The BSO's "Off the Cuff" series sends audiences on a journey through the lives and times of the evening's featured composers. Music Director Marin Alsop engages classical neophytes and veteran symphony-goers alike with her lively 90-minute concerts. Analyze This: Mahler and Freud delves into the subconscious of the composer and psychiatrist, re-creating a meeting between the two as Freud mentally pokes and prods at his subject's psyche. Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony reveals the political drama of 1930s Russia, and Cinderella Suite explores Sergei Prokofiev's strained relationship with his fairy godmother. A free-for-all question-and-answer session follows each performance, and the evening concludes when several minor-league baseball players stop by to hit T-shirts into the crowd with a bat.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
When the Rolling Stones wanted a chorus to sing with them during their last gig on their "50 and Counting" tour, they knew who to call: The Washington Chorus. That unexpected melding of talent is a testament to the group's stellar reputation—the Grammy-winning ensemble is noted for its ability to engage a wide range of audiences. And they've done just that for more than 50 seasons, delighting ears with a repertoire of classical masterpieces and modern compositions. Equally committed to enriching their community, the chorus performs free concerts throughout the greater D.C. area, sponsors a junior choir, and gently corrects anyone who misspells "requiem."
One of the oldest symphonic choruses in DC, Choral Arts has sung alongside the National Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Mariinsky Orchestra (among others), before 100,000 people in Red Square after the fall of communism and as carolers on The West Wing.
Along with regularly airing the masters, the National Symphony Orchestra has commissioned more than 60 original works, and regularly provides educational opportunities and exhibitions to aspiring composers, conductors, and musicians. Since 1986, the symphony has been a stalwart affiliate of The Kennedy Center and puts on as many as 175 performances there annually. Seven crystal chandeliers presented by Norway to The Kennedy Center dangle below the concert hall's intricate acoustical canopy and stare down the organ standing sentry at the back of the stage.
Join the Columbia Orchestra, under the baton of music director Jason Love, as it closes out its 33rd concert season with "Creation and Destruction", a program exploring the beaming joys and tumultuous sorrows of the human spirit. The program kicks off with Radiohead's “Harry Patch (In Memory Of),” before bathing audiences in the sound waves of minimalist composer John Adams' "Batter My Heart" from his 2005 opera Doctor Atomic, which follows the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer as he copes with the burden of choosing between two similarly appealing auto-insurance companies. A cadre of 52 string instruments conjures the monolithic swirl of Krzysztof Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, before the Orchestra is joined by members of the Masterworks Chorale of Carroll County in a performance of selections from Franz Joseph Haydn's oratorio The Creation.