Release Date: July 22, 2016
Grammy® Award-winning Musicians, Six Exhibitions, Reopening of East Building Galleries, National Hispanic Heritage Month, NGA GuitarFest, World and Local Premieres, Holiday Concerts and Community Caroling, and Mozart's Complete Violin Concerti Are Highlights of 75th Concert Season at National Gallery of Art, Washington
Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art announces its 75th season of concerts, featuring 75 performances by local, national, and international musicians in celebration of the Gallery’s 75th anniversary. Performances will take place in the lush, verdant West Garden Court, the majestic central Rotunda of the West Building, the East Building's 500-seat, stadium-style auditorium, the expansive, light-filled East Building Atrium that displays the largest sculpture made by Alexander Calder, as well as within the galleries and on the grand steps leading to the National Mall. Concerts will be presented on weekends and weekdays, and will start at various times.
The Gallery is the exclusive Washington, DC-area venue in the 2016–2017 season for several acclaimed ensembles, including the Sphinx Virtuosi, Curtis on Tour, Grammy® Award-winning Parker Quartet, and Grammy®-nominated chamber orchestra A Far Cry. The Gallery also will host several world- and area-premiere performances, including a new work by George Crumb, an American composer of avant-garde music whose hauntingly beautiful scores have made him one of the most frequently performed composers in today's musical world.
Also new in this 75th season, the Gallery's music department will initiate Washingtonians on Wednesdays, a concert series focused primarily on American works as performed by local musicians. Beginning January 18, 2017, the noontime concerts will take place in various locations throughout the Gallery.
Concerts in September
The season opens with an operatic collaboration of music, dance, and space, as The Vermont Opera Project performs Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice, a song cycle for soprano, clarinet, and chamber ensemble, on September 10 and 11 at 3:00 p.m. in the West Garden Court. On September 15, 16, 17, and 18, the Gallery will present the NGA GuitarFest in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Six concerts in four days in the West Building's West Garden Court will showcase the winner of the 2016 Boston GuitarFest competition, along with guitarists Gohar Vardanyan, Scott Borg, Adam Kossler, Jorge Caballero, and Pablo Villegas.
On September 25 at noon and 2:00 p.m., the No BS! Brass Band, which embraces the spirit of New Orleans while blending East Coast modern funk and elements of James Brown, John Coltrane, Michael Jackson, and Led Zeppelin into its original sound, will perform on the Gallery's Mall steps, located on Madison Drive between Fourth and Seventh Streets, NW.
Concerts to Celebrate Reopening of East Building Galleries
To celebrate the re-opening of the East Building Galleries, the music department will present a trio of performances, two of which highlight one of the major exhibitions opening on September 30: Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971. On Friday, September 30 at 12:30 p.m, pianist Vicki Chow performs Tristan Perich's Surface Image in the East Building Auditorium. Perich, who is also the grandson of collector Virginia Dwan, composed the full-length work for piano and 40 one-bit speakers.
Continuing the reopening weekend celebrations, the music department will produce a performance of Yves Klein's Symphonie Monotone-Silence.The late artist, whose work is featured in the Virginia Dwan collection, is considered the most influential and controversial French artist to emerge in the 1950s. He is remembered above all for his use of a single color, the rich shade of ultramarine that he made his own: International Klein Blue. Klein's highly eccentric symphony requires a 32-piece orchestra and 40-voice choir to sustain a D-major chord for 20 minutes, and then to sit, frozen in silence for 20 minutes. The performance will take place on October 1 at 4:00 p.m. in the East Building Auditorium. To close out the weekend, American composer Philip Glass will appear in performance and discussion on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m. in the East Building Auditorium.
Concerts in Honor of Exhibitions
In addition to the concerts on September 30 and October 1 celebrating the exhibition Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971, six other special exhibitions will be honored by musical performances throughout the season. On October 23 former NGA intern Loren Ludwig brings his viol ensemble, LeStrange Viols, in a program specially researched and crafted to evoke the Dutch Golden Age in honor of Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt. Stuart Davis: In Full Swing will be honored on several occasions, beginning on December 3 when pianist, composer, and arranger Donal Fox improvises in the exhibition several times throughout the day. Blue Heron Ensemble, engaged in the exploration of vocal music of the Renaissance and medieval periods, will perform a program at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on February 12 in the West Building, West Garden Court that highlights Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence. The Kruger Brothers and the Kontras Quartet will perform Appalachian Concerto on March 19 to pay tribute to the East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography exhibition. The April 9 concert by the German saxophone ensemble Alliage Quintett will honor the Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism exhibition. On May 21 the Marine Chamber Orchestra performs music from America's Gilded Age in honor of America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting.
Special Honorary Concerts
The NGA GuitarFest held at 12:10 and 1:10 p.m. on September 15 and 16; 3:00 p.m. on September 17; and 3:30 p.m. on September 18 will be in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Six concerts in four days in the West Building, West Garden Court will showcase a winner of the 2016 Boston GuitarFest competition, along with guitarists Gohar Vardanyan, Scott Borg, Adam Kossler, Jorge Caballero, and Pablo Villegas.
Acclaimed chamber orchestra Sphinx Virtuosi is comprised of the nation's top African American and Latino classical string soloists. The group is considered one of America's most exciting professional chamber orchestras. In an exclusive Washington, DC-area appearance during the 2016–2017 season, the group will perform Latin Voyages: Viajes Latinos in the West Garden Court on October 8 at 2:00 p.m., also in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The program will include tunes ranging from Argentine tango to the nocturnal imagery of Mexico, as well as a tribute to the great Astor Piazzolla, whose work transformed the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango.
Concerts in October
Curtis on Tour, the Nina von Maltzahn global touring initiative of the renowned Philadelphia-based Curtis Institute of Music, brings the first of two touring programs to the Gallery on October 16. The first performance will include the complete Italienisches Liederbuch of Hugo Wolf at 3:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court. On October 30 at 3:30 p.m. high-energy pianists Anderson and Roe Piano Duo, who are revolutionizing the piano duo experience for the 21st century, will perform their program Danse Macabre in the West Building, West Garden Court. On October 23, LaStrange Viols performs in honor of the exhibition Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt.
Concerts in November
On November 6, Bach lovers will have the opportunity to hear the Goldberg Variations four times in four different ways, all in one day. At noon in the West Building Lecture Hall, Spanish harpsichordist Ignacio Prego returns to play the original setting on a dual-manual harpsichord. At 1:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court, the Aspen String Trio will perform Dmitry Sitkovetsky's 1984 transcription for violin, viola, and cello. Back in the Lecture Hall at 3:00 p.m., the Atlantic Reed Consort brings a reed quintet arrangement, and at 4:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court, pianist Dan Tepfer performs his own jazz version of the Goldberg Variations.
On November 20 at 3:30 p.m., A Far Cry, in the first of two exclusive Washington-area appearances in the 2016–2017 season, will entertain with a special program titled Dreams and Prayers, featuring clarinetist David Krakauer. Founded in 2007, A Far Cry features young, conductor-less musicians that serve as the Chamber Orchestra in Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
Guitar virtuoso Eliot Fisk breaks new ground for the guitar with marathon performances of his transcriptions of all six J. S. Bach solo cello Suites when he performs on November 26 and 27 at 3:00 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court. Program notes for these concerts will include connections between Bach and Rembrandt.
Concerts in December
For the December 3 concert, jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Donal Fox, in collaboration with Harry Cooper, the Gallery's curator of modern art and head of the department as well as a jazz enthusiast, will perform three 30-minute sets—at 12:30, 2:00, and 3:30 p.m.—in front of the painting Swing Landscape, on view in the Stuart Davis: In Full Swing exhibition on the main floor of the West Building. On December 4 at 3:30 p.m., Fox and acclaimed vibraphonist Warren Wolf will perform several of Fox's original tunes as well as signature arrangements of Brahms, Schumann, Monk, Coltrane, and others in the West Building, West Garden Court.
Continuing its tradition of community caroling in the Rotunda, the National Gallery of Art music department will present three outstanding holiday caroling programs:
Saturday, December 10, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir
Sunday, December 11, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m, Georgetown Day School Choir
Saturday, December 17, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., Xaverian High School Choir, Brooklyn, NY
Danú, one of today's leading traditional Irish ensembles, will celebrate the holidays at the Gallery with two performances of Féile na Nollag (A Christmas Gathering) with local Irish dancers on December 18 at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court. Hailing from historic County Waterford, Ireland, Danú's concerts feature high-energy performances and a glorious mix of ancient Irish music and new repertoire by virtuoso players on fiddle, flutes, button accordion, and percussion.
Tempesta di Mare, a Baroque orchestra from Philadelphia, performs repertoire that ranges from staged opera to chamber music, using Baroque instruments. On December 11 at 3:30 p.m. the orchestra will offer a Baroque holiday concert in the West Building, West Garden Court without a conductor, as was the practice when this music was new.
Concerts in January
Curtis on Tour returns in January to perform the first Sunday concert of the New Year. The Curtis Chamber Orchestra will perform the complete violin concerti of Mozart. Five violin concertos and the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra will be performed in two concerts on January 8 at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court. On January 29 the Cuarteto Latinoamericano brings a program of American and Latin American music to the West Building, West Garden Court at 3:30 p.m.
Concerts in February
As part of the music department's initiative to present local youth ensembles, the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a program of American music, including Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Dances, on February 4 at 2:00 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court. The Mendelssohn Piano Trio will perform the complete piano trios of Schubert on February 5 at noon and 3:00 p.m. in the West Building, East Garden Court, and on February 12, Blue Heron, engaged in the exploration of vocal music of the Renaissance and Medieval periods, will perform a special program in the West Building, West Garden Court at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. in honor of the Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence exhibition.
On February 20 at 3:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court, A Far Cry will collaborate with Grammy® Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth in a contemporary program entitled "Music in Common Time." This sonic patchwork is an ever-changing burst of colors, timbres, and visions. The program opens with the lush writing of Caroline Shaw (2013 Pulitzer Prize winner and "Teeth" member) with an original commission for both ensembles. The program is anchored by two raw, energetic, and captivating works by Ted Hearne, each featuring (and commissioned by) the respective ensembles. The movements from each are intertwined, befitting the first movement's title, "Law of Mosaics." Spanning and connecting these two Generation-X composers is a startlingly beautiful and vivid set of character pieces by Prokofiev. The New York Opera Society returns to Gallery on February 26 at 3:30 p.m. with another performance specially curated for the Gallery's spaces and audiences, a collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The performance will feature a marriage of Norwegian and American music.
Concerts in March
Young Concert Artist pianist and star of the "Android Monotone" commercial, Ji-Yong Kim, known professionally as Ji, will show his virtuosity at the piano on Sunday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court. On March 12 the Dutch-based ensemble Cappella Pratensis will perform a special program commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. Cappella Pratensis is based in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the town where Bosch was born. The Gallery's painting Death and the Miser, c. 1485/1490, will return from a touring exhibition in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Madrid. In connection with the special exhibition East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography, the Kruger Brothers will return to the Gallery with the Kontras Quartet on March 19 at 3:30 p.m. to perform "Appalachian Concerto" in the West Building, West Garden Court. Composed in 2010 by Jens Kruger, the innovative, challenging, and beautiful arrangement celebrates the history, landscape, and culture of Appalachia. The March 26 concert will feature the Grammy® Award-winning Parker Quartet.
Concerts in April
Apollo's Fire takes center stage on April 2 at 3:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court. The popular and critically acclaimed Baroque orchestra from Cleveland specializes in early music, and will perform Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering. On April 9 at 3:30 p.m. the German saxophone ensemble Alliage Quintett will bring their "Dancing in Paris" program to the Gallery in honor of the exhibition Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism.
The April 15 concert, Sarajevo Haggadah, in the East Building Auditorium at 3:00 p.m., will showcase composer and performer Merima Ključo's multimedia work for accordion, piano, and video. It traces the dramatic story of one of Jewish culture's most treasured manuscripts; the Haggadah. Using the musical traditions of Spain, Italy, Austria, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ključo illuminates the Haggadah's travels from medieval Spain to 20th-century Bosnia, where it was hidden and rescued during World War II by Muslims and ultimately restored by the National Museum in Sarajevo after the 1992–1995 war.
Inspired by the historical novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks and commissioned by the Foundation for Jewish Culture, The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book creatively interprets this miraculous artifact as a universal symbol of exile, return, and co-existence. The East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) will perform a varied program of music by Christopher Theofanidis, André Caplet, Witold Lutoslawski, and Josef Suk on April 23 at 3:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court. The April 30 concert will feature Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O'Riley performing a program of Russian tunes.
Concerts in May
The May 7 concert will feature Margaret Leng Tan's world-premiere performance of Metamorphoses in the East Building Auditorium at 3:30 p.m. Metamorphoses, a new work by American avant-garde composer George Crumb, is based on ten of his favorite paintings that will be shown on a screen before each movement. The May 14 concert at 3:30 p.m. in the West Building, West Garden Court will feature the Boreal Trio, comprised of three international-competition laureates passionately dedicated to the art of chamber music: clarinetist Uriel Vanchestein, violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez, and pianist Wonny Song. They have respectively won top prizes at the Geneva International Competition, the Brahms International Competition, and the World Piano Competition.
The final day of the 2016–2017 regular concert season, May 21, will feature a performance by the U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra in the West Building, West Garden Court at 2:00 p.m. The concert will highlight the opening day of the special exhibition America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting. At 4:00 p.m., the Poulenc Trio performs a special program entitled Trains of Thought: Animated. The program will take the viewer through an animated, M.C. Escher-like fantasy world populated by line-drawn figures inspired by the great New Yorker illustrator Saul Steinberg, and will link the work of Escher and Steinberg. The performance will include a third component, the poet Lia Purpura, also a frequent New Yorker contributor. Purpura is a participant on the Poulenc Trio's upcoming album, Creation, on the Delos/Naxos label.
More concerts will be added throughout the season!
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 at Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Sunday concerts begin at 3:30 p.m. in the West Building's West Garden Court unless indicated otherwise. Monthly listings of concert programs may be obtained by calling (202) 842-6941 or by visiting the Gallery's website at www.nga.gov/programs/music.htm
For the convenience of concertgoers, the Garden Café remains open for light refreshments until 6:00 pm on Sundays.
Sarah Edwards Holley, (202) 842-6359 or [email protected]
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
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phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Chief of Communications
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Sarah Edwards Holley