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Release Date: September 5, 2012

Seventy-first Concert Season at the National Gallery of Art Begins with Celebrations of John Cage Centennial; Continues with Czech and Italian Music Celebrations, Concerts in Honor of Gallery Exhibitions, and More


Washington Saxophone Quartet performs music by Paquito d'Rivera and other composers on Sunday, November 18, at the National Gallery of Art in honor of Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective. Photo © Michael G. Stewart

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art presents its 71st season of the longest-running free Sunday concert series in the nation's capital beginning September 5, 2012. Highlights include the John Cage Centennial Festival Washington, DC; a festival honoring Czech music (Mutual Inspirations Festival); a celebration of Italian cinema and music; and four concerts in conjunction with Gallery exhibitions. The Gallery also honors the holiday season with two concerts and continues the tradition of holiday caroling in the West Building Rotunda.

John Cage Centennial Festival Washington, DC

In September, the Gallery will serve as the venue for the opening and closing concerts of the John Cage Centennial Festival Washington, DC. In addition, the Gallery will present the exhibition John Cage: Rocks, Paper, Fire, including six prints by Cage from the Gallery's collection. The concerts will take place on September 5 (the 100th anniversary of Cage's birth) and on September 9. Featuring works by Cage and composers who were influenced by him, both concerts will be performed by members of the National Gallery of Art New Music Ensemble.

Organized in conjunction with the festival, John Cage: Rocks, Paper, Fire presents works from the Gallery's permanent collection that explore the influential composer, writer, and artist's experimental, chance-determined approach to creating visual art. The selection of prints highlights Cage's unconventional use of fire as a printmaking medium and his systematic employment of stones as templates for tracing. The display includes three prints from Cage's Ryoanji series, which shares its title, inspiration, and formal elements with a musical composition that will be performed at the Gallery on September 9.

Mutual Inspirations Festival

The William Nelson Cromwell and F. Lammot Belin Concert Series continues on September 23 with a concert of music by J. S. Bach, performed by members of the National Gallery of Art Chamber Players with guest cellist Paul Kosower. This year, the Gallery collaborates with the Embassy of the Czech Republic for the Mutual Inspirations Festival, focusing on the films of Miloš Forman and related music. On September 26, violinist Barbora Kolarova and curator Andrea Rusova, both from Prague, explore mid-20th-century music and art from the Czech New Wave. On September 30, the Catholic University Orchestra and Chorus perform Mozart's Requiem and Rimsky-Korsakov's one-act opera Mozart and Salieri with tenor Matthew Smith and baritone Eugene Galvin.

Celebration of Italian Art, Music, and Film

In October, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington and the Italian Embassy, the Gallery presents films from Italy and concerts of Italian music. On October 14, pianist Thomas Mastroianni, violinist Ricardo Cyncynates, and soprano Alessandra Marc present Italian masterworks from the 18th and 19th centuries, and on October 21, the renowned chamber orchestra I Musici di Roma plays music by Bossi, Rota, and other Italian composers. The celebration also includes concerts at the Embassy of Italy on October 10 and November 1, with pre-concert talks on Italian art by National Gallery lecturer David Gariff.

Concerts in Honor of Exhibitions

On October 7 guitarist Mak Grgic and organist Stephen Ackert perform music in honor of Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475–1540. On October 28, in honor of Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700–1830, pianist Tanya Vegvary Plescia plays music by Mozart and American composers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In honor of Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, the Washington Saxophone Quartet plays music by Paquito D'Rivera and other composers on November 18 in remembrance of Lichtenstein's fondness for the saxophone, which he learned to play late in life.

In honor of Color, Line, Light: French Drawings, Watercolors, and Pastels from Delacroix to Signac, the Gallery collaborates with the music department of the Phillips Collection to present all 24 Caprices for solo violin by Nicoló Paganini in two concerts. On January 27, 2013, violinist Rachel Barton Pine plays Caprices 1 through 12 at the Phillips Collection, followed by Caprices 13 through 24at the Gallery later that day.

Holiday Concerts

A wide variety of holiday music is available to Gallery visitors in December. On December 16, New York City's Empire Brass comes to the Gallery with soprano Elisabeth von Trapp (child star of the classic film The Sound of Music). Together they perform selections from the musical and holiday favorites. Holiday caroling takes place in the Rotunda on the weekends of December 15–16 and 22–23, with sing-along programs each day at 1:30 and 2:30 pm. On December 30, in celebration of the new year, the National Gallery of Art Vocal Ensemble sings favorite arias from Viennese operettas by Lehar and the Strauss family.

Pianists and Chamber Ensembles

Headed by France's eminent pianist Philippe Entremont, who guest-conducts and performs with the National Gallery of Art Orchestra on November 25, notable pianists Michael Lewin (November 11), Joseph Smith (December 12), and George Vatchnadze (November 4) will be heard at the Gallery. The November 4 concert marks the culmination of a weekend of activities featuring performances of music by Shostakovich, films for which he wrote the musical scores, and discussions led by Joseph Horowitz and Russian film director Solomon Volkov.

On December 9, conductor and composer Armando Bayolo brings his Great Noise Ensemble to the Gallery to premiere his newest work, Hesychasmos, and music by Górecki and Pärt. On January 6, 2013, Norwegian flutist Andreas Sønning and an ensemble present The Munchsuite by Kjell Habbestad, marking the beginning of a celebration of the the 150th birth anniversary of Edvard Munch (1863–1944). Outstanding chamber music continues with concerts by the Orava String Quartet (January 13) and the Carnegie Mellon University Piano Trio (January 20).

Concert Information

Concerts at the National Gallery of Art are free of charge and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis. Seating begins 30 minutes prior to the concert. The entrance to the West Building is located at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW and the East Building entrance is 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Sunday concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. in the West Building West Garden Court, unless otherwise indicated. Entry is not permitted after 6:30 p.m.

For Wednesday midday performances, the seating begins at 12:00 p.m. and the concert starts at 12:10 p.m. Monthly listings of concert programs may be obtained by calling (202) 842-6941 or by visiting the Gallery's website at


General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery's Web site at Follow the Gallery on Facebook at, Twitter at, and Instagram at

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor's back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.
For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications – Converged Media
(202) 842-6804

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