Release Date: January 29, 2014

Music for Degas/Cassatt to Highlight Concerts in Spring 2014 at National Gallery of Art

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Louise Toppin performs spirituals and other music by African American composers on Sunday, February 23 at the National Gallery of Art in observance of the 75th anniversary of Marian Anderson's famous concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Washington, DC—The spring 2014 season of free Sunday concerts at the National Gallery of Art kicks off on February 2 with one of the great baritones of the current generation, Wolfgang Holzmair, singing one of the most renowned song cycles of all time, Schubert’s Schwanengesang. The concerts continue with performances by the Fine Arts Quartet (February 9) and cellist Aron Zelkowicz (February 16). In observation of African American History Month, on February 23 soprano Louise Toppin and pianist Leon Bates perform a program of spirituals and other music by African American composers, commemorating Marian Anderson’s famous Easter Sunday recital on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. The Steinway grand piano that will be used for the concert—now owned by the Gallery and regularly heard in concerts in the East Building Auditorium—is the same one that was used in that historic concert 75 years ago.

Concerts in Honor of the Exhibition Degas/Cassatt

In celebration of Degas/Cassatt, opening May 11, the Gallery presents three concerts in May and June featuring music of mid-19th-century French composers, performed by prominent French performers and Washington-based ensembles. On June 8, the Gallery’s resident vocal ensemble will draw from its repertoire of 19th-century French choral masterpieces for its performance, and on June 22, French pianist Philippe Entremont performs. Noting that both Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt found inspiration in the productions and backstage life at the Paris Opera, the Gallery has invited the harpist of the Paris Opera Orchestra, Emmanuel Ceysson, to play a recital on June 1.

Concerts in Honor of the Book Five Lives in Music: Women Performers, Composers, and Impresarios from the Baroque to the Present

In April three singers—mezzo-soprano Barbara Hollinshead (April 2), soprano Rosa Lamoreaux (April 9 and 16), and soprano Alessandra Marc (April 23)—will sing music of Sophie Elisabeth von Mecklenburg, Jacquet de La Guerre, Josephine Lang, and Maria Bach, respectively. Those performances are the first four of a series of five concerts inspired by a new book by Cecelia Porter, Five Lives in Music: Women Performers, Composers, and Impresarios from the Baroque to the Present, that traces the lives and work of five women musicians. Pianist Ann Schein, who is the subject of the last chapter of the book, will perform a recital at the Gallery on April 30. Each recital will be preceded by remarks by Porter, a longtime music critic for the Washington Post.

New Music

The Washington-based new music ensemble Great Noise will return to the Gallery on April 6, collaborating with Third Practice and the American Youth Chorus to celebrate Dutch composer Louis Andriessen’s 75th birthday by performing his La Commedia (2013), a musical adaptation of Dante’s epic journey through heaven and hell. The Poulenc Trio’s concert on March 23 will include the world premiere of a new work by contemporary composer Laura Kaminsky, as well as music by other women composers in honor of Women’s History Month.

Unusual Chamber Music

In addition to concerts by the Fine Arts (February 9) and Auryn (April 13) string quartets, some more unusual chamber ensembles and soloists will perform at the Gallery. On March 30, Japanese marimbist Naoko Takada will play music by Japanese and other composers in connection with Washington’s Cherry Blossom Festival; on April 27, guitarists Eliot Fisk and Paco Peña will play music for two guitars; and on June 15, pianists José Caceres and José Ramos-Santana will present Puerto Rico in 176 Keys, featuring music for two pianos four hands by Puerto Rican composers. 

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 Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW, and the East Building entrance is Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Sunday concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. in the West Building’s West Garden Court, unless otherwise indicated. For weekday 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 www.nga.gov/music.

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. With the exception of the atrium and library, the galleries in the East Building will remain closed until late fall 2016 for Master Facilities Plan and renovations. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery's Web site at www.nga.gov. Follow the Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt, Twitter at www.twitter.com/ngadc, and Instagram at http://instagram.com/ngadc.

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.
 
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