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Augustus Julliard

Arts Days: April 19, 1836: Schooled in the Arts
Augustus Juilliard was born on a ship while his family made the crossing to America from their native France. Raised in Ohio, Juilliard moved to New York City when he was 30, amassing great wealth through his work in the textile industry. Juilliard went on to use his fortune to support a range of cultural and social causes, from the American Museum of Natural History to New York hospitals.

Juilliard is said to have loved music, in particular opera music. In his will, he left money toward the creation of a music school, which today we call The Juilliard School. Juilliard is admired around the world for its rigor in turning out young dancers, musicians, actors, and singers. Those who are admitted into the school have to have exceptional grades and proven talent in the performing arts.
Art Venues, Europe, Education, Music, Music Legends

iTunes

Arts Days: April 28, 2003: MP3 Mania
When a company named Apple, which had long sold computers and software, launched a Web store to sell digital versions of songs, music lovers realized the ways in which they would listen were changing. For decades, people had bought music scratched into vinyl records or wrapped in plastic boxes: eight-track tapes, cassettes, or CDs.

Apple’s venture made them wonder whether their collection—and the means to play it—would become obsolete. For that matter, the way artists recorded songs and record labels released them also changed with the rise of digital tunes. However, one of the biggest problems the digital music store created was pirating or illegal downloading of artist’s songs which considerably hurt sales. Still, the sound quality of digital tracks is top-notch.
Innovators & Pioneers, Inventions, Music

Duke Ellington

Arts Days: April 29, 1899: The Duke of Jazz
One of the greatest musicians of all time was Edward Kennedy Ellington—more commonly known as Duke. He was a superb piano player, composer, and bandleader in a career which extended for over 50 years. Ellington’s leadership of his own “big band”—a term for jazz-playing orchestras that became popular in the 1920s—set the bar for all bandleaders who would follow him. In the beginning, Ellington’s orchestra landed a weekly gig at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club.

It lasted for over a decade and brought his music to untold fans who were there in person or listening on the radio. His arrangements, conducting, and charismatic personality all helped popularize the big band sound, and the songs he wrote alone or with his trusted collaborators, numbered nearly 2,000. Ellington’s music is a study of contrasts—dramatic and personal, traditional and innovative, strictly composed and loosely improvised—music often based on a highly personal memory, mood, or image.
Composers, Innovators & Pioneers, Music Legends, Jazz, Music

Willie Nelson

Arts Days: April 30, 1933: Part Hippie, Part Outlaw, All Talent
He’s a songwriter and singer, an activist, actor, and author. And yes, Willie Nelson, whose hit songs run from “Always on My Mind” to “Good Hearted Woman,” is also an American icon. His grandparents got him music lessons through the mail when he was a very young boy, and he landed a spot playing guitar in a band at the ripe old age of nine. In addition to playing and singing his own music, flecked with jazz, folk, and rock influences, Nelson wrote monster hits like “Crazy” and "Pretty Paper.”

He conceived the Farm Aid concerts in 1985 as a way to bring awareness to the financial and agricultural problems faced by American farmers. These concerts were hugely successful and helped pass laws protecting farmers from foreclosure. Wearing his signature long braid down his back, Willie Nelson continues to sell out stadium shows, write music, and support many charity organizations.
Music, Popular Culture, Music Legends

Beethoven

Arts Days: April 27, 1810: Elise Who?
We´ll never know who the great German composer and piano virtuoso Ludwig van Beethoven had in mind when he wrote this delicate piano composition that is instantly recognizable after just a few notes. While it’s known as For Elise in English, its formal name is Bagatelle in A minor (a bagatelle is a short, light piece of music usually written for piano). Für Elise was actually jotted down right on the paper Beethoven used.

Some scholars think the reference indicates Beethoven wrote it for one of his girlfriends, but others say the informal name is the result of a transcription goof, and in fact the piece was intended to be Für Therese (a woman Beethoven had really wanted to marry but never did). At any rate, Für Elise is a charming work.
Math, Music Legends, Composers, Orchestra, Europe

Hammond Organ

Arts Days: April 24, 1934: The First Organ Transplant
When an American inventor named Laurens Hammond demonstrated an organ without pipes on this day, musicians like George Gershwin were skeptical (though Gershwin bought one anyway). No one could quite believe that a pipeless electric organ could produce the majestic sounds of the pipe organ that had dominated church services and musical events for centuries. However, once Hammond’s organ was played, the skeptics grew silent.

Using a complex series of magnets, coils, and gears deep inside the console of the instrument, Hammond had created a new instrument capable of all the melodic richness of the pipe organ but in a much smaller size. The price couldn’t be beat, either—$1,250 compared to $4,000 and up for traditional organs, which used air pumped into the pipes by the organist to create their sound.
Musical Instruments, Music, Math, Inventions

Ella Fitzgerald

Arts Days: April 25, 1918: The First Lady of Song
At age 15, Ella Fitzgerald won the chance to compete at amateur night at New York City’s famed Apollo Theater. While she had originally planned to do a dance number, she got nervous. Fitzgerald changed her mind at the last minute, opened her mouth, and sang. That glorious voice stunned the audience and delighted jazz sax player Benny Carter, who happened to be there that night.

Carter went on to introduce Fitzgerald to people who might help this young singer find a greater audience. Fitzgerald later mastered a type of vocal improvisation called “scat singing,” in which she would sing in syllables, not words. Scatting lets a singer play around with sound, creating a vocal solo much like a clarinetist or trumpeter might invent a solo on his instrument. Fitzgerald, a 1979 Kennedy Center Honoree, made about 200 jazz records, whose collective sales would number about 40 million.
Innovators & Pioneers, Music Legends, Jazz, Art Venues, Music

Ma Rainey

Arts Days: April 26, 1886: Mother of the Blues
She was born Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett Rainey, but it was as Ma Rainey that this Southern singer became one of the first professional blues singers ever, and certainly one of the first to make records. She started performing in vaudeville when she was still a teenager. Once, hearing another girl sing a sad song, Ma Rainey noticed how attentively the audience listened, so she began developing an emotional, world-weary singing style, a style she claims to have dubbed “blues.”

People loved it, and Rainey sang live at shows for decades before she recorded for Paramount Records. From 1923 to 1928, Rainey recorded about 100 songs, including “Jelly Bean Blues” and “Bo Weevil Blues,” a song partly about the beetle that destroyed cotton crops across the U.S. in the 1920s, but also about disappointments in love. In fact, many blues songs sung by Ma Rainey and other blues artists to this day have double meanings.
Blues, Music, Music Legends

Billie Holiday

Arts Days: April 07, 1915: The Lady Sang the Blues
Although vocally untrained, Billie Holiday possessed talents and characteristics far more critical to singing the blues—a natural ear for music and a life of turmoil and sorrow. Holiday changed the art of pop vocals with her smoky voice, unique word phrasing, and dramatic interpretations of classic songs. Her poignant renditions of love songs and ballads are considered classic; no one “carried a torch” like Holiday.

Discovered singing in a jazz club in the early 1930s, Holiday soon signed a record deal and began collaborations with musicians like Artie Shaw and Lester Young (who nicknamed her “Lady Day”). She shattered racial barriers by being the first black woman to front a big band composed of white musicians and by singing about lynching in the haunting “Strange Fruit.” Songs Holiday wrote with others, like “God Bless the Child,” rocketed to the top of the charts. Sadly, Holiday’s struggles with drug and alcohol addiction led to her untimely death at the age of 44.
Art Venues, Blues, Jazz, Music, Music Legends, Popular Culture

Muddy Waters

Arts Days: April 04, 1915: The Father of Chicago Blues
While growing up in the deep South, Muddy Waters dabbled with the harmonica, but it was when he started learning to play the blues guitar that things really got cooking. Waters basically invented a whole new type of blues music, called “Chicago Blues” named for the city where he made his biggest mark. His unique performing style combined country blues with rock and roll electrification. He sang about hard times in the Mississippi Delta, heartbreak, and other subjects.

The “bottleneck” style of guitar playing that Waters mastered was more commonly known as slide guitar. It was dubbed so because Waters slid a piece of glass (sometimes from a bottle, hence the name) or other material against the strings. This created a whole new range of sounds for Waters. In Waters’ case, this sort of playing almost made the instrument an extension of his singing voice, complete with growls, slurs, and screeches.
Blues, America, Musical Instruments, Music Legends, Music

Supremes

Arts Days: April 08, 1964: Talent Times Three
When another girl group, the Marvelettes, passed over the chance to record “Where Did Our Love Go,” the Supremes—Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard, three teenagers from the gritty streets of Detroit—got their big break. A few months after they recorded the tune, the song hit the top of the U.S. pop and rhythm and blues charts.

That’s how the most popular girl group in history kicked off their hit-generating prowess: “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and others were not far behind. The Supremes’ star was on the rise. Since then, every all-female group owes a debt to the Supremes.
Music, Popular Culture, Rock & Roll

Marian Anderson

Arts Days: April 09, 1939: Let Freedom Sing

For more than 40 years, Marian Anderson’s supple contralto voice—lower than an alto or soprano—thrilled audiences the world over. She preferred singing in recitals to opera performance, though many opera companies tried to entice her to sing with them. However, it was the Daughters of the American Revolution’s refusal to let Anderson sing at Constitution Hall simply because of her race that set the stage for perhaps the most important concert of her career.

With an assist from President Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, Anderson gave a spellbinding public performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Some 75,000 people listened live in the chilly spring air, and millions more heard Anderson sing on the radio. In 1955, reconsidering her stance on singing in operas, she became the first African American to perform at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Her grace and beauty—to say nothing of that remarkable voice—made Marian Anderson an important symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.

For more on this historic concert, listen to Of Thee We Sing: Marian Anderson and the Music of the Early Civil Rights Movement.


America, Music, Opera, Controversial

Harold Prince

Arts Days: January 30, 1928: Theater Royalty is Born
Harold Prince, American theater producer and director, was associated with many of the best known Broadway musicals of the 20th century.

Born on this day in New York, NY, Prince landed his first job out of college in the office of legendary theater mogul George Abbott. Under Abbott's guidance, he learned the craft of creating original musical theater productions.

Prince co-produced a number of popular musicals in the 1950s and 60s including The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and Cabaret. In the 1970s, he met composer Stephen Sondheim and almost exclusively produced all of Sondheim's musicals.

In 1976, Prince directed his first of many operas for the New York City Opera. Since then he has directed two of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera. Prince received 21 Tony Awards, more than any other individual, for his work as both a producer and director.
Broadway, Innovators & Pioneers, Musicals, Theater

Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Video: The Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Conductor Emil de Cou leads an expedition to the Kennedy Center's grand Concert Hall
Art Venues, Music, Orchestra, Science

ARTSEDGE logo

Educators: Educators Portal
Standards-based instructional resources, how-to's, guides and other supports for teaching with the arts
Education, Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts

A World of Music

Audio Series: A World of Music
We’re off on a Musical Tour of Europe! The invention of the orchestra hundreds of years ago meant bigger musical possibilities, and composers all across Europe were inspired to try their hand at pushing classical music to new limits
Composers, Controversial, Europe, Folklore, Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra

Audio Series: Listen Up! Music Is a Language
Did you know music has a lot to say? Without any words at all, music is a language that anyone can understand.
Composers, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Language

Reach For The Moon: John F. Kennedy’s Vision and Courage

Audio Series: NSO Young People's Concert - Reach For The Moon
Just like President Kennedy had a vision for America, composers have visions of how they want their music to sound. For some, their musical mission is to explore a galaxy of stars and planets, moon shots, space walks, and galactic battles!
Composers, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Technology, Space, Presidents

Bernstein! Inside the Music

Multimedia Series: NSO Young People's Concert - Bernstein! Inside the Music
As an equally-famous conductor, composer, and musician, Leonard Bernstein not only conducted music by the world’s greatest composers, he also wrote many important works for orchestras.
Composers, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Music Legends

NSO YPC Exploring Extremes

Audio Series: Exploring Extremes: Music to the Max!
Join the NSO to explore music’s extremes—from high notes and low notes to how big or small instruments (and their sounds!) can be. Plus, get to know the “extremely talented” violin, and discover different ways of listening to music.
Composers, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra

Blue Note

Audio Series: Celebrating Blue Note
This audio series celebrates the history and style of Blue Note Records on its 75th anniversary. Narrated by Susan Stamberg for the Kennedy Center.
Jazz, Music, Music Legends

Nobody's Perfect

Video Series: Nobody's Perfect: Page to Stage
Explore the creation of the Kennedy Center's Theater for Young Audiences and VSA Arts production of Nobody's Perfect, including how American Sign Language was incorporated into a lively musical (ASL captioning is included in every episode in this series).
Jobs in the Arts, Language, Literature, Theater, Young Artists, Backstage, Musicals, Accessibility

Book stack

Audio Series: Page to Stage
Taking a musical from words on a page to songs on a stage: in this series, follow along as talented playwrights, designers and directors at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts transform classic works of literature into original theatrical productions.
Literature, Theater, Jobs in the Arts, Music

Halloween Spooktacular - The Sequel!

KC Connection: NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular - The Sequel! Web Extension
Additional music heard in the NSO Halloween Spooktacular: The Sequel! program
Orchestra, Music

NSO Haloween Whodunit

KC Connection: NSO Family Concert: Halloween Whodunit Web Extension
Additional music heard in the NSO Halloween Whodunit program
Orchestra, Music

Photograph of the inaugural speech of President John F. Kennedy

KC Festival: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Kennedy Center marks the 50th anniversary of a remarkable American presidency
Presidents, America, Dance, Music, Theater, Poetry

maximum INDIA

KC Festival: maximum INDIA
The Kennedy Center celebrates the arts and artists of India
Dance, Music, Asia, World Cultures, India

Camille Thurman

2700 F St.: Camille Thurman: The Origin of the Blues
What is the Blues? Saxophonist, vocalist, and composer Camille Thurman and her quartet present a fun session exploring the genre. Students can learn about the blues in terms of history and geography, the influence of society and culture, and presence in today’s music. Students will also get to hear Camille Thurman, whose vocal abilities have been compared to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter, and who has been equally lauded for her lush, rich, and warm sound on the tenor saxophone.
Young Artists, Blues, Jazz, Music

Chanticleer

2700 F St.: Chanticleer: Performance/Demonstration
Called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by the New Yorker, the San Francisco based Grammy® award-winning ensemble Chanticleer is known for its seamless blend of twelve male voices ranging from soprano to bass. Known as “an orchestra of voices,” the group excels in original interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz and popular genres, and a strong commitment to contemporary compositions. The winner of the 2010 Chorus America Education Outreach Award, Chanticleer’s education programs engage over 5,000 young people annually. At the Kennedy Center, students have the opportunity to engage with the group through a lecture concert.
Young Artists, Music

Imani Winds

2700 F St.: Imani Winds: Performance/Demonstration
Formed in 1997, Imani Winds is a classical woodwind ensemble known for their high-energy performances and musical versatility. They focus on representing composers and cultures of diverse musical backgrounds in their repertoire. Get to know them and their unique style as they perform and explore the building blocks of music.
Music, Musical Instruments

Anastasia

2700 F St.: Anastasia
Inspired by the beloved films, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical Anastasia is on a journey to Washington at last! From the Tony Award®–winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, this dazzling show transports us from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, a lush new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (also the acclaimed composer/lyricist team for the Kennedy Center production of Little Dancer), and direction by Tony Award® winner Darko Tresnjak.
Europe, History, Musicals

Cantus

2700 F St.: Cantus: Performance/Demonstration
A small but extraordinary all-male chamber choir from Minnesota, Cantus is known worldwide for its trademark warmth and engaging performances. Working without a conductor, the members rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing to the entirety of the artistic process.
Music

Selma

2700 F St.: Selma: A Film and Live Music Event with the NSO, Jason Moran, and Others
Experience Ava DuVernay’s film on a big screen with Jason Moran’s acclaimed score for the film performed live by a full orchestra conducted by Ryan McAdams. This event coincides with the one-year anniversary of the opening of the National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Music, History, America

Sphinx Virtuosi

2700 F St.: Sphinx Virtuosi: Performance/Demonstration
This amazing, conductorless chamber orchestra is known for showcasing a tremendous variety of styles. The ensemble has caused a major, positive shift in the landscape of chamber artists, with programs delighting young and new audiences as much as seasoned listeners.
Music, Musical Instruments, Young Artists

Terence Blanchard Quintet

2700 F St.: Terence Blanchard Quintet
Not only is New Orleans trumpeter Terence Blanchard one of jazz music’s most prominent brass players, he’s also an award-winning composer, arranger, and bandleader. Along with members of his quintet, discover the essentials of jazz improvisation and composition.
Jazz, Music Legends, Music

Time For Three

2700 F St.: Time For Three
Not many groups could pull off such an eclectic mix of music. But the group Time for Three (Tf3) has never let being unusual slow them down. In their case, the result is an exciting, passionate playlist that breaks the barriers of classical music. That might just be why Time for Three is called “America’s favorite classical garage band.”
Jazz, Music, Young Artists

Open The Door For Three

2700 F St.: Open The Door For Three
What do a classically trained violinist, an American-born tin whistler, and an Irish singer have in common?
Music

NSO Open Rehearsal

2700 F St.: NSO Open Rehearsal with Q&A Session
During this rehearsal, Maestro Christoph Eschenbach will conduct a program that includes music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Anton Bruckner.
Music, Composers, Backstage, Music Legends, Orchestra

Pinderhughes

2700 F St.: Samora and Elena Pinderhughes
Samora and Elena Pinderhughes are a brother-sister jazz duo who grew up playing music together. Both together and separately, their music is influential in the world of contemporary jazz.
Jazz, Music, Young Artists

Harlem Quartet

2700 F St.: Harlem Quartet: Performance/Demonstration
What do you think about when you picture a string quartet? Well, Harlem Quartet wants to shake that image up.
Music, Musical Instruments, America, Young Artists

WNO The Marriage of Figaro - Amanda Majeski as The Countess - photo by Todd Rosenberg

2700 F St.: Washington National Opera's The Marriage of Figaro
This is a story about one happy couple that just wants to get married and one unhappy couple that’s already married… and not doing so well.
Opera, Composers, Music, Music Legends, Europe

Musical Theatre Today

2700 F St.: Musical Theatre Today
Forget everything you thought you knew about Broadway-style shows because this performance gives you an insider’s look at modern musical theater—musical theater today.
Theater, Backstage, Broadway, Musicals, Playwrights & Plays

Let's Remix The Classix!

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Let's Remix The Classix!
What would the classics sound like with a Hip Hop beat? How about as a mashup with some cool rockin’ rhythms? Find out when the NSO reunites with Grammy®-nominated beatboxer and multi-instrumentalist Christylez Bacon and wildly original electric cellist/composer Wytold for a crash course in the fundamentals of remixing! Through beatboxing, improvising, and other creative techniques, these D.C. favorites take inspiration from Pachelbel's Canon, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, Bernstein's West Side Story, and other masterpieces featured everywhere from movies to TV to weddings—and make them completely their own.
Music, Musical Instruments, Hip-Hop, Composers

The String Thing

Cuesheet: NSO Music for Young Audiences: The String Thing
ATTENTION: kids, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, rubber chickens... but especially kids and rubber chickens! Step right up to this daring double act of classical fun! Bassist Paul DeNola and violinist Heather LeDoux Green take a break from the NSO to introduce young audiences to some of the greatest music ever written. You’ll never hear a word out of them during the concert, but with instruments in hand and a trunk full of gags, this “silent” comedic tag-team presents a hilarious program of music and mayhem.
Music, Musical Instruments, Composers

Two Divas & a Bear

Cuesheet: NSO Music for Young Audiences: Two Divas and a Bear
What happens when you bring together a concert violinist, an opera singer, and everyone’s favorite stuffed animal? You get Two Divas and a Bear! Join NSO violinist Marissa Regni and soprano Kari Paludan as they explore the human voice. As it turns out, the violin has a voice, too! As you listen to Schubert’s The Trout, Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, and Rossini’s Two Cats, you’ll discover that the strings of the violin are very similar to our very own vocal cords.
Music, Musical Instruments, Composers, Animals

Night Train 57

Cuesheet: Night Train 57: A Sensory-Friendly Folk Opera
All aboard the Night Train! Enter the freewheeling musical world of Grammy® winner Dan Zanes, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Claudia Eliaza, and more special guests for an interactive folk opera that takes audiences on a far-out ride to the galaxies and back. During a joyous dusk-to-dawn trip through the stars, passengers on Night Train 57 will discover the power of friendship and community with the sounds of 21st century handmade sing-along music.
Theater, Music, Musical Instruments, Accessibility

A Sleepy Hollow-een

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular
When is it ever cool to “boo” the orchestra? On Halloween, of course! But watch out, because at this frightfully fun concert, ghoulishly attired musicians might “BOO” you from behind their instruments in return.
Music, Musical Instruments

To Sail Around The Sun

Cuesheet: To Sail Around The Sun
Picture the four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Next, add live music and dance. Now get ready for an incredible journey through the year as the Earth sails around the sun.
Theater, Composers, Music, Nature, Plants, Science

Joshua Bell in The Man with the Violin

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Joshua Bell in The Man with the Violin
Imagine a subway station. A man in plain clothes takes out his violin and begins to play beautiful music. Hundreds of people rush by in a hurry to get to school or work. Do you think anyone stops to listen?
Music, Musical Instruments, Music Legends

Follow That Fiddle

Cuesheet: NSO Music For Young Audiences: Follow That Fiddle
Get ready for an amazing journey through history and around the world as we follow the fiddle’s musical trail. Musician Glenn Donnellan, who plays the violin (er, fiddle) with the National Symphony Orchestra, will guide you and explain how the fiddle makes its sound.
Music, Musical Instruments

Catch The Vibe

Cuesheet: NSO Music For Young Audiences: Catch The Vibe
“Vibes” is short for vibrations, those little movements that make sound. Hear some big sounds with NSO musicians Stephen Dumaine and Eric Shin, who introduce the tuba and a bunch of percussion instruments.
Music, Musical Instruments

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Close Your Eyes… Now Open Your Ears!

Cuesheet: NSO Music For Young Audiences: Close Your Eyes… Now Open Your Ears!
Music can be lots of fun, especially when you really listen to it, like when you close your eyes and let your ears do the work. In this performance, you will learn how to open your ears to the wonders of music with the help of three musicians and music teacher Madam Mavis Pugh—and a very special song.
Music, Musical Instruments

Performance Guide: The String Queens
Praised for its “authentic, soulful, and orchestral sound,” The String Queens is a dynamic trio that creates stimulating musical experiences that inspire diverse audiences to love, hope, feel, and imagine. With an array of repertoire spanning from the Baroque era to the Jazz Age to today’s Billboard Hot 100 Chart, The String Queens perform versatile programs that transport audiences through time and a multitude of musical genres.
Music

Performance Guide: NSO Open Rehearsal
Peek behind the curtain and see what takes place as the NSO prepares for its concert performance
Backstage, Orchestra, Music

Performance Guide: Cantus
Meet Cantus—eight men who use their voices to make a big sound and an even bigger impact within the music community
Music

Performance Guide: Beauty and the Beat
See NSO principal second violinist Marissa Regni and NSO principal percussionist Eric Shin in an exciting new program exploring the magic created when the violin and percussion join forces. Eric may have a vast array of percussion instruments, but Marissa will show you how versatile the violin can be. This melodic and rhythmic ride for audiences proves that no matter how different the instruments are, they can come together to make some beautiful music.
Music, Musical Instruments

Performance Guide: Don Flemons: American Songster
Grammy® Award-winner Dom Flemons shares the music of the early American Songsters, conveying nearly a century of folklore and styles, including ragtime, blues, country western, bluegrass, and string band music. Flemons, founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and a renowned singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and music scholar, illuminates the history and influence of Black American musicians through spirited performances on banjo, fife, guitar, harmonica, quills, and rhythm bones.
Music

Performance Guide: Glimpse
What do colors sound like? Who can understand the moon? How do you sing a tree? This concert presented by Dutch music company Oorkaan transports young audiences to an enchanted world in which music, artists, images, and technology interact with one another. Jazzy melodies mix bright visuals, forming a captivating new way to relate to music and sounds.
Visual Arts, Music

Performance Guide: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!)
Whatever you do, don't let the Pigeon star in his own musical production! It's not easy being the Pigeon--you never get to do ANYTHING! But when the Bus Driver has a crisis that threatens to make her passengers (gasp!) late, maybe that wily bird CAN do something. Starring an innovative mix of actors, puppets, songs, and feathers, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!)" is sure to get everyone's wings flapping.
Musicals, Puppets

Performance Guide: Peter & Friends
Inspired by Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," this concert developed specifically for toddlers is sure to have audience members playing like ducks, catching a wicked wolf, and engaging with music all along the way! This wild adventure features actors, puppets, and a quintet of woodwind and brass musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, presented in collaboration with Atlanta Georgia's Teller Productions. A NSO Music for Young Audiences program.
Music, Animals, Folklore

Presto

Performance Guide: Presto!
Oh no, a musician’s viola has been stolen! Could the culprit be the magician next door? Join Presto!—a string trio—to follow the clues and crack the case. Along the way, discover the secrets of string instruments and the music they play.
Music, Musical Instruments

Halloween Spooktacular

Performance Guide: NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular
Enjoy spooky fun for the whole family at this annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when our ghoulishly attired musicians perform new and old classics to celebrate Halloween. Nicholas Hersh leads this exciting concert experience, which features music from Harry Potter and more.
Music, Musical Instruments

NSO YPC

Performance Guide: NSO Young People's Concert
Don’t miss a special showcase of female composers, conductors, and performers to mark 100 years since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.
Music, Musical Instruments

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

Cuesheet: The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963
Christopher Paul Curtis’ Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award–winning book comes to life in a staged concert reading. Told through Kenny’s ever-witty perspective, The Watsons Go to Birmingham captures hilarious family antics alongside poignant observations of Birmingham’s tragic church bombing. Experience the beloved story of a family’s bond and endurance amidst one of the darkest periods in America’s history.
The Human Journey, Family, America, Theater, Music, History

NSO YPC: Inside the Music

Cuesheet: NSO Young People's Concert: Orchestra Look-In: NSO! Inside the Music
The NSO continues in the spirit of a series of Young People’s Concerts made popular by Leonard Bernstein at Carnegie Hall. Michael Butterman conducts this delightful performance that explores all of the pieces that come together to create an orchestra, and demonstrates that it can be accessible to everyone. The concert includes well-known works by Brahms, Copland, and Tchaikovsky, and introduces students to Jessie Montgomery, a living composer keeping the orchestra music alive and vibrant. The NSO along with Conductor Michael Butterman and NSO Assistant Principal 2nd Violinist Marissa Regni are joined onstage by an unexpected guest who is just as ecstatic about the orchestra as they are.
Music, Musical Instruments

Banda Magda

Cuesheet: Banda Magda
This award-winning band combines South American rhythms with jazz improvisation, sung in six languages for a globetrotting adventure. Banda Magda returns with a lively performance showcasing its new album Tigre, featuring Uruguayan candombe to Greek folklore to Brazilian samba beats. With plenty of audience participation and irresistible rhythms led by accordionist and composer Magda Giannikou, Banda Magda will get everyone moving.
Latin America, Music, World Cultures

NSO: Let's Go To The Moon!

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Let's Go To The Moon!
As the 50th anniversary of the moon landing draws near, join the NSO for a fun-filled concert of interstellar proportions! Tap into your imagination and be transported from the Concert Hall to outer space with music from Star Trek and a new NSO Commission from Oscar®-winning composer Michael Giacchino (Star Trek trilogy, Star Wars: Rogue One, numerous Pixar films), Also sprach Zarathustra (the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey), and more.
Music, Musical Instruments, Space

Voyagers

Cuesheet: Voyagers: A Dance Among the Planets
A majestic ride awaits a young stargazer who is carried away by the magician Uranus. Join her and fellow voyagers in a journey through the solar system for the young and young at heart. The Kennedy Center and D.C. dance ensemble Company | E and composer Eric Shimelonis share an interplanetary display of modern movement set to Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Through a reimagining of Holst’s soaring suite, Company | E combines live music, dance, and a bit of Einstein to celebrate curiosity, compassion, and the natural world. Experience the distinct character of each planet, from the majestic and jolly Jupiter, to the angry and ominous Mars, to the lively and flighty Mercury.
Music, Space, Composers, Dance

NSO Family Concert: Symphonic Storytelling: The Travels of Babar

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Symphonic Storytelling: The Travels of Babar
Come children (and children at heart!) for a concert that mixes the magic of stories, images, and music, including Return to the Land of the Elephants by composer Raphael Mostel—the U.S. premiere of the orchestral version of one of his two multimedia musical voyages based on The Travels of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff.
Music, Musical Instruments, Animals

Break It Down!

Cuesheet: Break It Down!
Watch, listen, and lend a helping hand as the dynamic duo of Paul Fadoul on marimba and Zara Lawler on flute build music from the ground up. This energetic program delights in dissecting parts of music and musical instruments. Children will be amazed by the way instruments from the wind and percussion families—plus some interesting “outsiders”—are taken apart and put back together again.
Music, Musical Instruments

Halloween Spooktacular

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular
An annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when the NSO performs new and old classics to celebrate Halloween, which this year also marks the Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) with our ghoulishly attired musicians. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Age 5+
Music, Musical Instruments

Timbalooloo Live

Cuesheet: Timbalooloo Live
Explore the thrilling language of instruments! Grammy Award®–winning clarinetist and composer Oran Etkin and his band use games, stories, songs, and movement to teach children rich musical and cultural heritage. Instruments speak through music in this interactive, immersive concert for young audiences. Grammy Award®–winning clarinetist and composer Oran Etkin and his band use games, stories, songs, and movement to teach children rich musical and cultural heritage. Examining sounds from Mozart to Willie Nelson to Herbie Hancock, children will explore how music is as unique and magical as their own imagination.
Music, Musical Instruments

The Human Beatbox

Cuesheet: Christylez Bacon: The Human Beatbox
Christylez Bacon, Grammy-nominated Progressive Hip-Hop artist combines rhyming, storytelling, and interactive call and response choruses with diverse instrumentation to deliver a message of cultural acceptance & unification blending traditional elements of musical styles from jazz to hip-hop.
Music, Hip-Hop

Lewis Nash Quintet

Cuesheet: Lewis Nash Quintet: Fascinating Rhythm—Wonderful Sounds
Meet celebrated jazz drummer and bandleader Lewis Nash and explore the range of rhythms and instrumental sounds in jazz music.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments

NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf
“Boys like me are not afraid of wolves!” says Peter to his grandfather. But when one actually wanders out of the woods, what will Peter do to save his animal friends?
Animals, Folklore, Musical Instruments, Music, Composers, Orchestra

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