Spring Music Highlights

The Chieftains will be preforming the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall on March 16, 2012
The Chieftains will be preforming the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall on March 16, 2012

The Music of Budapest, Prague and Vienna Festival at the Kennedy Center

This umbrella festival is a little like taking a musical cruise on the Danube River, which runs through three of Europe’s major capitals of romantic and classical music. The Festival runs from February 25-March 29

First stop: Budapest, headquarters of the eastern part of the old Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian empire and the source of a host of musical creativity. The National Symphony Orchestra is slated to perform Bela Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances” and the one-act opera “Bluebeard’s Castle,” as well as music by Franz Liszt and Zoltan Kodaly and his lively waltzes. There is also a chamber performance by Budapest’s Takacs Quartet as well as a performance of “Gypsies,” a play with music from the Hungarian theatre company “Katona Jozsef Theatre.”

From Prague, we’ll get the NSO performing Antonin Dvorak’s cantata “Stabat Mater.” The Prague Philharmonica will be on hand to perform Leos Janacek’s Suite For String Orchestra. And the Eben Trio will perform chamber works by Peter Fiala, Bedfich Smetana and Dvorak.

From Vienna, there will be programs by the NSO, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, (by way of the Washington Performing Arts Society), the NSO’s Christoph Eschenbach on piano with violinist Dan Zhu, and Matthias Goerne singing Schubert’s “Winterreise.” The WNO”s performances of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” is also part of the festival.

For a complete breakdown of the festival and dates visit Kennedy-Center.org.


The Washington Performing Arts Society will present the Choral Arts Society and the National Symphony Orchestra performing Brahms’ “A German Requiem.” The piece is a personal favorite of Norman Scribner, the Choral Arts conductor, who will be conducting his final concert in a remarkable 47-year-career. April 22 at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall.

Looking much further ahead—but it’s worth doing so—is a performance by master violinist Itzhak Perlman with Rohan de Silva on Piano May 14, also at the Concert Hall.

And let’s not forget, March means St. Patrick’s Day, so we’ll be having a listen to the great, six-time Grammy award winning Chieftains, headed by founder Paddy Moloney, on a 50th Anniversary Tour also at the Concert Hall on March 16.

For more information visit WPAS.org.


At the Music Center at Strathmore, Max Raabe Und Das Palast Orchestra will present its own style of music from the Roaring 20s and 30s. As you might guess, Raabe and his ensemble and cohorts bring a dusky, European Berlin-ish flavor to the proceedings March 1.

Jazz and pop vocalists John Pizzarelli and Kurt Elling will pay tribute to Sinatra and Ellington with riffs on the great American Songbook May 10.

Joshua Bell and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields come to the Music Center April 13 in an already sold out program in an all-Beethoven Program April 13.

And its bluegrass and fiddle time April 17, with “The Music of Bill Monroe,” featuring Peter Rowan, Tony Rice and the Traveling McCourts.

And did you know Kevin Costner was in a band? Well, he is and its his own group called Modern West—and he’ll be at Strathmore April 5.

For more information visit Strathmore.org.

The Embassy Series

The Embassy Series, the most unique and original musical entity in the Washington area, continues another season offering top-notch classical and international music in the city’s embassies, ambassador’s residences and international cultural centers.

Coming up for founder Jerome Barry’s institution is a performance by violinist Bella Hristova, First Prize Winner in the 2008-2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, at the Embassy of Bulgaria March 23.

Next it’s the Mendelssohn Piano Trio at the Embassy of Austria, with Peter Sirotin on violin, Ya-Ting Chang on Piano and Fiona Thompson on cello with guest artists Michael Stepnia on viola playing a program of Austrian chamber music, including works by Haydn, Mahler and Schubert. (April 20)

April 27 brings pianist Paulius Andersson, the winner of the “Music Without Limits” competition in Lithuania playing works by Mozart, Liszt, Scarlatti, Beethoven and other at the Embassy of Lithuania.


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