Washington Performing Arts Reveals its 2024/25 Season

Learn more about the lineup here!

By: Jun. 05, 2024
Washington Performing Arts Reveals its 2024/25 Season
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Washington Performing Arts has announced its 2024/25 season, In Harmony, running from September 2024 through June 2025 in seven indoor and outdoor venues across the Washington, D.C., region. The upcoming season celebrates connection and community through music, with highlights including: some of the most-acclaimed orchestras of today, rising stars of the piano world, commissioning projects, celebrations for the Embassy Adoption Program’s 50th anniversary, free performances under the auspices of Mars Arts D.C., and special programming commemorating World Pride 2025.

“The theme for our 2024-25 Season is: In Harmony,” Washington Performing Arts President and CEO Jenny Bilfield, said. “All of our programs tether to the concept of harmony. We hope you’ll feel the spirit of cultural diplomacy and connection infused into our Embassy Adoption Program at 50; the arts in harmony with the outdoors via our Mars Arts D.C. programs; the work and fellowship of our gospel choirs; artists working in alignment on stage creating something special and unique; partnerships embraced through each program and activity; and, in the most transcendent moments, a deep connection with, and to you, our audiences. In these complex times, we see harmony as an aspiration: when so much would divide us, we move emphatically towards our founder’s ethos, ‘Everybody in, nobody out’.”

Current subscribers to the Hayes Piano Series, Orchestra Series, and Recitalist Series may renew their seats June 6-July 11, 2024. Subscription pre-sale begins July 11 at 10 a.m. (donors $2500 and above), July 18 at 10 a.m. (donors $600 and above), and July 25 (donors $75 and above). General Public Subscription access begins August 2 at 10 a.m. Single Ticket sales begin August 16 at 10 a.m. Learn more at WashingtonPerformingArts.org

PRESENTING TOP ORCHESTRAS AT The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Washington Performing Arts continues its rich history of bringing the best of classical music to Washington audiences with two concerts featuring internationally acclaimed orchestras. The Berlin Philharmonic makes their long-awaited return to D.C. (November 15), kicking off their United States tour with Washington Performing Arts. Conductor Kirill Petrenko leads Sergei Rachmaninoff’s haunting Isle of the Dead, along with Dvořák's dramatic and austere Symphony No. 7 in D Minor. Celebrated violinist Hilary Hahn joins the orchestra for Erich Wolfgang Korngold's romantically cinematic Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major. Making their return to D.C. just nine days later (November 24) is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, featuring incoming Chief Conductor, 28-year-old Klaus Mäkelä, who was recently named incoming Chief Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The concert is a provocative combination of classic and modern works, beginning with a new composition by Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, sound artist, and the orchestra’s resident composer Ellen Reid (p r i s m, Push/Pull). “Rich and technically immaculate” (The Guardian) violinist Lisa Batiashvili performs Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2. The program concludes with Rachmaninoff’s epic Symphony No. 2. Closing out the 2024/25 season is Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Nine-time Grammy Award-winner Marsalis, who first appeared on the Washington Performing Arts series at the young age of 18, leads the acclaimed big band ensemble, consisting of both emerging talent and many of the top jazz musicians of today. (June 16).  

Washington Performing Arts’s chamber music concerts begin with a co-presentation with The Kennedy Center of the premier chamber orchestra dedicated to increasing representation of Black and Latinx artists in classical music, Sphinx Virtuosi, featuring percussionist Britton-René Collins (October 19). The performance is presented in cooperation with the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts and takes place in the Terrace Theater.


Washington, D.C., marks the 50th anniversary of Pride celebrations in the city with World Pride DC 2025, celebrating the city’s vibrant queer community with an array of local and visiting artists. Washington Performing Arts commemorates this milestone throughout the performance season with a World Pride event series. Opening the series is Pink Martini, celebrating their 30th anniversary as Portland’s “Little Orchestra.” Since its inception in 1994, Pink Martini has grown into a globe-totting sensation with genre-defying, multilingual performances, led by vocalist China Forbes and joined for this occasion by Ari Shapiro, Host of NPR’s All Things Considered. Last presented by Washington Performing Arts five years ago, Pink Martini turns The Kennedy Center into D.C.’s ultimate party (October 14) on the actual day of their first performance, 30 years ago. Critically acclaimed, gender-fluid drag queen, visual artist, and author Sasha Velour brings an immersive evening of drag, storytelling, and art in The Big Reveal Live Show, co-presented with the Music Center at Strathmore on January 25. On May 17, 1990’s fashion designer, author, and QVC maven Isaac Mizrahi performs his cabaret-style show, accompanied by a six-piece jazz band. Originally studying voice at the famed LaGuardia High School in New York as a teenager, Mizrahi set out to pursue a singing career but shifted to a fashion career instead. His performances are all-at-once funny and touching. D.C.-based singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer JChris performs at Songbyrd Music House (June 14) as part of the Mars Arts D.C. Concert Series at Songbyrd. JChris will also host World Pride: Culture of Colors at Songbyrd, celebrating the queer community of Latin America and beyond (June 28).


As the initial classical music programmers in D.C., preceding the opening of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington Performing Arts has a rich history of orchestral and recital performances. This season continues that treasured history with several internationally acclaimed pianists performing in some of the largest halls in Washington, D.C. Rescheduled from last fall, classical piano sensation Yunchan Lim brings his highly anticipated program of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in co-presentation with The Kennedy Center, (April 27) at the Concert Hall. The 20-year-old pianist prodigy made history when he became the youngest person to take home the Gold Medal from the 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, at age 18. Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho, who made his Washington, D.C., recital debut in March 2020 on the acclaimed Hayes Series, and sold-out last season’s run of concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra, brings his monumental full Ravel piano catalog program to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall (February 18). The program, with two intermissions, includes favorite works Gaspard de la Nuit, Tombeau de Couperin, Jeux, Valses nobles et sentimentales, and lesser-known works. Evgeny Kissin performs selections from Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues and Piano Sonata No. 2 in B Minor, Chopin’s Nocturnes in G Minor and in E-flat Major, and more at the Music Center at Strathmore (May 3).


This season, Washington Performing Arts presents several exciting solo and chamber artists in intimate venues. Chamber quartet Brooklyn Rider returns to D.C. joined by soprano Ariadne Greif, hailed by The New York Times as “a beautiful and physically fearless young singer,” to perform the U.S. premiere of Giovanni Sollima’s Four Quartets as well as works by Clarice Assad, Tyshawn Sorey (winner of the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Music), and Gabriel Kahane from the Brooklyn Rider Almanac, Book II (March 1) at Sixth & I. Known for their gripping performance style and adventurous programming, Brooklyn Rider utilizes the string quartet as a medium of endless possibility for invention, bringing an exciting performance to Washington Performing Arts. 

Washington Performing Arts’s third-annual Ruther Bader Ginsburg Memorial Recital (March 9) features an expansive co-commission from soprano Karen Slack entitled African Queens, presented in cooperation with the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts. The evening-length vocal recital of art songs celebrates the history and legacy of seven historic or “real-life” African queens, revered as rulers but not widely heralded in the Western world. Washington Performing Arts is a program commissioner for African Queens, and Karen Slack is recipient of the organization's Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award for its 2024/25 season. The program weaves historical narrative and accompanying visuals through new music by acclaimed composers Jasmine Barnes, Damien Geter, Jessie Montgomery, Shawn Okpebholo, Dave Ragland, Carlos Simon, and Joel Thompson, along with carefully selected traditional repertoire. The performance honors the legacy of Justice Ginsburg, a fan of music and a strong supporter of Washington Performing Arts programming. The organization established its annual memorial recital and corresponding Award to bring some of the world’s greatest artists to D.C. audiences, to lift emerging artists, and to support arts education in D.C. public schools; all values that resonated deeply with Justice Ginsburg.

Additionally in the Terrace, Nikolai Lugansky offers a program of Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and Wagner (February 9); and Yefim Bronfman returns with a program of Mozart, Debussy, and Tchaikovsky (April 14).


Named in honor of Washington Performing Arts founder Patrick Hayes and his wife, pianist and educator Evelyn Swarthout Hayes, the Hayes Piano Series showcases the world’s finest emerging pianists in intimate recitals. The 2024/25 series opens with Canadian-born pianist Tony Siqi Yun, 2019 Gold Medalist at the First China International Music Competition and a favorite of conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin (October 27). Siqi’s Washington Performing Arts debut recital includes Liszt’s arrangement of Wagner’s Isolde's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, Schumann’s Symphonic Études, Beethoven’s beloved "Appassionata" sonata, and Brahms’s Theme with Variations in D Minor—a work transcribed for Clara Schumann. The Hayes Series continues with Clayton Stephenson, a finalist of the 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition who is known for his joyous charisma onstage. Stephenson brings a program of Schubert, Stravinksy, Gershwin and more, to his Washington Performing Arts debut (March 15). Indonesian pianist Janice Carissa closes out the Hayes Series with Scarlatti’s Keyboard Sonata in A Major, Frederic Rzewski’s Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, Bach’s "Sheep May Safely Graze" and more. Carissa made her debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra at age 16 and has since performed alongside some of the top musicians of today (May 18).


As one of the only performing arts organizations with two resident gospel choirs, the Washington Performing Arts Men, Women, and Children of the Gospel Choirs, led by resident artists Maestra Michele Fowlin, Maestro T. Theodore Thorpe, with Music Director Anthony Walker and resident choreographer Karon Johnson, continue their mission this season to inspire audiences and nurture both aspiring and experienced vocalists. The choirs join forces with the Choral Arts Chorus, and their new Artistic Director Marie Bucoy-Calavan, for their annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Living the Dream...Singing the Dream (February 2). The Children of the Gospel Choir joined by alumni, and Men and Women of the Gospel Choir present an evening of soaring music and impressive artistry at their annual concert at the Lisner Auditorium (June 7). Both choirs have been a core part of Washington Performing Arts for more than 30 years, impacting hundreds of singers and spreading the joy of gospel music to audiences throughout the DMV. 


Each season, Washington Performing Arts brings together artists from across the globe for memorable performances in the D.C. area under the auspices of The World in Our City. Thematic cultural programs appear throughout the 24/25 season as the organization celebrates its 50-year partnership with D.C. Public Schools with its Embassy Adoption Program, the longest-standing partnership of DC Public Schools that connects fifth- and sixth-grade D.C. Public Schools students with more than 60 embassies and other diplomatic entities.

Annually through the Embassy Adoption Program, diplomats visit schools to provide students with a personalized understanding of their nation’s positions on various world issues, fostering global competency and cultural empathy. This year, the program expands to include deeper integration of arts and culture opportunities for youth, including more teaching artist classroom visits, performances at a Mini UN event, and special performances coordinated by Washington Performing Arts embassy partners to celebrate this milestone. 

Returning with his invigorating Masters of Percussion program, tabla master Zakir Hussain presents a full stage of world-renowned percussionists at The Kennedy Center Concert Hall (April 16). Hussain is one of India’s reigning cultural ambassadors and has been captivating audiences with Indian folk and classical traditions since the program's inception in 1996. This gathering of outstanding drummers brings together several world traditions in a single memorable performance.

Heralded by Lin-Manuel Miranda as the “next big thing on Broadway,” Jaime Lozano, along with his wife Florencia Cuenca fuse their Mexican roots with their journey to the American Dream in Broadway en Spanglish, a multi-lingual musical cabaret (February 1). The two, joined by musicians in the mariachi style, will sing new interpretations of musical theater from productions such as Hamilton, Waitress, Frozen, and more.

Additionally, Washington Performing Arts hosts two to three panels on arts diplomacy at the USC (University of Southern California) Capital Campus (DC) for young professionals through retirees who want to learn more about the impact of arts diplomacy worldwide. Dates to be announced.


Washington Performing Arts continues its legacy of regional collaborations and partnerships, working with creative communities, cultural institutions, and performance venues across the area to produce and present the very best in performing arts. Rooted in the motto of the organization's founder, Patrick Hayes, “everybody in, nobody out,” these programs and collaborations celebrate the excellence of local artists and further enrich the vibrant D.C. arts community.

In partnership with Mosaic Theater Sept. 20-24, journey to 1959 for an unforgettable rendezvous with Lady Day herself—the incomparable Billie Holiday. The acclaimed one-woman play with music, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, transports audiences into a small bar in Philadelphia for one of the icon’s final concerts, transforming the theater into an immersive nightclub. Helen Hayes Award winner and frequent Mars Arts D.C. artist Roz White – known nationally for her broad vocal range and portrayal as Tina Turner’s mother in the national touring company of Broadway’s Tina – stars as Holiday. As part of the Mars Arts D.C. and Mosaic Theater partnership, Washington Performing Arts audiences have special access to a 50% discount on performances September 20-22, 2024, with code WPA50 at MosaicTheater.org/lady-day-at-emersons-bar-and-grill or (202) 399-7993 x501. Code is active from June 25, 2024, and available while supplies last.

Continuing its longstanding tradition of working with military bands and veterans, and in commemoration of Military Appreciation Month, Washington Performing Arts is proud to present Modern Warrior Live, an autobiographical evening by U.S. Army veteran Jaymes Poling (May 10). Through an immersive music and narrative experience, Poling shares his personal journey through the challenges of military service and homecoming experience, creating a catalyst for a meaningful conversation about mental health. A top jazz ensemble is led by trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, who served as ambassador to Jazz at Lincoln Center from 2013-2015 in Doha, Qatar.  This presentation also includes a companion Modern Warrior Experience featuring stories by and presented by local veterans paired in performance with Dominick Farinacci and other musicians. Venue and date to be announced.

One of D.C.’s most scenic greenspaces Tregaron Conservancy will become the host for the Mars Arts D.C. autumnal concert Tregaron Unplugged (October 5)—and vernal Tregaron Meadow Concert (May 4) outdoor concert event. The fall event will feature stages throughout the park with acoustic performances, encouraging listeners to engage with the space while sampling different performances. Both performances are free and great for all ages. 

The Mars Arts D.C. Concert Series continues to bring exciting artists to Songbyrd Music House, the 2023 Wammies Best Music Venue winner located in Union Market. Mars Arts D.C. collaborations share Washington Performing Arts's musical excellence with an even larger audience by reducing socioeconomic barriers to great performances and entering the neighborhoods that branch out from the city’s metro center. This season’s concert season at Songbyrd includes: Akua Allrich, who pays tribute to African-American women in music with her signature blend of jazz and blues (March 5); a unique fusion concert entitled Musical Journey: District Coalition (April 2); powerhouse vocalist Ronnette Rollins (May 7); and Got Sol with Lonny Taylor (June 4), and JChris (June 14). Additionally at Songbyrd, JChris hosts a special World Pride celebration entitled Colors of Culture, celebrating the queer community across Latin America on June 28.



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