The National Chamber Ensemble Announces 2023-24 Season

Opening night will feature renowned soprano Sharon Christman singing songs of Franz Schubert, Amy Beach, Fanny Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss and more.

By: Sep. 17, 2023
The National Chamber Ensemble Announces 2023-24 Season

The National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) has announced the 2023-2024 season, opening Saturday, November 4, 2023, presenting Diva's Night Out with Schubert at Marymount University's Ballston Center. The National Chamber Ensemble will continue their partnership with Marymount University in the coming season and will open and close the season at their beautiful auditorium in Arlington's vibrant Ballston neighborhood. Opening night will feature renowned soprano Sharon Christman singing songs of Franz Schubert, Amy Beach, Fanny Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss and more. For the second half of the program Ms. Christman will sing Schubert's famous “Die Forelle” followed by NCE's performance of his exciting Piano Quintet of the same name.

Saturday, December 16, 2023, celebrates Holiday Cheer at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington with an evening of classical holiday favorites the entire family will enjoy.  Dylana Jenson, the first American woman, and the youngest ever to win at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition will be the featured violinist. Ms. Jenson made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Eugene Ormandy. She will join NCE's artistic director/violinist Leo Sushansky to perform the extraordinary Concerto for Two Violins by J.S. Bach and will also perform the virtuoso showpiece, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by Camille Saint-Saens, which she recorded for RCA with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The concert will also feature some outstanding pianists; the winners of the 2023 NCE Young Artist Competition. The program concludes with a sing-along guaranteed to put everyone in the holiday spirit.

The Valentine's Concert explores the passionate and exciting Argentinian music of 'The Tango.” Astor Piazzolla's “Four Seasons in Buenos Aires” will come to life with a dance performance by renowned choreographer, Lucy Bowen McCauley joining music and movement that will captivate the audience and bring the essence of TANGO to life on stage. Nothing says “love” like the Tango. Don't miss this performance of Passion of the Tango at Gunston Arts Center – Theatre 1 on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

March brings Diverse Romantic Visions: Florence Price and Brahms, Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Gunston Arts Center – Theatre 1. The lush string quartet by American composer Florence Price and some extraordinary short works for clarinet which define the 'Age of Romanticism.' Acclaimed clarinetist Julian Milkis returns to thrill NCE audiences with the Brahms famous Clarinet Quintet which is one of the definitive clarinet chamber music compositions of the Romantic period.

The season concludes Saturday, May 18, 2024, with a Concerto Celebration: Bologne, Mendelssohn and Beethoven at Marymount University Ballston Center. This program will consist of famous concertos in a chamber music setting. The opening work will be a piece by Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Joseph Bologne), fondly known as the 'Black Mozart.' NCE Artistic Director Leonid (Leo) Sushansky is featured in Mendelssohn's popular Violin Concerto in E Minor and Beethoven's dramatic Piano Concerto No. 5 – “The Emperor” and will include piano virtuoso Carlos Cesar Rodiguez.

“It is exciting to bring this program to our audiences,” said Leo Sushansky. “This season marks our 17th year of bringing diverse and meaningful music to the DC community. New Perspectives brings awareness and highlights some lesser-known remarkable masters. Each concert will feature a work by a woman composer, a composer of color, or both.  The season will feature some of the favorite chamber works of all time plus a few surprises,” he said.

LEO SUSHANSKY (Artistic Director) founded The National Chamber Ensemble in 2007.  He made his national debut at the age of 12 performing on the Marvin Hamlisch Showtime Special. At age 13 he was a scholarship student at the Juilliard School of music where he studied for 7 years. At age 15 he made his debut with the New York Philharmonic at the invitation of Zubin Mehta and performed Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Leo holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Julliard School and Master of Music from University of Maryland.

SHARON CHRISTMAN (Soprano) has soloed and debuted in almost every Lincoln Center venue. She made her Alice Tully Hall debut singing Pergolesi's Orpheus Cantata with the New York Chamber Orchestra. She has performed with members of the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera and the Opera Orchestra of New York. Peter Davis of New York Magazine has called Ms. Christman's singing “dazzling.” Daniel Webster of The Philadelphia Enquirer called her “a polished stylist with a gleaming voice.” She has received numerous awards including the coveted Puccini Foundation Award. She has performed at the White House, The National Gallery of Art, the Kennedy Center and with the Arlington Symphony, Fairfax Symphony and Catholic University Symphony.

DYLANA JENSON (Violinist) was a child prodigy. She studied violin with her mother beginning at age two and ten months and later with the prominent violin teacher Manuel Compinsky, the internationally renowned concert violinist Nathan Milstein and Josef Gingold. She made her debut at age eight, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. At age nine, she appeared on a Jack Benny television special. At age eleven, she performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Dylana played Henri Wieniawski's Concert Polonaise on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. By age thirteen, she had performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She toured Europe, Latin America and the Soviet Union. In 1978, at age seventeen, she shared the silver medal in the International Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow. Jenson has appeared with most of the major American symphony orchestras, in Europe and South America.

LUCY BOWEN McCAULEY (Choreographer) was the artistic director, choreographer and creative energy behind Bowen McCauley Dance which enjoy an extraordinary 25-year run. Her love for dance moved her to form the company in 1996. During that time, she created over 80 works ranging from lyrical ballets to highly physical contemporary pieces set to rock music. Her repertoire offers an unconventional array of genres; her choreography demonstrates a fluent outpouring of dance blending balletic lines, quirky gestures and modern dance's earthiness that uniquely explores the interplay between music, dance, and drama. Lucy has received numerous awards and recognition for her excellence in dance. In October 2010 McCauley received the prestigious lifetime award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance Education at the 10th Annual Metro DC Dance Awards in Washington. She has been featured in USA Today, Dance Teacher, and The Washington Post. In partnership with the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area, she leads weekly dance classes called Dance for PD to people with Parkinson Disease and their care-partners.

JULIAN MILKIS (Clarinetist) is an internationally acclaimed soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, and jazz clarinetist. He has appeared on major world stages throughout the Far East, Europe, and the Americas: New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Paris; the Great Halls of the Moscow Conservatory and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. He has performed in prominent music festivals in France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey, New York, and Canada and also for radio and television broadcast throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia and Moscow. He studied at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music and was the only student of Benny Goodman. Mr. Milkis has a master's degree in Russian Literature from Norwich University, Vermont, and is interested in all aspects of the fine arts.

CARLOS CESAR RODRIGUEZ (Pianist) has gained international recognition as a virtuoso pianist performing a Hispanic and Spanish repertoire but is also a master of the classics. He made his recital debut at age 5 in Venezuela where he began his early training. By 11, he made his orchestral debut as a soloist and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York by 21. He received his bachelor's degree in music from the North Carolina School for the Arts and his master's from the Julliard School.

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