For 2019, NSO In Your Neighborhood returns to the Columbia Heights, U Street, and Shaw areas of our nation’s capital. All events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited to the capacity of each venue and available on a first-come, first served basis unless otherwise noted. Some events require advanced reservations. All events/artists/programs are subject to change and/or cancellation without prior notice. Read more
Merging the Latin Mass for the Dead with anti-war poems by a young officer named Wilfred Owen who was killed just days before the end of World War I, Britten’s War Requiem is an emotional indictment of war as a heroic myth, which Owen called ‘the Old Lie.’ As November marks 100 years since the Armistice of World War I, the NSO will combine forces with some of today’s most gifted voices and choral groups for this epic work. Britten said he wanted the soloists to represent “the three nations that had suffered most during the war,” and in this performance, NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda honors that tradition conducting a Russian soprano Karina Flores, British tenor Ian Bostridge, and German baritone Matthias Goerne.
Maestro Noseda shared some of his thoughts on the piece with us:
Ahead of the National Symphony Orchestra’s annual performance at the National Memorial Day Concert, broadcasted live on PBS each year, musician Glenn Garlick shares some memories of playing at the U.S. Capitol. Watch this year’s National Memorial Day Concert live at 8 p.m. on PBS. Check local listings.
I have been in the NSO since 1980 so I have played a lot of Capitol concerts. My memories of early concerts on the Capitol grounds are mixed…I am not sure which were Memorial Day, July Fourth or Labor Day. It seems to me that in the beginning we did not differentiate the holidays so much. Rather, we played a concert of generally light classical music for anyone who wanted to attend, with a lot of American classics (Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin) mixed in.
One problem with an outdoor concert is that Nature sometimes takes over and spills a lot of water on everyone. One such concert was due to be conducted by our then-Music Director, Mstislav (Slava) Rostropovich. Rain was predicted for the evening and our management was in constant contact with the weather service to determine if we should cancel the concert or try to fit it in before the storm arrived. The concert was scheduled for 8:00 p.m. and, if the weather service was correct, the storm would sweep through at 8:00. But, the prediction was that at 8:00 there would be about 20 minutes of very heavy rain followed by a beautiful, cool evening. Our manager, Henry Fogel, announced to the crowd that heavy rain was on the way, but if they could last it out and stay, we would still play. A huge cheer went up from the crowd and everyone hunkered down and covered up as much as possible.
A pair of ruby slippers will take you home, but where do a pair of sparkly sneakers take you? Right to a Young People’s Concert at the NSO, of course!
After a whirlwind tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg, the NSO is back home rehearsing for this weekend’s concerts in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. It’s fitting that immediately upon their return from Russia the orchestra will perform music by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
Shostakovich was a close friend of former NSO music director, Mstislav Rostopovich and his Symphony No. 5 is a favorite of the orchestra. Since the NSO was founded, it has been performed well over one hundred times! Here’s what NSO cellist Glenn Garlick had to say about the piece last time it was performed in May 2013.
NSO musicians consult a map of St. Petersburg to determine their plan for the few free hours they have in the city. Read more
Also buried at at Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery is Dmitri Shostakovich, one of Slava’s closest friends. Read more
Rostropovich Festival founder, director, and Slava’s daughter, Olga Rostropovich, with Maestro Eschenbach, welcomes the NSO to Moscow and to the festival on Wednesday morning at the start of rehearsal.
NSO music director Christoph Eschenbach conducts the first rehearsal of the tour on Wednesday morning at Moscow Conservatory — a musically important venue where many of the great Russian composers and musicians (among them Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, and of course Rostropovich) performed, taught, and conducted. Read more
Speakers take their seats at the press conference on Tuesday at TASS. (L-R: translator, NSO violist William Foster, Festival founder Olga Rostropovich, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter, NSO Concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef, and press event moderator).
All photos by Scott Suchman.