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The National Symphony Orchestra April and May Classical Programs

April 7, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - May 21, 2022 @ 11:00 pm UTC+0

The National Symphony Orchestra

Presents Three Classical Programs in April and May

Roderick Cox conducts Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sergei Prokofiev, and

Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with soloist Hélène Grimaud

April 7–9

Cristian Măcelaru leads an NSO co-commission by Mason Bates, plus a suite by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6

May 12–14

Louis Langrée conducts familiar works by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel,and a Joan Tower premiere with soloist Alisa Weilerstein

May 19–21

(WASHINGTON)—The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) continues its Classical series with three subscription concert programs this April and May, including the D.C. premieres of NSO co-commissioned works by Mason Bates and Joan Tower, and a return to The Anthem venue in the Southwest Waterfront. NSO subscriptions are available here or by calling (202) 416-8500. Individual tickets are also available for purchase on the Kennedy Center’s website.

On April 7 and 9, rising conductor Roderick Cox returns to the NSO to lead a program comprising Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Helix—a one-movement piece by the Finnish composer and conductor that simulates a nine-minute accelerando—and Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, which the Russian composer wrote during World War II as “a hymn to free and happy Man” (in his own words). Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major completes the concerts at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, showcasing the brilliance of French pianist Hélène Grimaud. Cox also leads the Salonen and Prokofiev works at The Anthem on April 8.

From May 12–14, Grammy® Award-winner Cristian Măcelaru conducts the D.C. premiere of former Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates’ Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra, a look inside the workings of the instruments of the orchestra through live music and animated film. The new work, which was co-commissioned by the NSO, is bookended by the suite from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan—a four-act opera based on a poem by Aleksandr Pushkin—and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6.

The following week, from May 19–21, Louis Langrée honors his homeland by leading a predominantly French program of well-known works including Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Maurice Ravel’s La valse and Boléro, his most famous composition. Award-winning cellist Alisa Weilerstein, a 2011 MacArthur fellow, joins the NSO as soloist in the premiere of another NSO co-commission: Joan Tower’s A New Day. Tower dedicated the piece to her partner of 48 years, reflecting on their precious time together.


Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 7 p.m.

Friday, April 8, 2022 at 8 p.m.  At The Anthem (does not include Ravel)

Saturday, April 9 2022 at 8 p.m.

National Symphony OrchestraRoderick Cox, conductor

Hélène Grimaud, piano

Esa-Pekka Salonen                Helix

Maurice Ravel                        Piano Concerto in G major

Sergei Prokofiev                    Symphony No. 5

Experience the “cracking vitality and wit” (The New York Times) of one of today’s most brilliant classical stars as French pianist Hélène Grimaud takes on French composer Maurice Ravel’s jazzy, jaunty Piano Concerto in G.

The program, led by “outstanding young conductor” (Los Angeles Times) Roderick Cox, also features Prokofiev’s emotion-spanning Fifth Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s exuberant Helix.

Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 7 p.m.

Friday, May 13, 2022 at 8 p.m.Saturday, May 14, 2022 at 8 p.m.National Symphony OrchestraCristian Măcelaru, conductor

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov     The Tale of Tsar Saltan SuiteMason Bates                           Philharmonia Fantastique (NSO Co-Commission)Antonín Dvořák                     Symphony No. 6

Experience the NSO premiere of Philharmonia Fantastique, a striking new vision from former Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates blending animation and orchestra. Grammy®–winner Cristian Măcelaru also conducts Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6, a masterwork bursting with fiery Bohemian spirit. Following its 1881 premiere, Dvořák’s Sixth secured the Czech composer international fame.

Credits for Philharmonia Fantastique:Music by Mason Bates

Directed by Gary Rydstrom

Written by Mason Bates & Gary Rydstrom

Animation direction by Jim Capobianco

Produced by Alex de Silva & Mason Bates

Executive producers Jody Allen, Rocky Collins, Ruth Johnston & Mary Pat Buerkle

Commissioned by Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, Sakana Foundation, John & Marcia Goldman Foundation and Paul Sekhri.

Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 7 p.m.

Friday, May 20, 2022 at 11:30 a.m. – Coffee ConcertSaturday, May 21, 2022 at 8 p.m.National Symphony OrchestraLouis Langrée, conductorAlisa Weilerstein, cello

Claude Debussy           Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun)

Joan Tower                   A New Day (NSO Co-Commission)Maurice Ravel              La valse

Maurice Ravel              Boléro

Few composers better demonstrate the rich texture of sound than French masters Debussy and Ravel. In this program, acclaimed conductor Louis Langrée pairs Ravel’s rapturous, ever-building Boléro with Debussy’s groundbreaking Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

The NSO also welcomes MacArthur Genius Grant winner Alisa Weilerstein for A New Day, a bold new commission for cello and orchestra by Joan Tower—one of the most significant American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Artists and performances are subject to change.


Tickets to concerts at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall ($15–$99) are available at the Kennedy Center Box Office, online at, and via phone through Instant Charge, (202) 467-4600; toll-free at (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquires, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.

Tickets to the concert at The Anthem ($15–$30) are available at The Anthem Box Office, online at, and via phone at 1 (877) 4FLY-TIX.

As the Kennedy Center moves towards a full re-opening, it continues to prioritize the health and safety of artists, staff, and patrons. Current protocols can be found here and will continue to be updated as they evolve.

For full program information regarding the NSO classical 2021–2022 season, please see the website here.

For more information about the NSO, visit

A full listing of our generous sponsors can be found online.


April 7, 2022 @ 5:00 pm UTC+0
May 21, 2022 @ 11:00 pm UTC+0
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