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National Symphony Orchestra to Present Three Classical Programs

The concerts are set to take place in April and May at the Kennedy Center in D.C.

National Symphony Orchestra to Present Three Classical Programs

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) continues its Classical series with three subscription concert programs this April and May, including the D.C. premieres of NSO co-commissioned works by Mason Bates and Joan Tower, and a return to The Anthem venue in the Southwest Waterfront. NSO subscriptions are available here or by calling (202) 416-8500. Individual tickets are also available for purchase on the Kennedy Center's website.

On April 7 and 9, rising conductor Roderick Cox returns to the NSO to lead a program comprising Esa-Pekka Salonen's Helix-a one-movement piece by the Finnish composer and conductor that simulates a nine-minute accelerando-and Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5, which the Russian composer wrote during World War II as "a hymn to free and happy Man" (in his own words). Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major completes the concerts at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, showcasing the brilliance of French pianist Hélène Grimaud. Cox also leads the Salonen and Prokofiev works at The Anthem on April 8.

From May 12-14, Grammy® Award-winner Cristian Măcelaru conducts the D.C. premiere of former Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates' Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra, a look inside the workings of the instruments of the orchestra through live music and animated film. The new work, which was co-commissioned by the NSO, is bookended by the suite from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan-a four-act opera based on a poem by Aleksandr Pushkin-and Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 6.

The following week, from May 19-21, Louis Langrée honors his homeland by leading a predominantly French program of well-known works including Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Maurice Ravel's La valse and Boléro, his most famous composition. Award-winning cellist Alisa Weilerstein, a 2011 MacArthur fellow, joins the NSO as soloist in the premiere of another NSO co-commission: Joan Tower's A New Day. Tower dedicated the piece to her partner of 48 years, reflecting on their precious time together.

Artists and performances are subject to change.


Tickets to concerts at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall ($15-$99) are available at the Kennedy Center Box Office, online at, and via phone through Instant Charge, (202) 467-4600; toll-free at (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquires, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.

Tickets to the concert at The Anthem ($15-$30) are available at The Anthem Box Office, online at, and via phone at 1 (877) 4FLY-TIX.

As the Kennedy Center moves towards a full re-opening, it continues to prioritize the health and safety of artists, staff, and patrons. Current protocols can be found here and will continue to be updated as they evolve.

For full program information regarding the NSO classical 2021-2022 season, please see the website here. For more information about the NSO, visit

Photo Credits: Adriane White

Pictured: Cristian Macelaru

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