Fortas Chamber Music Concerts Announces 2023–2024 Season Opening Performances

Upcoming fall performances feature Augustin Hadelich, the Emerson String Quartet, Maxim Vengerov, and Sir Bryn Terfel.

By: Sep. 06, 2023

Fortas Chamber Music Concerts, led by Artistic Director Jennifer Koh at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, begins the 2023–2024 season with a lineup of three recitals by esteemed artists and a valedictory performance by one of the world's premiere string quartets. Upcoming fall performances feature Augustin Hadelich (October 15), the Emerson String Quartet (October 20), Maxim Vengerov (November 14), and Sir Bryn Terfel (November 19).

Opening the season, on October 15, violinist Augustin Hadelich, joined by pianist Orien Weiss, will present works by Beethoven, John Adams, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Prokofiev, and Amy Beach in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Artistic Director Jennifer Koh said, “An exceptionally gifted and well-respected violinist, Augustin Hadelich brings a program of classics for violin and piano. From two traditional sonatas, to a minimalist piece written in the 80s, to several show pieces, the repertoire will put his excellence as a performer on full display.”

On Friday, October 20, the famed Emerson String Quartet gives its final D.C. performance in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. The ensemble will perform the D.C. premiere of Sarah Kirkland Snider's new work, Drink the Wild Ayre, along with Beethoven's String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat major with “Grosse Fuge,” and works by Mozart and Bartók.

“We're so excited to bring you the Emerson String Quartet, the preeminent American string quartet for decades, in its farewell season,” said Koh. “How special it is for them to be performing Bartók—their first recording of his string quartets was considered groundbreaking for an American ensemble. Plus, their program is bookended by two great composers' takes on fugues, promising an exciting penultimate performance.”

The following month, violinist Maxim Vengerov, and renowned bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel take the stage of the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on November 14 and November 19, respectively.

Vengerov, accompanied by pianist Polina Osetinskaya, will perform works by Clara and Robert Schumann, Brahms, and Prokofiev. “[Vengerov] brings a very interesting program to the Concert Hall,” Koh said. “The first half explores a community of composers of the same era, showcasing different perspectives of the same time. The second half focuses solely on Prokofiev, with the selections covering different periods of his artistic life, which will give audiences an overview of the evolution of Prokofiev's compositional style.”

Terfel, along with his wife, harpist Hannah Stone, and pianist Annabel Thwaite, will deliver an eclectic program of classical, traditional, and musical theater songs, operatic arias, and Welsh folk songs. Of this program, Koh said: “Something I have come to recognize is that artists often return to their roots; the works that they sang in their younger days are now transformed by their entire careers and life experiences. It will be compelling to have that in mind as Terfel sings a wealth of Welsh folk songs and more in recital.”

The 2023–2024 season marks the 42nd season of the Kennedy Center's chamber music series, established in the 1981–1982 season by Marta Istomin, who, at the time, was the Kennedy Center's Artistic Director. The Fortas Chamber Music Concerts, established as part of the Terrace Concerts during the 1983–1984 season, began a vibrant new life in the 1999–2000 season when—in addition to the generous contributions of loyal supporters of the Fortas Fund—income from a major gift to the Fortas Fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas, became available to support the artistic programming. Fortas Chamber Music Concerts is named for the former Supreme Court Justice, who was instrumental in the creation of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and later, the Terrace Theater. The Kennedy Center's Board of Trustees established the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund in 1982 for the support of concerts in the Terrace Theater, and for the further development of the musical programs he envisioned. Major support for Fortas Chamber Music Concerts continues to be provided by this fund.

Fortas Chamber Music Concerts is under the artistic direction of violinist Jennifer Koh, who was appointed to the position in December 2022. Koh follows the late Joseph “Yossi” Kalichstein, who served as the Kennedy Center's Artistic Advisor for Chamber Music and Artistic Director of the Fortas Chamber Music Concerts from 1997–2022.

Through its history the series has featured frequent appearances by artists such as the Guarneri, Emerson, Juilliard, Takács, Dover, and Alban Berg Quartets; early music ensembles Anonymous 4, Trio Medieval, and the Waverly Consort; performances by Eugene Istomin, Emanuel Ax, Edgar Meyer, Susan Graham, Isaac Stern, and Yo-Yo Ma; as well as many other distinguished artists and ensembles that actively perform and commission new works.

Program Listing


Sunday, October 15, 2023 at 2 p.m.
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Augustin Hadelich, violin
Orion Weiss, piano

Ludwig van Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 10 in G major John Adams Road Movies Daniel Bernard Roumain Filter Sergei Prokofiev Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor Amy BEACH Romance


Friday, October 20, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Emerson String Quartet
Eugene Drucker, violin
Philip Setzer, violin
Lawrence Dutton, viola
Paul Watkins, cello

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART  Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier for
  String Quartet Sarah Kirkland SNIDER Drink the Wild Ayre
  (Music Accord Commission, D.C. Premiere) Béla BARTÓK String Quartet No. 2 Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat major, with “Grosse Fuge”


Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 8 p.m.
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Maxim Vengerov, violin
Polina Osetinskaya, piano

Clara SCHUMANN Three Romances For Violin and Piano Johannes BRAHMS Scherzo from “F-A-E” Sonata Robert Schumann Violin Sonata No. 3 in A minor Sergei Prokofiev Five Melodies   Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major


Sunday, November 19, 2023 at 2 p.m.
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Sir Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone
Hannah Stone, harp
Annabel Thwaite, piano

Gerald FINZI Let Us Garlands Bring John Thomas “Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn” Ivor Novello “I Can Give You the Starlight” Traditional, arr. Chris Hazell “Suo Gân” Ivor Novello “We'll Gather Lilacs” Traditional, arr. Chris Hazell “Ar Ian y môr” Traditional, arr. John Thomas and Brian Davies “Dafydd y Garreg Wen” Ivor Novello “My Dearest Dear” Ivor Novello “And Her Mother Came Too” Franz Schubert “Liebesbotschaft”

“Litanei auf das Fest Aller Seelen”

“Auf dem Wasser zu singen”

“Gruppe aus dem Tartarus”

Jesus GURIDI “Viejo Zortzico” Claude Debussy “Nuit d'étoiles” Robert Schumann “Mein schöner Stern!” Richard Wagner “O du, mein holder Abendstern” from Tannhäuser Traditional, arr. Chris Hazell “Ar Hyd y Nos” Claude-Michel SCHÖNBERG “Stars” from Les Misérables

Tickets ($20–$69) are available at the Kennedy Center Box Office, online at, and via phone through Instant Charge, (202) 467-4700; toll-free at (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquires, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.


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