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Release Date: February 14, 2019

Winter/Spring Season of Free Concerts Features Performances on Harp and Koto, Mother's Day Presentation of Compositions Celebrating Female Leaders, and Return of Fourth Friday Sound Sketch Series

Harpist Brandee Younger will perform at the National Gallery of Art on April 28 at 3:30 p.m. Photo by Kyle Pompey

Harpist Brandee Younger will perform at the National Gallery of Art on April 28 at 3:30 p.m.
Photo by Kyle Pompey

Washington, DC—Stretching from the end of winter and into spring, this season of concerts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, features a diverse selection of musicians and styles, including classical masterpieces, new compositions, jazz, and world music. On April 7, renowned pianist and composer Vijay Iyer will perform with cellist Matt Haimovitz. The Fourth Friday Sound Sketch series, uniquely inspired by art from the Gallery's collection, continues with highlights on medieval works in February and March. On May 12 the Canales Project returns for a special Mother's Day celebration with part two of "Hear Her Song," featuring a new program of compositions inspired by the words of extraordinary female leaders. In addition to a mix of genres, performances range from large ensembles (East Coast Chamber Orchestra), to trios (Brandee Younger Trio) and soloists (Natalie Clein).

Performances take place in various locations throughout the Gallery, including the West Building's lush West Garden Court, the grand central Rotunda; and the 500-seat East Building Auditorium. Concerts at the National Gallery of Art are open to the public free of charge. Admittance is on a first-come, first-seated basis 30 minutes before the concert begins. The 2018/2019 season marks the 77th season of concerts at the Gallery, which began during World War II, when the Gallery's first director, David E. Finley, kept the museum open on Sunday nights to accommodate the armed forces personnel in Washington at the time. The Gallery has presented more than 3,000 free concerts since the music program began in 1942.


Continuing from the fall, this new series of pop-up concerts around the Gallery engages musicians with works from the permanent collection. Concerts take place on the fourth Friday of every month at 12:10 p.m. in various locations (check for details).

Armonia Nova
February 22, 12:10 p.m.
This DC-based ensemble transports audiences back to the medieval and Renaissance periods by performing compositions of the era on replicas of historical instruments.

March 22, 12:10 p.m.
Specializing in the interpretation of medieval music for women's voices, this DC-based vocal ensemble connects contemporary audiences with early music.

Duo Sonidos
April 26, 12:10 p.m.
Featuring William Knuth on violin and Adam Levin on guitar, this chamber music duo collaborates with contemporary composers.



Due to the partial government shutdown, the majority of the concerts that could not be held in January have been rescheduled to June.


Trio Valtorna
David Jolley, French horn; Ida Kavafian, violin; Gilles Vonsattel, piano
February 3, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
After performing together at the Music from Angel Fire Chamber Music Festival, renowned violinist Ida Kavafian and French horn player extraordinaire David Jolley decided to continue in collaboration; in 2011, pianist Gilles Vonsattel joined them to form Trio Valtorna. The trio's program includes John Harbison's Twilight Music for Horn, Piano, and Violin; Maurice Ravel's Violin Sonata no. 2 in G Major; and Brahms's Horn Trio in E-flat Major, op. 40.

The Keyboard Reimagined
Sō Percussion
February 10, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Sō Percussion brings their signature spin on the modern percussion ensemble with a performance of works originally composed for keyboard instruments. The program includes selections from Elliot Cole's Postludes for Bowed Vibraphone; Vijay Iyer's Torque; selections from Dan Trueman's Nostalgic Synchronic (for prepared digital piano); Jason Treuting's Nine Numbers 4; Caroline Shaw's Taxidermy; Donnacha Dennehy's Broken Unison; and a new work by Suzanne Farrin.

Lara St. John, violin; Matt Herskowitz, piano
February 17, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Canadian-born violinist Lara St. John has performed as a soloist internationally, created her own label, Ancalagon, in 1999, and recorded with such distinguished orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Pianist, composer, and arranger Matt Herskowitz has combined superlative classical technique with his prowess in jazz, world music, and free improvisation to produce critically acclaimed recordings and establish collaborations with top classical, jazz, and pop artists.

In this program, the duo performs Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata, Milica Paranosic's Rumelaj, Martin Kennedy's Song of the Moon, Maurice Ravel's Tzigane, and Gershwin/Herskowitz's I Got Rhythm and Someone to Watch Over Me.

Curtis on Tour: Liebeslieder Waltzes
Curtis Opera Theatre Vocal Quartet
February 24, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
The Curtis Institute of Music produces top prizewinners of international competitions, soloists with major ensembles, and today's most promising artists. Hear the future stars of opera in this thrilling and diverse program of operatic favorites, gems from the American songbook, and the elegant Liebeslieder Waltzes by Brahms. Curtis on Tour is the Nina von Maltzahn Global Touring Initiative of the Curtis Institute of Music.


Absolute Art and Jazz between the Wars
Noah Getz and Friends
March 3, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
This program presents compositions that explore these musical trajectories from Europe's fertile artistic landscape between the wars. The works include Anton Webern's Quartet, op. 22, for violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, and piano; Béla Bartók's Contrasts; and Erwin Schulhoff's Hot-Sonate.

J. S. Bach's Seven Keyboard Toccatas
Peter Vinograde
March 10, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Bach's Seven Keyboard Toccatas are youthful, improvisatory, virtuoso works, composed after Bach traveled on foot for ten days to hear Dieterich Buxtehude, perhaps the greatest organist of all time. The influence of Buxtehude's extravagant and unrestrained technique can be heard clearly in the works, which present a formidable challenge to the modern-day performer.

An outstanding interpreter of J. S. Bach and contemporary composers, pianist Peter Vinograde regularly tours North America and Asia, with a recent world premiere in New York City of Michael Matthews's De Reflejo a Fulgor for piano and digital sound. He first performed at the National Gallery of Art in 1987.

Tomb Sonnets
Parthenia with Ryland Angel, countertenor
March 17, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Parthenia and guest vocalist Ryland Angel offer sublime works for voice and viols by Italian Renaissance masters from the age of the sonnet. Composers include Luca Marenzio, Philippe Verdelot, Jacques Arcadelt, Cipriano de Rore, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli—an uncle and nephew whose composing skills were honed in Venice and defined the era's style. The program also features Martin Kennedy's song cycle Tomb Sonnets (2014), for viol consort and countertenor, which explores poetic studies of death and burial in sonnets by Petrarch, Keats, and Longfellow.

This concert takes inspiration from a trio of upcoming exhibitions opening March 24 which celebrate Venetian master Jacopo Tintoretto's 500th birthday—Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice, Drawing in Tintoretto's Venice, and Venetian Prints in the Time of Tintoretto.

Natalie Clein, cello
March 24, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
British cellist Natalie Clein has built a distinguished career, regularly performing at major venues and with orchestras worldwide. She is an exclusive recording artist for Hyperion and has recorded Camille Saint-Saëns's two cello concertos, as well as Ernest Bloch's Schelomo and Max Bruch's KOL Nidrei with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Born in the United Kingdom, Clein came to widespread attention at the age of sixteen when she won both the BBC Young Musician of the Year award and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians. This program, Clein's debut United States tour, includes works by Nadia Boulanger, Frank Bridge, Rebecca Clarke, and Elisabeth Lutyens.

Fauré Quartett
March 31, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
The Fauré Quartett musicians met during their studies in 1995 in Karlsruhe during the 150th anniversary of Gabriel Fauré's birth and quickly realized their combination offered new insights into undiscovered repertoire. The ensemble soon established itself as one of the world's leading piano quartets and, in 2006, signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The group has made highly regarded recordings of works by Mozart, Brahms, and Mendelssohn, as well as pop songs by Peter Gabriel and Steely Dan. This program includes works by Fauré, Mahler, and Schumann.


Haimovitz-Iyer Duo
April 7, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Cellist Matt Haimovitz, an artist whose barrier-breaking performances have taken him around the world, collaborates with renowned pianist and composer Vijay Iyer in a program that defies definition. Iyerʼs repertoire, alongside the music of Zakir Hussein, John McLaughlin, J. S. Bach, Ravi Shankar, Billy Strayhorn, and others, flows seamlessly to create a program of virtuosity and depth.

East Coast Chamber Orchestra
April 14, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
This conductor-less orchestra brings together principals and soloists from symphony orchestras and chamber groups across the country. The collective of talented young musicians strive for vitality and musical integrity in their vibrant performances.

The Lunar Effect
Living Art Collective Ensemble (LACE) with Elisa Monte Dance and DJ Twelve45
April 21, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Since prehistoric times, humans have been fascinated by the moon and its effect on everything from fertility to madness. On Easter Sunday, a holiday determined by the moon, LACE—along with Elisa Monte Dance and DJ Twelve45—weave together a story of how the moon has inspired wonder and fear in various cultures since the human journey began. This program features new music by composer Michael Thurber.

This concert is presented in anticipation of By the Light of the Silvery Moon: A Century of Lunar Photographs from the 1850s to Apollo 11, on view from July 14, 2019, through January 15, 2020.

The Brandee Younger Trio
April 28, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
A fearless and versatile talent, contemporary harpist Brandee Younger defies genres and labels as a classically trained musician playing in the avant-garde tradition of her sonically forward forebears Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. Younger delivers a consistently fresh take on the ancient instrument as an educator, curator, performer, and leader of the Brandee Younger Quartet. Known for expressive interpretations of traditional harp repertoire as well as her continued work with a diverse cross-section of musical talents, Younger is widely recognized as a creative linchpin whose nuanced presence and willingness to push boundaries have made her irreplaceable on record and in performance. She has shared the stage with jazz leaders and popular hip-hop and R&B titans including Ravi Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Charlie Haden, Jack Dejohnette, Reggie Workman, The Roots, Common, Maxwell, Drake, John Legend, and Lauryn Hill.


From Nature, Truth: Whitman, Ruskin, and the American Pre-Raphaelites
Poulenc Trio
May 5, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
John Ruskin, in his epic treatise on art and morality, exhorted artists to "Paint the leaves as they grow! If you can paint one leaf, you can paint the world!" Ruskin's writings inspired the American Pre-Raphaelites, a group of artists who created landscapes and portraits that celebrated nature in close-up detail. Ruskin admired the work of poet Walt Whitman, born in the same year as Ruskin, who also wrote about the glories of the natural world in addition to music. In From Nature, Truth, the Poulenc Trio explores the circles of inspiration that drove both writers, as well as the composers that influenced and were influenced by their work. The concert features composers who inspired Ruskin and the American Pre-Raphaelites, Whitman's favorite work by Beethoven, and Andrew List's world premiere in celebration of Whitman's (and Ruskin's) 200th birth anniversaries.

This concert takes inspiration from the exhibition The American Pre-Raphaelites: Radical Realists, on view from April 14 to July 21, 2019.

Hear Her Song, Part II: A Mother's Day Celebration
The Canales Project
May 12, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Celebrating extraordinary female leaders who have devoted themselves to making the world a better place, the Hear Her Song project has brought together more than 30 acclaimed artists to create a series of new songs inspired by the words of these remarkable female leaders. Past honorees include Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Sister Marilyn Lacey, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama, and past composers include Georgia Stitt, Tania León, Emily Estefan, and Molly Joyce. This year's program honors a special group of international women, including Malala Yousafzai and Lan Yang, and features lullabies from around the world.

Yumi Kurosawa, koto
With special guests Anubrata Chatterjee, tabla, and Virgil Gadsen, dance
May 19, 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
This performance brings together the elements of Japan's spiritual philosophy and the importance of the animal world, as represented in literature, art, dance, and music. To illustrate the soundscape of our story, the koto's melodic timbre recalls Japan's history with chant, the tabla reminds us of the heartbeat, and the featured element of dance echoes the natural world of movement.

This concert is inspired by the exhibition The Life of Animals in Japanese Art, on view from May 5 through July 28, 2019.

The Evolution of Fools: From Jesters to Buffoons
New York Opera Society
June 2, 3:30 p.m. (rescheduled from January 6)
*An open rehearsal will be held on June 1 at 3:00 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Our contemporary preoccupation with reality entertainment was foretold by grand opera long before the advent of television. Jesters and their antics reveled in ancient civilizations and formed the cornerstone of entertainment, alleviating cares with their verbal jousting. As time passed, the depiction of jesters evolved to entities "wise enough to play the fool" (William Shakespeare), and finally, to the buffoon. Ruggero Leoncavallo and Giuseppe Verdi experimented with every facet of laughter, satire, and tragedy commensurate with the fool's transformation from the court, to the stage, to modern times. The concert features excerpts from the masterworks Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Falstaff (Verdi), and Rigoletto (Verdi), as well as original dialogue by renowned opera director Marc Verzatt.

Krakauer-Tagg Duo
June 9, 3:30 p.m. (rescheduled from January 20)
West Building, West Garden Court
Breath and Hammer features Krakauer and Tagg's original compositions and fresh arrangements of "simple songs" by such composers as New York–based visionary John Zorn, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodríguez. The duo's influences range from interlocking African drumming patterns to romantic symphonic music, minimalism, and klezmer. These diverse and seemingly disparate musical inspirations intermingle and transform into something entirely new: a hybrid art form that bridges the cultures of the past with new work that looks towards the future.

The Genius of Paul Hindemith
Inscape Chamber Orchestra
June 16, 3:30 p.m. (rescheduled from January 27)
West Building, West Garden Court
Richard Scerbo, director
Reminding us why classical modernism matters, Inscape Chamber Orchestra puts a modern twist on the Young People's Concert, in which Bernstein memorialized the unexpected death of composer Paul Hindemith.

This series is made possible by the generous support of the Billy Rose Foundation.

The Latin American Spirit
Air Force Strings
June 23, 3:30 p.m. (rescheduled from January 13)
West Building, West Garden Court
With works by Carlos Fariñas, Astor Piazzolla, and William Grant Still, the Air Force Strings shed a new light on the influence of music from Central and South America within the context of what we call "classical music."

This series is made possible by the generous support of the Billy Rose Foundation.


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

Press Contact:
Isabella Bulkeley, (202) 842-6864 or [email protected]


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phone: (202) 842-6353
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Press Release

Isabella Bulkeley
(202) 842-6864
[email protected]