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One of the seminal artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Paul Taylor has shaped an entire generation of dancers. His legacy continues triumphantly into the present with Paul Taylor Dance Company under the leadership of Michael Novak, a company member appointed to the role of Artistic Director by Taylor before his passing in 2018. These performances of the Paul Taylor Dance Company will feature two of Taylor’s masterworks. The beloved Company B, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is performed to songs by the Andrews Sisters. In a seminal piece of Americana, Taylor recalls the poignant dualities of the World War II era, from upbeat optimism to the sacrifices of war. The company will also present Esplanade, Taylor’s masterpiece composed entirely of pedestrian movement, inspired by the sight of a woman running to catch a bus. Set to J.S. Bach violin concertos, the masterpiece features a team of nine dancers brimming with Taylor’s signature youthful exuberance. Program: Company B and Esplanade
Grammy Award®-winning conductor Paavo Järvi leads Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, a triumphant portrayal of the composer’s struggle with Fate. Also on the program: world-renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet returns to the Concert Hall for an unforgettable performance of Mendelssohn’s glittering Piano Concerto No. 1. Program: Erkki-Sven Tüür: Aditus Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5
Welcome to Hadestown, where a song can change your fate. Winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards® including Best Musical and the 2020 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Theater Album, this acclaimed new show by celebrated singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and innovative director Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) is a love story for today...and always. Intertwining two mythic tales—that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone—Hadestown is a haunting and hopeful theatrical experience that grabs you and never lets go. Recommended for age 8 and up.
In 2018, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther quickly became a global sensation and cultural phenomenon, showing a new dimension of what superhero films could be. Rolling Stone raved, “The film lights up the screen with a full-throttle blast of action and fun. That’s to be expected. But what sneaks up and floors you is the film’s racial conscience and profound, astonishing beauty.” Now, you can relive the excitement of T’Challa becoming king and battling Killmonger as the NSO performs Ludwig Göransson’s Oscar®-winning score live to picture for the very first time.
Alan Cumming (Cabaret, The Good Wife) and Ari Shapiro (NPR’s All Things Considered, Pink Martini) both transport audiences to other worlds through their stories. Now, they’re joining forces in song! Witness the exclusive debut of their new evening of tunes and tall tales titled Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret, with musical direction by Henry Koperski. Renée Fleming on this performance: Riding the crest of successes in theater, film, television, journalism, and music, this unexpected pairing of performers has so much going for it, I can’t wait to see this show. Famous for his Broadway, film, and television career, Olivier and Tony Award-winner Alan Cumming is perhaps best known for his Emmy-nominated performance in The Good Wife; but he’s a successful author and a seasoned cabaret performer to boot. Ari Shapiro’s speaking voice is a household presence as a host of NPR’s All Things Considered, as well as a news correspondent whose reporting has earned the Edward R. Murrow award. On top of that, he sings, most frequently as a guest with the marvelous Pink Martini. Alan and Ari’s show title Och & Oy! hints at a cultural complexity that can only add to this novel partnership.
Since his sensational debut at the Met in 2006, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann has numbered among the world’s top operatic stars. Hailed as “the world’s greatest tenor” by The Telegraph, Jonas Kaufmann has performed over 70 roles in the world’s leading opera houses. The New York Times has described him as having “clarion top notes, the blend of virility and tenderness in his singing,” and praised his “refined musicianship.” Renée Fleming on this performance: “Jonas Kaufmann is one of the great tenors of this or any other era. I was actually onstage with him for his US debut, when he played Cassio and I was Desdemona, in Otello at Lyric Opera of Chicago. He is a singer of all the gifts, with a warm, effulgent, tenorial sound that is even throughout a vast range, extraordinary charisma, and movie star good looks. His artistry is peerless in repertoire that ranges from Wagner to the most intimate song, and his performances cause the kind of frenzy not seen since the heyday of the Three Tenors. This will be the hottest ticket of the fall. To hear his voice with piano, in the crystalline acoustic of the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, will be something to remember.”
Our quartet-in-residence the Dover Quartet joins forces with pianist Haochen Zhang to launch the 2021-2022 Fortas season. “The young American string quartet of the moment” (New Yorker), the Dover has made waves in the chamber music field and returns to show off their distinct style. Rising pianist Haochen Zhang, a gold medal winner at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009, is “a musician of extraordinary technical mastery and perception” (New York Arts). NOTE FROM ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JOSEPH KALICHSTEIN I was greatly impressed when I first heard, years ago, Haochen Zhang, when I was on the Cliburn Competition Jury that awarded him a Gold Medal. He has since proven the Jury right! He is joining our beloved Dovers in a newly created Piano Quintet by Marc Neikrug, a brilliant and creative composer. A Movement by Schubert and Mendelssohn’s D major Quartet constitute the rest of this inspired program. Program: FRANZ SCHUBERT Quartettsatz, Quartet Movement in C minor, D 703; MARC NEIKRUG (Commission for Piano Quintet Kennedy Center Commission - Music Accord); FELIX MENDELSSOHN Quartet in D major, Op. 44, No. 1
The entire Washington Ballet has missed YOU and we can’t wait to return to the stage for this special program! Our Opening Performance Celebration at The National Building Museum will feature an hour-long performance by the artists of The Washington Ballet in celebrated, classical roles and TWB exclusive works. A festive special event will follow the Thursday evening performance.
Hailed as a “modern dance savior” by the New York Times, Ronald K. Brown returns to fuse the form, rhythm, and history of African dance with contemporary and urban dance styles. In Mercy, a Kennedy Center co-commission (the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Carolina Performing Arts, UNC Chapel Hill, and The Joyce Theater’s Stephen and Cathy Weinroth Fund for New York), Brown finds an ideal collaborator in visionary vocalist, composer, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. In their first collaboration, Brown’s choreography fuses with Ndegeocello’s music to focus on compassion—which leads one to have mercy. As Ndegeocello performs live, dancers embark on a physical journey toward justice that resolves in joy and surrender. In the wildly popular Grace—originally choreographed in 1999 for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and now considered a masterpiece in the Ailey repertory—Brown sets his signature style to the music of Duke Ellington, Roy Davis Jr., Fela Kuti, Jimmy McPhail, and Jennifer Holliday. The Equality of Night and Day is a new work by Brown examining balance, equity, and fairness for young people, women, and people of color in a world of exploitation, gentrification, racism, and xenophobia. Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran offers an original score set to spoken word by educator and activist Angela Davis. Program: Mercy, Grace, and The Equality of Night and Day
Yan Pascal Tortelier conducts Ravel’s lush Daphnis et Chloé paired with excerpts from Bizet’s suites for orchestra—originally composed to accompany Alphonse Daudet’s play L’Arlésienne. The program also includes the premiere of an NSO co-commission by Angélica Negrón, a Puerto Rican composer with a “capacity to surprise” (The New York Times). Program: Georges Bizet: L’Arlésienne from Suites Nos. 1 & 2: “Pastorale;” “Menuet;” “Carillon;” “Menuet;” “Adagietto;” “Farandole” Angélica Negrón: En otra noche, en otro mundo (NSO CO-COMMISSION) Maurice Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé
Arturo O’Farrill—leader of the “first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz” (New York Times)—brings his three-time Grammy®-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra to the Kennedy Center for a groundbreaking collaboration with preeminent philosopher, scholar, and civil rights activist Dr. Cornel West. Dr. West often famously remarks, “I’m a Bluesman in the life of the mind, and a jazzman in the world of ideas.” That spirit that carries through in this sonic exploration of arts, politics, progress, and how uncertainty and improvisation often come hand-in-hand with hope.
Imagine spending your birthday at the museum! Adapted from the book by Karen Lefrak The Museum of Natural History is Mason’s favorite place to visit and he can’t wait to celebrate his birthday with a sleepover there, but first he has to scout for the best place to spend the night. Join Mason and his friends for a musical and scientific scavenger hunt through the many exhibits that make any museum special in this concert with music from and based on the book of the same name by KAREN LEFRAK! Most enjoyed by 5+ Sun., Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. is a sensory-friendly performance.