Metro Weekly

Classical & Choral Music: Fall Arts Preview 2017

Every classical and choral event in DC this fall!

Classical — Illustration: Scott G. Brooks

The Kennedy Center gets a head start on centennial celebrations of Leonard Bernstein, hosting several tributes this season, months before what would have been his 100th year. The National Symphony Orchestra even opens its season — its first with new music director Gianandrea Noseda — with a tribute to the late, great composer.

Beyond Bernstein, there’s plenty of variety in the classical offerings this fall, from the Baltimore Symphony’s promise of a “Tchaikovsky Thrill Ride,” to the classical/hip-hop sounds of Black Violin at Strathmore, to the New Orchestra of Washington’s Día de los Muertos concerts. The Gay Men’s Chorus kicks off its season with a provocative fundraiser toasting the gay underground, while the Congressional Chorus offers a concert in tribute to those who have fought for equality.

Finally, in addition to all the usual Messiah and Nutcracker and Christmas Sing-Alongs, both the Washington National Opera and the InSeries offer a more operatic seasons greeting. To that, we’ll gladly sing Hallelujah.


The Mead Center for American Theater
1101 6th St. SW

  • Respect: The Music of Aretha Franklin — A tribute to the Queen of Soul featuring Moya Angela, Ariana DeBose, Nova Payton, Bria Skonberg, and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child (9/16)
  •  Tranquility: Yoga with the American Pops Orchestra — It’s as bizarre as it sounds: Yoga instructor Michael Peterson will lead a 70-minute practice accompanied by members of the orchestra performing songs from some of the greatest crooners, in a composition designed to marry music and movement (11/12, International Monetary Fund, 1900 Pennsylvania Ave. NW)
  •  Around the World in 80 Days — A new family show, adapted by Claybourne Elder from Jules Verne’s classic tale and told through songs from the Great American Songbook, featuring Hilary Morrow, Tiara Whaley, and Nurney Mason (1/6/18)


1333 H St. NE

  • UrbanArias: Shining Brow — Daron Aric Hagen’s new mini-opera, with a libretto by Paul Muldoon, relating the early career of celebrity architect Frank Lloyd Wright, his adulterous affair with Mamah Cheney, and the consequences of his enormous self-regard (10/14-15, 10/20-21)
  •  Capital City Symphony: 50th Anniversary — The symphony’s founding music director Louis Fantasia and long-time music director John Welsh will make special appearances at this season-opening concert that also honors current music director Victoria Gau, celebrating her 20th season (10/22)
  •  Capital City Symphony: Lyrical Strings — Featuring beautiful string works including George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s stunning Sunrise Mass and Haydn’s masterpiece Cello Concerto in C Major, performed by soloist Eric Kutz of the University of Maryland (11/19)



  • Tchaikovsky Thrill Ride — The Russian master’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor is the titular thrill ride in a program led by BSO Music Director Marin Alsop and featuring Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, one of the most popular works of the classical guitar repertoire and featuring Łukasz Kuropaczewski (9/14, Strathmore; 9/15-16, Meyerhoff)
  •  Poetic Fire: From Hamlet to Don Juan — Tchaikovsky’s musical telling of Shakespeare and Strauss’ tone poem Don Juan in an Alsop-led program featuring Lukáš Vondráček, interpreting Rachmaninoff’s beloved Piano Concerto (9/22, 9/24, Meyerhoff; 9/23, Strathmore)
  •  Movie with Orchestra: Jurassic Park — Associate Conductor Nicholas Hersh leads the orchestra in performing John Williams’ score while the sci-fi adventure is projected overhead (9/30-10/1, Meyerhoff)
  •  Wagner’s Quest — Selections from Parsifal featuring bass-baritone Alfred Walker along with Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy featuring BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney on violin (10/5, Meyerhoff; 10/8, Strathmore)
  •  Cirque Goes Broadway — Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly leads the BSO and soloists as the aeralists in Troupe Vertigo perform (10/12, Strathmore, 10/13-15, Meyerhoff)
  •  BSO Pulse: Esperanza Spalding (10/19, Meyerhoff)
  •  Symphonic Stories — Jonathan Biss performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major (known from the film Elvira Madigan), in a Jun Märkl-led program also featuring the grisly Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns and Strauss’ quintessential tone poem Don Quixote (10/20, 10/22, Meyerhoff; 10/21, Strathmore)
  •  Sol Gabetta Performs Tchaikovsky — Variations on a Rococo Theme is the featured attraction, but Mendelssohn, Debussy and R. Strauss also contribute to the mood of this romantic Alsop-led program (10/27, 10/29, Meyerhoff; 10/28, Strathmore)
  •  Movie with Orchestra: The Wizard of Oz (11/4, Meyerhoff)
  •  Pinchas Zukerman Performs Bach — The German violinist also conducts the BSO in a program of Schoenberg and Beethoven (11/9, Strathmore; 11/10-11, Meyerhoff)
  •  Andre Watts Returns for Rach 2 — Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor is the centerpiece of a Robert Spano-led program featuring a new work from Christopher Theofanidis in tribute to his fellow composer Stephen Paulus (11/17, 11/19, Meyerhoff; 11/18, Strathmore)
  •  Mozart’s Requiem — Alsop leads the BSO, soloists and the University of Maryland Concert Choir in a performance of Mozart’s powerful and mysterious final masterpiece (11/30, Meyerhoff, 12/3, Strathmore)
  •  Handel’s Messiah — Edward Polochick leads the BSO, soloists and the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale in the beloved oratorio (12/9-10, Meyerhoff)
  •  Home for the Holidays — A program of Christmas favorites led by Thomas Wilkins and featuring soprano Alison Buchanan and the Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers (12/16-17, Meyerhoff)
  •  Cirque de la Symphonie: Holiday Spectacular (12/22-23, Meyerhoff)
  •  BSO Pulse: Tank and the Bangas (1/4/18, Meyerhoff)
  •  Mozart’s Jupiter — Bernard Labadie leads an all-Mozart program capped by the beloved and revolutionary Symphony No. 41 in C Major that spans the breadth of human emotion, showcasing still-unrivaled compositional skill (1/5/18, 1/7/18, Meyerhoff; 1/6/18, Strathmore)
  •  Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists — Philip Glass presents the rare classical showcase for kettledrum twice over, here performed by the BSO’s James Wyman and NSO’s Jauvon Gilliam, in an Alsop-led program also featuring Saint-Saëns’ enchanting Carnival of the Animals, with added narration by Baltimore hip-hop artist Wordsmith (1/11/18, Meyerhoff; 1/12/18, Strathmore)
  •  Tchaikovsky’s Vivid Virtuosity — Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor featuring Gabriela Montero (1/19/18, 1/21/18, Meyerhoff; 1/20/18, Strathmore)
  •  Diva to Diva, From Ella to Adele: Ann Hampton Callaway (1/25/18, Strathmore; 1/26/18-1/28/18, Meyerhoff)


1635 Trap Road
Vienna, Va.

  • Founder’s Day: Lara St. John w/Matt Herskowitz — Wolf Trap Artistic Advisor and her frequent collaborator illustrate a passion for traditional folk music (10/20)
  •  Attacca Quartet — Internationally acclaimed young string quartet performs a program featuring Haydn, Beethoven, and Ippolito (11/5)
  •  Washington Symphonic Brass — Some of the finest professional musicians in the greater Washington area come “Home for the Holidays” 12/3)
  •  Krakauer-Tagg Duo — Vocalist David Krakauer and pianist Kathleen Tagg delve into the canon of works inspired by folk music, beginning with Brahms and Debussy and ending with their own arrangements (1/21/18)
  •  New York Festival of Song — “Bernstein at 100,” a program led by Steven Blier with fellow pianist Michael Barrett and a quartet of singers (2/2/18)


Kennedy Center Concert Hall

  • In The Land of Northern Lights: Music of Finland, Norway, and Sweden — An a cappella concert by the Choral Arts Chamber Singers, led by artistic director Scott Tucker (11/4, Live! at 10th & G)
  •  Claudio Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610 — Tucker leads the full chorus, special guests The Thirteen, and an orchestra in a work that brilliantly superimposes new music over traditional Gregorian chants, combines sacred music with secular styles, and alternates the grandeur of the large ensemble with solos and duets (11/18)
  •  A Family Christmas — Songs of Santa, Rudolph and Frosty are featured in a festive, participatory hour-long afternoon concert (12/16)
  •  Christmas with Choral Arts — A mix of seasonal classics, favorite sing-alongs and popular Christmas standards (12/17-18, 12-24)


National Presbyterian Church

  • Barber Adagio for Strings | Bruckner Mass in F Minor — Barber’s most revered work and an unappreciated work by Bruckner, 50 years after it was last performed in D.C. — a fitting nod to the beginning of Maestro Robert Shafer’s 50th season leading the chorus (11/5)
  •  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, this year James Humbert Blake’s A Cappella! (12/17)


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

  • A Starry Night at the Miracle Theatre (9/28, Miracle Theatre, 535 8th St. SE)
  •  Pass It On! — Folk songs from around the world (11/4, Lutheran Church of the Reformation)
  •  We Will Rise! — The search for equality, justice and freedom in song, poetry and dance (11/19, Church of the Epiphany)
  •  Holiday Cheers w/the Capital City Symphony — “A musical champagne evening for grown-ups” (12/9)
  •  Holiday Concert & Sing-Along (12/10)



  • Season still to be announced.



  • A 22-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”
  •  Members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam — A recital featuring a clarinetist, violinist, and pianist from one of the world’s leading orchestras (9/26, Residence of the Netherland Ambassador, 2347 S. St. NW)
  •  Jacques-Pierre Malan w/Sahun Hong — Cellist performs with piano accompaniment as part of a centennial commemoration of Oliver Reginald Tambo, former acting president of the African National Congress, in cooperation with the Science & Technology Train Project (10/19, Embassy of South Africa, 3051 Massachusetts Ave. NW)
  •  Jaroslav Sveceny w/Vaclav Macha — One of the most notable contemporary Chez violinists performs with piano accompaniment (10/24, Czech Embassy, 3900 Spring of Freedom NW)
  •  Nilko Andreas Guarin & Friends — Classical guitarist performs with cellist Molly Aronson and flutist Laura del Sol (10/27, Colombian Ambassador’s Residence, 1520 20th St. NW)
  •  Paisajes Sonoros: Paulina Derbez, Araceli Salazar — Representatives of Mexican chamber music of the 20th and 21st centuries perform a program of Mexican and European composers (11/7, Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th St. NW)
  •  Angela Draghicescu — World-class pianist performs in commemoration of the centennial of Dinu Lipatti’s birth (11/20, Residence of the Romanian Ambassador, 2500 30th St. NW)
  •  Farah Siraj — Dubbed the “Norah Jones of the Middle East” by New York Time Out, the singing guitarist performs with a backing band (11/30, Embassy of Jordan, 3504 International Drive NW)


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

  • Fairfax Jubilee w/Amit Peled — The FSO opens its 60th season with Elgar’s Cello Concerto featuring star Peled, plus the world premiere of a work honoring the 275th Anniversary of Fairfax County (9/16)
  •  Night of the Musical Tsars — Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring Claire Huangci and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 are the double-feature at a concert led by FSO music director Christopher Zimmerman (10/21)
  •  The Nutcracker –A Accompanying the Fairfax Ballet (12/16)


Folger Elizabethan Theatre
201 East Capitol St. SE

  • An English Garden: Music from the Age of Shakespeare — Although based at the Shakespeare-focused institution, this early music ensemble doesn’t often perform music from the Bard’s day, but it will kick off its season that way (9/22-24)
  •  Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming: Seasonal Early Music of Germany — The lute/organ/viol consort Arcadia Viols and vocal ensemble Cathedra joins the Consort and its viol/violin-playing co-founder Robert Eisenstein for a holiday program of music from the 15th to 17th centuries (12/15-23)
  •  A Branch of Freshest Green: Music of Hildegard Von Bingen (2/2-3, Washington National Cathedral)



  • Fall Fundraiser: Rope Burn — Pussy Noir, Sistr Mid9ight with Rich Morel, and 17th Street Dance join for a celebration of the queer underground, with vogue dance battles, fetish demonstrations, a Tom-of-Finland fantasy live model art gallery, and, yes, some singing (10/7, Dupont Underground)
  •  It Takes Two — Annual cabaret featuring chorus soloists telling entertaining stories of bawdy duets and sensual tangos (11/11, Atlas)
  •  The Holiday Show (12/9, 12/16-17, Lincoln Theatre)



  • Mozart’s The Magic Flute — Rick Davis directs Nick Olcott’s English adaptation of a fantastical masterpiece featuring princes, young love, evil queens and dragons, appropriately staged in a medieval-esque fortress (9/23-10/1, DC Scottish Rite Temple)
  •  Jacques Brel: Songs From His World — Steven Scott Mazzola and Reenie Codelka direct Byron Jones in a cabaret of songs, in French and in English, by the Belgian master (11/4-19, Source)
  •  An Operetta Holiday — Nick Olcott and Frank Conlin direct a holiday revue of tunes by Strauss, Lehar, Friml, and Herbert (12/6-10, GALA)
  •  Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood — Angelisa Gillyard directs Mattias Kraemer’s family-friendly musical tale of the Duke, performed by a jazz combo and singers with accompaniment by Stanley Thurston (12/9-10, GALA)
  •  All The Things You Are: Jerome Kern — Brian J. Shaw directs six singers and Reenie Codelka in a new cabaret revue (1/20-1/21/18, 1/28/18, 2/2-2/4/18, Atlas)



  • Bernstein on Broadway: A Centennial Celebration — Tony-winning director Kathleen Marshall leads a one-night-only celebration featuring Broadway veterans and a 40-piece onstage orchestra led by Rob Fisher in a romp through tunes from West Side StoryWonderful TownOn The TownCandide, plus selections from Bernstein’s Mass (9/22, Eisenhower Theater)
  •  Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra — A free concert by five orchestra members (9/25, Millennium Stage)
  •  Med Music Jinhai Wang — Music Olympics, Inc. presents countertenor who sings in style of Pavarotti & Lanza (9/29, Family Theater)
  •  The Kennedy Center Chamber Players — Acclaimed ensemble of NSO musicians opens its season with a journey through Baroque, Romantic and Contemporary musical eras (10/8, Terrace Theater)
  •  Emerson Quartet, Dover Quartet: 2-4-6-8! A Chamber Music Celebration by Numbers — Fortas Chamber Music concert of duets, quartets, sextets and octets, accompanied by Lisa Emenheiser (10/12, Terrace)
  •  Renee Fleming & Christian McBride (10/13, Terrace)
  •  Leslie Odom Jr. — Tony-winner for his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton offers a pair of performances per Renee Fleming Voices series (10/14-15, Eisenhower Theater)
  •  Sphinx Virtuosi — A 20th anniversary celebration co-presented by Fortas and Washington Performing Arts (10/15, Terrace)
  •  Opera Lafayette: Monteverdi — 23rd season opens with Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and other works, plus the debut of three young luminaries of the early music scene — lutenist Thomas Dunford, harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, and soprano Lea Desandre (10/24, Terrace)
  •  Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia w/ Martha Argerich — Iconic pianist and recent Kennedy Center Honoree returns to D.C. for an inspired concert with the famed Italian orchestra conducted by Antonio Pappano (10/25, Concert Hall)
  •  Nikolai Lugansky — The first D.C.-area recital in more than a decade of this Russian pianist, exploring the rich textural tapestry of Schumann, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff (11/1, Terrace)
  •  Cynthia Erivo — A Tony-winner for The Color Purple offers two concerts in the Renee Fleming Voices series (11/3-4, Terrace)
  •  New York Festival of Song: The Passion of Leonard Bernstein — A pair of Bernstein protégés, pianists Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, perform a tribute with vocalists to the legendary composer’s genius in writing for the human voice (11/5, Terrace)
  •  Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio — Heralded as “the greatest piano trio on the face of the Earth” by the Washington Post (11/7, Terrace)
  •  Verona Quartet — Fresh off a two-year stint as the Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School (11/10, Terrace)
  •  Leila Josefowicz in Recital — Renowned violinist and new music advocate Leila Josefowicz makes her exciting Fortas debut (11/11, Terrace)
  •  The Mariinsky Orchestra w/Daniil Trifonov — Valery Gergiev leads a program including Trifonov performing his own recently composed Piano Concerto (11/12, Concert Hall)
  •  Barbara Hannigan & Reinbert de Leeuw — A Canadian soprano and conductor, one of the world’s leading performers of contemporary opera, is joined by Dutch conductor, pianist, and composer for a Renee Fleming Voices concert (11/14, Terrace)
  •  PyeongChang Music Festival — A Young Concert Artists celebration of the 2018 Winter Olympics featuring this South Korean ensemble (11/20, Terrace)
  •  Angélique Kidjo — “Africa’s premier diva” (Time Magazine) returns to the Kennedy Center for a Renée Fleming Voices concert (11/30)
  •  Nathan Lee — He’s only 15, but this pianist has already shared the stage with the likes of Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Lang Lang, and won the 2016 Young Concert Artists International Auditions Washington Performing Arts presents pianist (12/2, Terrace)
  •  Andrei Bondarenko — Vocal Arts DC presents young Ukrainian baritone in his Washington solo recital debut (12/5, Terrace)
  •  Cantus — A Fortas Christmas concert by this eight-member men’s vocal ensemble from Minnesota (12/6, Terrace)



  • A Night in the Garden of Spain — Music and dance unite as NCE brings the premiere of a sensual and exciting creation with Bowen McCauley Dance set to Manuel de Falla’s Suite Populaire Espagnole (10/14, Gunston Arts Center)
  •  Holiday Cheer! — Classical masterpieces and holiday favorites, including a performance by NCE’s Outstanding Young Artist Achievement Award piano competition winner performs (12/16, Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington)


Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
Bethesda, Md.

  • Star-Studded Season Opening — Zuill Bailey performs “the king of cello concertos,” Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, at the first of two concerts, with the second featuring Santiago Rodriguez performing Grieg’s most popular work, his Piano Concerto in A minor; both concerts, led by Piotr Gajewski, showcase Sarah Chang with Bruch’s romantic Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor and Beethoven’s Egmont Overture (10/14-15)
  •  Bach & Bachianas — Journey across centuries and cultures in a concert pairing the Baroque master Bach with Heitor Villa-Lobos, who composed his nine Bachianas Brasileiras as a tribute to Bach and as an expression of the musical soul of Brazil; Gajewski leads the orchestra, soloists and the National Philharmonic Chorale in Bach’s Magnificat and three Bachianas (11/11)
  •  Handel’s Messiah — Once again Stan Engebretson conducts the orchestra, soloists and the Chorale in the uplifting oratorio that has become synonymous with Christmas — even though it was written for Easter (12/16-17)


Kennedy Center Concert Hall

  • NSO Pops: Blue Suede Tunes — The Music of Elvis, The Beatles, and More! (9/15-16)
  •  Season Opening Gala Concert w/Yo-Yo Ma, Cynthia Erivo — Gianandrea Noseda becomes the seventh music director of the NSO, debuting his tenure with an all-Bernstein program featuring a grand tribute from Tony-winning singer (9/24)
  •  Cameron Carpenter plays Copland — Cristian Macelaru conducts an all-American program featuring star organist performing Copland’s Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, plus favorites by Bernstein & Adams (9/28-30)
  •  NSO Pops: Seu Jorge — “The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie” (9/29)
  •  Arabella Steinbacher plays Brahms — Frequent NSO guest Nathalie Stutzmann conducts Steinbacher in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, plus Dvorák’s Symphony No. 7 and Lalo’s Overture to Le roi d’Ys (10/5-7)
  •  Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony — Conductor Juanjo Mena pairs Tchaikovsky’s stirring symphony with Barber’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Piano Concerto featuring soloist Garrick Ohlsson, plus the ghostly Auditorium Mason Bates (10/12-15)
  •  NSO Pops: Pink Martini w/China Forbes — A return engagement (10/26-28)
  •  Slatkin conducts Bernstein — Former NSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin leads two Bernstein compositions, the lively fanfare Slava! A Political Overture and Songfest, a tribute to American perspectives and writers (11/2-4)
  •  Declassified: Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring — Slatkin conducts the bold and famously controversial ballet score (11/3)
  •  Borrowed from Baroque: Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony & more — A Noseda-led showcase of three pieces that reach into the past and feature Baroque styles in distinct and innovative ways: Webern’s Passacaglia, Dallapiccola’s Partita, and Beethoven (11/9-11)
  •  Tastes of Italy, France & Spain — Noseda explores Respighi’s Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome), Chausson’s Poème, Gershwin’s An American in Paris, and Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat Suites No. 1 & 2 (11/16-19)
  •  NSO Pops: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert (11/24-26)
  •  Noseda conducts The Artist Abroad — An examination of three composers working abroad, including Prokofiev’s Paris-penned Piano Concerto No. 5 featuring Yuja Wang, plus Britten’s Matinées musicales and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances (11/30-12/2)
  •  NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops! featuring Megan Hilty (12/8-9)
  •  Handel’s Messiah — Jeannette Sorrell conducts the NSO, soloists and the University of Maryland Concert Choir (12/14-17)
  •  NSO Pops: Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration — A 25th-anniversary concert celebrating the acclaimed album that reinterpreted the oratorio, produced by Mervyn Warren (12/20)
  •  NSO Pops: Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (1/19/18-1/20/18)


Westmoreland Unitarian Christian Church
1 Westmoreland Circle NW
Bethesda, Md.

  • Día de los Muertos — The Mexican Day of the Dead is celebrated with Mozart’s magnificent Requiem in D minor, featuring the voices of National Cathedral’s professional choir Cathedra, plus two contemporary works by Javier Alvarez and Emmanuel Arias Y Luna performed by NOW’s new string quartet-in-residence, the Aeolus Quartet (10/28, Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th St. NW; 10/29)
  •  NOW Family Concert — Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez leads the ensemble in a performance of the enchanting and fun for all ages Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saëns (1/15/18)
  •  Carmina Burana — It’s the beloved dramatic classic, with a modern twist, arranged for two pianos and five percussionists, plus singers with the Washington Master Chorale (2/10/18, Live! at 10th & G; 2/11/18)


5301 Tuckerman Lane
Bethesda, Md.

  • Brasil Guitar Duo — The classical/world music collaboration of João Luiz and Douglas Lora is expanding the repertoire for two guitars, appearing in diverse, nontraditional spaces (10/12, Mansion)
  •  Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra — Melding the spirit, beauty, and distinctiveness of Chinese music with the precision, power, and grandeur of the Western symphony orchestra (10/22, Music Center)
  •  Rachel Franklin w/SONOS — An accomplished jazz pianist, Franklin performs with her own classical/jazz chamber ensemble featuring Christian Tremblay and Jonathan Miles Brown (10/26, Mansion)
  •  Joshua Bell w/Alessio Bax (11/5, Music Center)
  •  Black Violin — A marvelous modern mix of classical, hip-hop, rock, and R&B, this classically trained duo consists of Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester and Wilner “Wil” Baptiste (11/10, Music Center)
  •  Sonnambula — A Renaissance ensemble, bringing previously unknown music to light using the lush sound of the viol in combination with other early instruments, offers a concert of works by the Portuguese composer Leonora Duarte, the only known woman to write for the viola da gamba in the 17th century (11/16, Mansion)
  •  Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras of Strathmore — MCYO performs “Symphonic Devotions,” a concert with works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, and more (12/2, Music Center)
  •  Canadian Brass — “Christmas Time Is Here” from this formidable brass quintet with impeccable musicianship, theatrical flair, and heartwarming humor (12/8, Music Center)
  •  Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert — This 17-year Washington tradition features the Strauss Symphony of America with vocal soloists plus dancers from the Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine and International Champion Ballroom Dancers (12/30, Music Center)
  •  Catherine Russell & John Pizzarelli — “A Salute to Billie Holiday & Frank Sinatra” in a new pairing (1/5/18, Music Center)



  • Bernstein & Belshazzar — The U.S. meets the U.K. in Christopher Bell’s debut as the chorus’ new artistic director, a concert featuring Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Lauridsen’s Mid-Winter Songs, and the epic Belshazzar’s Feast by Walton (11/8, Kennedy Center Concert Hall)
  •  A Candlelight Christmas — The splendor of brass, organ, percussion, and 200 voices singing Christmas classics (12/10-22, Kennedy Center; 12/15, Strathmore)


Kennedy Center

  • Aida — The timeless conflict of duty versus desire rises like a pyramid in Verdi’s towering, impassioned epic, here with striking sets and costumes inspired by visionary artist RETNA (Now-9/23)
  •  Alcina — WNO’s first-ever staging of Handel’s masterful baroque opera, with world-class vocal talents (11/4-19, Eisenhower Theater)
  •  The Domingo Cafritz Young Artists starring in Alcina — For one performance only, WNO’s talented young performers take over all of the lead roles in the spellbinding opera (11/18, Eisenhower)
  •  The Little Prince, a Holiday Family Opera — Featuring a tuneful score by Oscar-winner Rachel Portman, this WNO revival also showcases the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists and WNO Children’s Chorus (12/14-17, Terrace)



  • Ensemble Signal w/Steve Reich — Brad Lubman conducts ensemble of 20-plus strings, winds, keyboards, and percussion, bringing a rare all-Reich program to one of the nation’s most storied concert halls, with the legendary composer in attendance (10/18, Library of Congress)
  •  A Far Cry & Luciana Souza — Brazilian superstar joins forces with the 17-string ensemble and five of the most distinctive creative voices in indie-classical music: Shara Nova, Rachel Grimes, Angelica Negron, Caroline Shaw, and Sarah Kirkland Snider (11/4, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue)
  •  What Makes It Great? w/Rob Kapilow — Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio gets analyzed and performed by musicians from the Curtis Institute of Music (11/19, Smithsonian Baird Auditorium)

For more Fall Arts Preview Classical & Choral listings, visit

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.