National Symphony Orchestra - 2019-2020 Season & Subscription Info
Noseda leads a jazz-inspired evening with Yuja Wang
September 28, 2019
Our adventure begins with a concert of favorites influenced by jazz. Gianandrea Noseda’s lively program explores how great composers of the last century have embraced the distinctly American art form with gusto, creating unforgettable music that fans of all genres adore. Pianist extraordinaire Yuja Wang joins Noseda for Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, an enduring masterpiece reminiscent of jazzy vaudeville with high-paced rhythms and comical punch lines.
National Symphony Orchestra: Carmina Burana
October 3 - 5, 2019
“O Fortuna!” Carmina Burana’s towering first movement rolls in like thunder, announcing a celebration of spring, the humor of life in the tavern, and the joys and sorrows of love. Although the words were written by medieval monks, Orff’s outrageous cantata is an unstoppable force brimming with decadent debauchery. Under the baton of Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, the Orchestra is joined by two choruses and three remarkable singers for a symphonic experience sacred and profane.
National Symphony Orchestra: Janowski conducts Bruckner's Seventh / Steinbacher plays Mozart
October 10 - 12, 2019
Hailed by the New York Times for her “lyricism and fire,” violinist Arabella Steinbacher returns to the Concert Hall to once again delight audiences in a dynamic performance of Mozart’s demanding Violin Concerto No. 4. Esteemed conductor Marek Janowski leads the program, which also includes Bruckner’s most celebrated symphony, the dramatic Seventh.
NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular
October 20, 2019
An annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when our ghoulishly attired musicians perform new and old classics to celebrate Halloween. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Ages 5+
National Symphony Orchestra at The Anthem: Gershwin's An American in Paris
October 28, 2019
The NSO continues its series of casual, affordable concerts—a new way to enjoy the symphony! Join them at DC's hottest new venue for An American in Paris, Gershwin's atmospheric love letter to the "City of Lights." Experience all of the magic and romance of this masterpiece, from a symphony of Parisian taxi horns to trumpets playing the bittersweet blues.
National Symphony Orchestra: Urbański conducts Tchaikovsky's Fourth / De la Salle plays Chopin
October 31 - November 2, 2019
In his much-anticipated return to the NSO, electrifying young conductor Krzysztof Urbański unleashes the full force of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony. Witness the composer’s magnificent journey from darkness to light: an evolution of emotion ranging from wistful poetry to commanding optimism and ultimately, renewed love of life. Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is performed by young French pianist Lise de la Salle, whose playing inspired a Washington Post critic to write, “For much of the concert, the audience had to remember to breathe... the exhilaration didn’t let up for a second until her hands came off the keyboard.”
National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts a dance-inspired program / Bar-Josef plays Piazzolla
November 7 - 9, 2019
Tango. Ballet. Viennese waltz. Music and dance inspire each other and the audience in this diverse program of classical works connecting the two art forms. Noseda conducts Ellington’s jazz interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s lush ballet score, as well as one of Piazzolla's most popular works, the tango-inspired Four Seasons of Buenos Aires with NSO Concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef.
National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Tristan and Isolde—Act II with Gould and Goerke
November 13 - 15, 2019
Don’t miss your first chance to witness Noseda, one of the world’s leading opera conductors, and the NSO perform the stunning music from Tristan and Isolde, Wagner’s story of young lovers undone. A revolutionary work demanding singers of herculean vocal power, Act II of Tristan and Isolde features two masters of Wagnerian repertoire: Stephen Gould, one of today’s most sought-after heroic tenors, and Christine Goerke, who “brings a cool, focused voice, abundant power, chilling top notes and, in moments of doubt, anguished beauty to her singing” (The New York Times).
National Symphony Orchestra: Fleming and Gilfry in an NSO co-commission / Noseda conducts Also sprach Zarathustra
November 21 - 23, 2019
One of the most celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming returns to the Concert Hall with Grammy®-nominated baritone Rod Gilfry. Under the baton of Gianandrea Noseda, they perform the D.C. premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts’s Brightness of Light, an NSO co-commission inspired by the letters between iconic American artist Georgia O'Keeffe and her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The program comes to a rapturous close with Also sprach Zarathustra, Strauss’s epic showpiece immortalized in pop culture by Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
NSO Music for Young Audiences: Peter and Friends
November 23 - 24, 2019
Venture with a boy and his animal friends through the forest. This wild adventure features actors, puppets, and a quintet of woodwind and brass musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra. Infants to 5+
National Symphony Orchestra: Celebrating Slatkin at 75 / Kern plays Rachmaninoff
December 5 - 7, 2019
When former NSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin led the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, he commissioned a set of variations—each from a different living American composer—on the famous Paganini Caprice No. 24. In honor of Slatkin’s 75th birthday season, a number of orchestras, including the NSO, have each commissioned an additional variation to create a new, expanded version of the work.
National Symphony Orchestra DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents
December 6, 2019
National Symphony Orchestra: Handel's Messiah
December 19 - 22, 2019
Since its debut nearly three centuries ago, one work reigns unchallenged as the ultimate celebration of holiday cheer: Handel’s Messiah. This year, experience Messiah’s supreme glory in Sir Andrew Davis's must-hear orchestration of the beloved classic. A stellar cast of singers joins Davis, the Orchestra, and The Washington Chorus.
National Symphony Orchestra: Bronfman plays Beethoven / Holst's The Planets
January 16 - 19, 2020
From menacing Mars to enigmatic Neptune, a wondrous cosmic dance comes to symphonic life in Holst’s The Planets. Recently appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony, New Zealand–born Gemma New makes her NSO debut with this uplifting cornerstone of classical music, taking the audience on a transcendent trip through the universe. World-renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman joins the program to perform Beethoven’s poetic Fourth Piano Concerto.
NSO Music for Young Audiences: Beauty and the Beat
January 18 - 26, 2020
See NSO principal second violinist Marissa Regni and NSO principal percussionist Eric Shin in an exciting new program exploring the magic created when the violin and percussion join together. Ages 3+
National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach returns / Tetzlaff plays Dvořák
January 24 - 25, 2020
Dvořák’s exuberant Violin Concerto requires exceptional virtuosity and musicianship. Christian Tetzlaff, whom The New Yorker calls “the finest violinist performing before the public today,” displays both with elegance and depth. NSO Conductor Laureate Christoph Eschenbach returns to lead the internationally renowned violinist, bringing to life the work’s powerhouse opening, lyrical slow movement, and spirited finale infused with Slavic cheer.
National Symphony Orchestra: Lugansky plays Mozart / Honeck conducts Dvořák
January 30 - February 1, 2020
Named 2018 Artist of the Year by the International Classical Music Awards, Manfred Honeck returns to conduct Resurrexit, a piece from Mason Bates, the Kennedy Center's Composer-in-Residence and Musical America’s 2018 Composer of the Year. Commissioned by Honeck, Resurrexit was written to celebrate the conductor’s 60th birthday, and the NSO is excited to bring this masterwork to the Concert Hall. Nikolai Lugansky, praised by The New York Times for his “remarkable artistry,” performs Mozart’s stormy Piano Concerto No. 24. The program concludes with Dvořák’s Eighth, a joyous symphony influenced by the composer’s great love for traditional Bohemian music.
National Symphony Orchestra: Dvořák's Cello Concerto
February 6 - 9, 2020
“Music is life,” declared Carl Nielsen, “and like it, inextinguishable.” Composed against the backdrop of World War I, Nielsen’s Fourth is one of the most dramatic of symphonies ever composed, from the volcanic opening to the thrilling finale with a duel for two sets of timpani. French German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt makes his NSO debut playing a Dvořák favorite, the sublime Cello Concerto. This is music that makes you feel alive, and conductor Edward Gardner has it pulsing through his veins.
National Symphony Orchestra DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents
February 7, 2020
NSO Family Concert: Girl Power! Celebrating Women in Music
February 16, 2020
Don’t miss a special showcase of female composers, conductors, and performers to mark 100 years since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Arrive early for a Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Ages 5+
National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Mahler's Fifth and Schubert
February 20 - 22, 2020
Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony is not unfinished at all. Its brilliance lies in the composer’s deliberate decision to leave the masterpiece as is, and no music lover would have it any other way. With compassion for man’s mortality, Schubert packs a lifetime of hope, suffering, and joy into just two perfect movements. Concluding the program is Mahler’s expressive, powerful Symphony No. 5, balancing heartache and glory.
NSO Music for Young Audiences: Mozart Mash-Up
February 22 - 23, 2020
Share the magic and music of Mozart in a special family concert when members of the National Symphony Orchestra play favorites from the prolific composer. Age 7+
National Symphony Orchestra: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto
February 27 - 29, 2020
The youngest-ever winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Akiko Suwanai joins Noseda for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, a work radiating Russian spirit. Thursday and Saturday’s program concludes with Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements and Friday’s performance concludes with Dvořák’s “New World Symphony,” two pieces that evoke the Russian and Czech composers’ enthusiastic immersion into American culture.
National Symphony Orchestra: Kozhukhin plays Grieg's Piano Concerto
April 2 - 4, 2020
Following his celebrated NSO debut last season, acclaimed Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin returns to perform one of the most-loved concertos of all time, Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Conducted by incoming Music Director for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Gustavo Gimeno, the program also includes Shostakovich's brilliant Symphony No. 1. Written at the age of eighteen, the work is already characteristic of Shostakovich's trademark style: unafraid, exuberant, and delightfully dramatic.
National Symphony Orchestra: Langrée conducts Brahms's First / Hough plays Beethoven
April 16 - 18, 2020
With its grand orchestration and stormy, romantic movements, Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto is a vital precursor to the composer’s “heroic” middle-period style, which the NSO explores later this season in Beethoven at 250. Stephen Hough effortlessly conquers the concerto, which demands remarkable mastery and range of color from the soloist. Brahms’s radiant First Symphony and Julia Wolfe’s Fountain of Youth complete the program, making a thrilling NSO debut for conductor Louis Langrée, Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
NSO Family Concert: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (a Symphonic Spectacular)
April 19, 2020
Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur… and a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway! That’s the just the beginning of a hilarious fractured, symphonic take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, as retold by Mo Willems. Don't miss this new classic performed by favorite performers and the NSO, featuring original music composed by indie pop icon and NSO Artistic Advisor Ben Folds. Ages 5+
National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach conducts Ravel's Boléro / Carpenter plays Poulenc
April 23 - 25, 2020
Christoph Eschenbach returns once more to lead an all-French program featuring Ravel’s famous Boléro. The sultry slow-burn never fails to excite audiences, unfolding with increasingly rich combinations in the longest-sustained crescendo of any orchestral work. Rock star organist Cameron Carpenter, “a modern-day throwback to the flamboyant virtuosos of the 19th century” (NPR), joins the Orchestra in Poulenc’s vibrant Organ Concerto.
National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Mahler's Fourth / NSO stars play Haydn
May 7 - 9, 2020
Four exceptional NSO principals engage in a spirited musical conversation as they take center stage in Haydn’s joyful Sinfonia Concertante. The program, conducted by Noseda, concludes with Mahler’s heavenly Fourth Symphony, a piece combining the composer’s love of nature and humor with his search for the meaning of life.
National Symphony Orchestra: Memory and Myth: Music by Sibelius and an NSO premiere
May 14 - 16, 2020
In a symphonic exploration of legend and lore, visionary maestro David Robertson conducts Mnemosyne's Pool, an NSO co-commission from Grammy Award®–winning composer Steven Mackey. Drawing inspiration from the Greek goddess of memory, Mackey’s work tells the story of souls who dared drink from the river Mnemosyne in Hades, thereby bestowing eternal life in the Elysian Fields. Sibelius weaves Finnish mythology into music in The Swan of Tuonela, a tone poem depicting the hero’s quest to kill a mystical swan swimming through the Finnish realm of the dead.
National Symphony Orchestra DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents
May 15 , 2020
Lang Lang in Recital
May 23 , 2020
For one concert only, the National Symphony Orchestra presents “the hottest artist on the classical music planet” (The New York Times), Lang Lang. Experience his dazzling piano talents to a solo program of J.S. Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations.
National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3
May 28 - 29, 2020
“Let your deafness no longer be a secret—even in art!”
—Beethoven’s notes in the sketches of Opus 59 string quartet, 1806
Our tribute begins with an exciting concert featuring Beethoven’s Third Symphony, “Eroica,” a major turning point in musical history. The work illustrates the composer’s own spiritual quest towards heroism as he coped with deafness and found new triumph in his art and life. Also on the program are Beethoven’s First Symphony and his Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, a popular ballet inspired by another hero whose suffering ultimately helped humankind, the rebellious Greek Titan who stole fire from the Gods to give to mortals.
National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5
May 30 - June 3, 2020
Famed for its iconic four-note opening, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is one of the most well-known and influential pieces of music ever composed. Imaginative, violent, and wide-ranging, the colossal crowd-pleaser immerses the audience in Beethoven’s state of mind with dramatic tension that builds to a passionate climax. Complementing the program are two works deeply connected to the composer’s rebellious ideals: his Second Symphony and third Leonore Overture.
National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7
June 5 - 6, 2020
Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony starts small but grows into a giant. Upon first hearing the masterpiece, 26-year-old Robert Schumann was so enthralled that he “sat in place without moving a muscle or even breathing.” Beethoven’s Overture from Egmont opens the program, and his Seventh Symphony makes for a visceral, high-voltage finale.
National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8
June 9 - 10, 2020
Join Noseda for a program of masterworks beginning with the rapid-fire wit of Beethoven’s Coriolan overture, followed by an explosive musical firecracker: his Eighth Symphony. Beethoven's “Pastoral” Symphony, which features some of the composer’s most memorable melodies. By the end of this heavenly concert, the audience finds itself gently transported to the Viennese countryside.
National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphony No. 9
June 12 - 14, 2020
The NSO culminates its tribute with Beethoven’s epic Ninth, the symphony by which all others are measured. Witness the vast cosmic drama of this groundbreaking piece, which was the first symphony to introduce vocals in an orchestration. With its grand emotional melodies and tremendous final “Ode to Joy,” Beethoven’s final symphony resounds as loudly today as it did two centuries ago.