern ensemble (5/23, Terrace Theater)
  • The Kennedy Center Chamber Players: Works of Poulenc, Penderecki & Beethoven — An eclectic program concluding with Beethoven’s Serenade for Flute, Violin, and Viola in D Major that concludes the season (6/2, Terrace Theater)


Gunston Arts Center
2700 S. Lang St.
Arlington, Va.

  • The Viennese Classics — Founding Artistic Director Leonid Sushansky leads a program featuring works by giants of the Classical Era, including Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 39 in G Major “Gypsy,” Mozart’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 32 in B Flat Major, and Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 70 “Ghost” (3/23)
  • The Contemporaries — The season finale features great contemporary music of our time, including the premiere of Alexander Goldstein’s Crossover Piano Trio and Igor Stravinsky’s The Suite Italienne, based on scenes from his ballet Pulcinella and performed with choreographed movement from members of Bowen McCauley Dance (5/4)


The Music Center
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, Md.

  • Sounds of New Orleans: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong — Virtuosic jazz trumpeter Byron Stripling’s electrifying and heartfelt tribute to Armstrong is billed as one of today’s most popular orchestral pops program; Stripling next performs from the Satchmo songbook with Strathmore’s resident orchestra led by Piotr Gajewski (3/30)
  • Verdi Requiem — A Beethoven acolyte, Gajewski leads a performance inspired by Bernstein’s monumental project of recording Messa da Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in 1970; in the Music Center, Gajewski conducts the orchestra and National Philharmonic Chorale with soloists Danielle Talamantes, soprano, Margaret Lattimore, mezzo-soprano, Zach Borichevsky, tenor, and Kevin Deas, bass (4/13)
  • Bernstein & Beethoven Part I — Inspired by W.H. Auden’s Pulitzer-winning poet The Age of Anxiety, Bernstein’s dramatic Symphony No. 2 is paired with Beethoven’s equally charged Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, which unfolds a personal narrative about the triumph of the human spirit; pianist Michael Brown joins (5/11)
  • Bernstein & Beethoven Part II — Arguably the greatest symphony in the history of Western music, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor “Choral” with the towering “Ode to Joy” is matched with Bernstein’s magical and joyful Chichester Psalms; a grand season closing concert featuring the orchestra, the chorale, and soloists Esther Heideman, soprano, Shirin Eskandani, mezzo-soprano, Colin Eaton, tenor, and Kevin Short, baritone (6/1)


Kennedy Center Concert Hall

  • Baroque & Beyond — Early music specialist Ton Koopman returns with more baroque and classical gems by C.P.E. Bach, Mozart, Haydn, and others, including several the NSO has never performed (3/14-16)
  • Direct Current: Philip Glass’s Itaipú & Lera Auerbach’s ARCTICA — Music inspired by the natural world, concluding with the soaring Glass work featuring the Choral Arts Society of Washington on Thursday and an Auerbach world premiere on Saturday (3/28-30)
  • NSO Family Concert: Symphonic Storytelling: The Travels of Babar — A concert mixing the magic of stories, images, and music, including the U.S. premiere of Raphael Mostel’s Return to the Land of the Elephants, based on Jean de Brunhoff’s The Travels of Babar (4/7)
  • Debussy’s La Mer & Ravel’s Shéhérazade — A colorful all-French program led by Yan Pascal Tortelier, including Debussy’s beloved sea-inspired tone poem and Ravel’s enchanting song cycle inspired by The Arabian Nights featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke (4/11-13)
  • Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony — NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda brings fresh perspective to the revolutionary, astounding masterpiece; program also includes Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 2 and Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn (4/18-20)
  • Seong-Jin Cho Plays Ravel’s Piano Concerto — Noseda presents a lively program with young piano virtuoso playing Ravel and the NSO performing Franck’s The Accursed Huntsman and Saint-Saëns’ stunning “Organ” Symphony (4/25-27)
  • Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique — Edward Gardner returns to conduct Berlioz as well as Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman, plus Sibelius’ iconic Violin Concerto featuring Renaud Capuçon (5/9-11)
  • Unexpected Italy (1): Liszt & Rossini — Vocal soloists join the NSO to perform Rossini’s dramatic Stabat Mater as part of a remarkable program led by Noseda also featuring Liszt’s Dante Symphony (5/16-17)
  • Unexpected Italy (II): Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini — Noseda continues the Kennedy Center’s celebration of his home country with a program of works by Respighi, Casella, and one of Rachmaninoff’s best-known works featuring pianist Francesco Piemontesi (5/30-6/1)
  • Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony — A Noseda-led program of folk-inspired pieces including Berio’s Folk Songs featuring mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili and Copland’s cowboy ballet Billy the Kid, as well as the Dvořák masterpiece (6/6-9)
  • Mozart Forever I — The first in a three-part salute to Amadeus, with Nathalie Stutzmann leading the delightful overture to The Marriage of Figaro and the “Haffner” Symphony, plus the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola featuring Nurit Bar-Josef and Daniel Foster, and the Bassoon Concerto featuring Sue Heineman (6/14-15)
  • Mozart Forever II — Stutzmann continues the tribute with a performance of the dramatic Overture to Don Giovanni, the Symphonies No. 25 and No. 40, and the Horn Concerto No. 4 featuring Abel Pereira (6/18-19)
  • Mozart Forever III — The glorious “Jupiter” Symphony and the famous Overture to The Magic Flute are part of the concluding concert of the Stutzmann-led Mozart celebration — and of the NSO season as well — which also sees NSO principals Aaron Goldman and Adriana Home featured in the Concerto for Flute and Harp (6/21-22)



  • NOWFest 2019 Concert and Gala — A special evening honoring this year’s ArtsMatter Award recipient Neeta Helms, founder and CEO of Classical Movements (3/30, Organization of American States)
  • Re(new)al w/Sandbox Percussion — New York-based percussion quartet joins NOW for a season closing concert featuring the titular percussion concerto from Viet Cuong along with John Luther Adams’ Three Canticles of the Birds (5/4, Church of the Epiphany)
  • Family Concert (6/1, Temple Emanuel, Kensington, Md.)


Music Room
1600 21th St. NW

  • Pavel Haas Quartet — String ensemble, named after the Czech composer who perished in Auschwitz, makes its Phillips debut with works by Martinů, Smetana, and Dvořák (3/17)
  • Andreas Staier — Internationally renowned fortepianist (and harpsichordist) debuts with works by C.P.E. Bach, Haydn, and Mozart (3/24)
  • Leading International Composer: Tania León — Cuban-born composer, conductor, and educator gets celebrated via a concert featuring University of Maryland School of Music faculty and students (3/28)
  • Carolin Widmann, violin & Gloria Chien, piano — Duo makes their D.C. debut with Beethoven, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Jörg Widmann (3/31)
  • Castalian Quartet — Exciting young ensemble, first prize winners of the Lyon International Chamber Music Competition in 2015, makes its U.S. debut with Haydn, Britten, and Schubert (4/7)
  • Daniel Hope, violin & Vanessa Perez, piano — Works by Enescu, Bach, Mendelssohn, Bartók, Ravel, and Walton from the youngest-ever member of the Beaux Arts Trio and a chamber music partner to Joshua Bell and cellist Jan Vogler, respectively (4/14)
  • Quatuor Danel — A rare chance to hear the full cycle of extraordinary string quartets by the Polish-born Jewish composer Mieczysław Weinberg, a lifelong friend of Shostakovich, spread out across five programs: Weinberg’s String Quartets Nos. 1-3 (4/28); performing Weinberg’s String Quartets Nos. 4-6 (5/5); String Quartets Nos. 7-10 (5/5); String Quartets Nos. 11-13 (5/12); String Quartets Nos. 14-17 (5/12)


The Music Center
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, Md.

  • Montgomery County Youth Orchestra of Strathmore: Destino — Two spring concerts showcasing the range of MCYO’s four ensembles, the Philharmonic, Chamber Strings, Young Artists, and Symphony (3/17)
  • Strathmore Children’s Chorus: Festival of Children’s Choirs (3/24)
  • Annapolis Symphony Orchestra: Cosmic Depth — The US Naval Academy Glee Club and soloists join the ASO for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 conducted by José-Luis Novo, in a program also including Eric Whitacre’s Deep Field conducted by the Naval Academy’s Aaron Smith (3/31)
  • Zoltán Mága — Hungary’s preeminent violin virtuoso and classical crossover artist who has worked with Kristin Chenoweth, Babyface, and Michael Bublé performs a diverse program accompanied by his exceptional orchestra, the Budapest Gypsy Virtuosi (4/7)
  • Black Violin — Classical-crossover duo of string superstars, known for distinctive multi-genre sound described as “classical boom,” perform on the Impossible Tour with special guest at this performance the MCYO Philharmonic Orchestra (4/9-10)
  • Carolina Eyck, theremin (4/11, The Mansion)
  • Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville: The Triplets of Belleville Cine-Concert — Canadian composer Benoît Charest leads his orchestra in a live performance of his Oscar-nominated score, steeped in the Roaring ’20s Parisian jazz scene, as Sylvain Chomet’s hit 2003 animated French feature is projected on the big screen (4/18)
  • Joshua Bell, violin, Steven Isserlis, cello & Jeremy Denk, piano — A trio of A-list performers team up again after their critically acclaimed album For The Love of Brahms, expanding the repertoire to four masters of the past two centuries, in a concert presented by Washington Performing Arts (5/1)
  • Strathmore Children’s Chorus: Current Music — The National Philharmonic Chorale Singers joins as special guests in a concert of works for children’s choir by living composers (5/17)
  • MCYO of Strathmore: Trip The Light Fantastic — Regarded as one of the country’s most outstanding youth orchestra programs offers two season finale concerts (5/19)
  • Evgeny Kissin, piano — Presented by Washington Performing Arts (5/21)


  • Opera Improv w/Jive Turkey — Local, innovative opera company presents a show mashing up the sung improv skills of its soloists accompanied by founder Robert Wood on piano, with the spoken improv prowess of local improv troupe Jive Turkey for audience-directed skits (4/7, Busboys & Poets in Shirlington)
  • Opera Improv: Dear God — A whimsical song cycle set to texts of children’s bedtime prayers, plus another round of improv games from UrbanArias soloists and Jive Turkey (5/19, Busboys & Poets in Shirlington)
  • The Juliet Letters w/the Inscape Chamber Orchestra — Wood oversees his company’s latest genre-defying offering, an immersive theater piece directed by Cara Gabriel starring soprano Melissa Wimbish and baritone Robert Wesley Mason based on a song cycle developed by Elvis Costello and the U.K.’s Brodsky Quartet (7/11-14, Signature Theatre)



  • Noontime Cantata Series (4/1, St. Peter’s on Capitol Hill, 312 2nd St. SE; 4/2, Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW)
  • Sounds of Spring — Consort’s new Artistic Director Dana Marsh leads a spring-inspired program featuring music for flute and harpsichord by Bach and his contemporary Georg Philipp Telemann and featuring soloists Colin St-Martin and Leon Schelhase (4/5, Live! at 10th and G)
  • Easter and Ascension Oratorios — J.S. Bach’s magnificent Oratorios demonstrate his versatility, juxtaposing the full force of the orchestra and chorus in expressions of unbridled joy with more intimate music conveying Jesus’ sacrifice for humankind (5/4, National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW)



  • St. Patrick’s Day Celebration — With a new artistic director who’s Irish, why not throw a party in honor of the patron saint of the Emerald Isle? Christopher Bell will lead a celebration with an Irish band, fiddlers, dancers, pipe players, and choral arrangements of Irish classics (3/17, Kennedy Center Concert Hall)
  • Duruflé’s Requiem & MacMillan’s Cantos Sagrados — Two deeply moving choral works from the 20th century give voice to the full range of the human experience (6/9, National Presbyterian Church)



  • Seasonal Spotlight on Women Composers: Florence Price & Thea Musgrave — Although the percentage of works by women composers performed by the largest American orchestras is in the low single digits, this progressive-minded organization, under Music Director Ulysses S. James, is intentionally bucking the trend, with a whopping 14 of 16 works on its current season docket composed by women, such as this all-female program, including Price’s Symphony No. 3 in C Minor and Musgrave’s Song of the Enchanter, plus Elinor Remick Warren’s Symphony in One Movement (4/13, Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW; 4/14, George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Dr., Alexandria); Eugène Ysaÿe & Amy Beach — Soloists Marc Ramirez and Olivia Hajioff join for Ysaÿe’s Amitie, Poem for Two Violins and Orchestra, on a program including Beach’s Symphony No. 2 in E Minor (6/8, Church of the Epiphany; 6/9, Masonic Memorial)
  • Youth Orchestra (3/24, Green Spring Retirement Village, Springfield, Va.)
  • Youth & Concert Orchestras: Side by Side (5/12, The Falls Church Episcopal, 115 E. Fairfax St.)


Kennedy Center Opera House

  • Faust — A deal with the devil goes awry in Gounod’s captivating French-language tragedy in three acts, in a production originated at Houston Grand Opera and directed by Garnett Bruce, with conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson (3/16-30)
  • Eugene Onegin — Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece of unrequited love missed opportunities, inspired by Pushkin’s novel, brought to life in a visually stunning production from the Canadian Opera Company, originally created for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and led by conductor Robert Trevino and director Peter McClintock (3/17-29)
  • Tosca — Ethan McSweeny directs a production of Puccini’s striking, suspenseful drama set in 18th century Rome, with elegant sets depicting grand Roman scenes provided by Seattle Opera (5/11-25)
  • 2019 WNO Opera Gala Concert ft. Christine Goerke, Soloman Howard & More — A grand finale to the WNO season with Grammy-winning Goerke, talented bass Howard, and more (5/18)
  • Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program: A Concert of Comic Masterpieces — A lively night of comic chaos featuring works from beloved operatic comedies, including selections from Giuseppe Verdi’s final masterpiece Falstaff (5/24)


1551 & 1635 Trap Road
Vienna, Va.

  • Sitkovetsky Trio w/Sean Lee — Violinist Lee joins for an exploration of the robust harmonies of two pioneering film composers, Kreisler and Korngold, plus works by Beethoven and Schubert (3/24, Barns)
  • The Swingles (4/5, Barns)
  • The Calidore String Quartet w/Puho Pohjonen — Pianist Pohjonen joins fellow accomplished young artists for another Chamber Music at the Barns debut with a program of masterworks by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven (4/7, Barns)
  • Wu Han w/Gloria Chien and Gilles Vonsattel — The Chamber Music season closes with a concert of astounding piano virtuosity led by artistic advisor Han and culminating with Stravinsky’s riotous The Rite of Spring, per a special four-hand arrangement developed by the composer himself (4/26, Barns)
  • National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic & Wolf Trap Opera: Porgy and Bess: A Concert of Songs — Hear the symphony, led by John Morris Russell, give Gershwin’s magnificently melodious music maximum sonic power, and hear “Summertime” in the almost-summertime, performed by the Heritage Signature Chorale and soloists Alyson Cambridge, soprano, and Joshua Conyers, baritone (6/1, Filene Center)
  • Steven Blier: 25th Anniversary — The out leader of the New York Festival of Song will be joined by fellow pianist Joseph Li and Wolf Trap Opera soloists for a recital celebrating his work and legacy (6/1-2, Barns)
  • Wolf Trap Opera: Merlin’s Island, Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis — A light-hearted parody inspired by 18th century French vaudeville and a daring German satire about unstoppable power and humanity’s resilience in a program directed by Richard Gammon and conducted by Geoffrey McDonald (6/22, 6/26, 6/28, 6/30, Barns)
  • NSO: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert — Steven Reineke conducts Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score live as the fourth film in J. K. Rowling’s franchise screens overhead (7/5-6, Filene)
  • NSO feat. Nas — Reineke leads a symphonic rendition of Illmatic, one of the most revered albums in hip-hop history, as a toast to its 25th Anniversary this year (7/14, Filene)
  • NSO feat. “Weird Al” Yankovic — The Strings Attached Tour, “a rock and comedy symphonic experience” featuring the legendary musical satirist’s original band, costumes, and props, augmented for the first time by background singers and a full symphony (7/16, Filene)
  • Wolf Trap Opera: Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos — A new production of this soaring opera featuring slapstick comedy and beautiful music directed by Tara Faircloth and conductor Emily Senturia (7/19, 7/21, 7/24, 7/27, Barns)
  • NSO: Tchaikovsky & Beethoven — Music Director Gianandrea Noseda makes his Wolf Trap debut in a program of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s thrilling Violin Concerto featuring soloist Ning Feng (7/26, Filene)
  • NSO: Disney Pixar’s Coco in Concert — Emil du Cou conducts as the animated film is projected on big screens (7/27, Filene)
  • Wolf Trap Opera Artists: Aria Jukebox — The audience gets to choose the arias to be performed by 2019 Filene Artists (7/28, Barns)
  • NSO: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert — The Spielberg classic is projected overhead as Emil du Cou leads a live performance of John Williams’ Oscar-winning score (8/2, Filene)
  • NSO feat. Sarah McLachlan — The Canadian chanteuse and founder of the all-women Lilith Fair Tour performs her unforgettable pop balladry, embellished and enhanced with symphonic accompaniment (8/3, Filene)
  • Shanghai Symphony Orchestra — Music Director Long Yu helps this venerable Chinese orchestra celebrate its 140th anniversary with a Wolf Trap debut featuring cellist and MacArthur Fellow Alisa Weilerstein (8/14, Filene)
  • NSO feat. Jennifer Hudson — The power-piped American Idol finalist and The Voice celebrity judge/coach with a Grammy and an Oscar to her credit performs her signature soul-pop music with rich symphonic accompaniment led by Thomas Wilkins (9/5, Filene)
  • The Piano Guys — YouTube stars and viral phenoms will perform their stunning mashups of classical and pop music live on stage (9/6, Filene)

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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