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Press Release  
Release Date: Monday, January 28, 2013 12:50 PM
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Media Contact:

Rachel Mann
Communications Specialist

Patricia O'Kelly
Managing Director of Media Relations
National Symphony Orchestra


The National Symphony Orchestra Announces A Salute to the Centenary of Howard University's Music Department


National Symphony Orchestra

WASHINGTON (December 17, 2012) With more than 40 different activities, the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) will make U Street, Howard University, Shaw, and Logan Circle its home between January 8 and January 14, 2013.  This area’s rich cultural history has inspired many of the planned events, and a few selected highlights follow, as well as a full listing of the activities.

The weeklong NSO in “Your Neighborhood Event” includes 10 performances in schools, eight master classes, joint appearances by NSO musicians with Batalá Washington and other legendary DC musicians,  the DC Jazz Jam at Dahlek Eritrea, a family concert with WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi, and much more. To reserve free tickets for selects events, visit

Visit here for the entire schedule of events.

The opening concert will take place at the restored Howard Theatre, the historic arts landmark that launched the careers of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye and The Supremes.  In celebration of that storied legacy, members of the NSO will perform jazz-influenced music of Claude Bolling and George Gershwin. After the event, join a few NSO musicians for Live @ Ben’s Next Door.

This season marks the Centenary of the Department of Music at Howard University, and the ten events taking place on campus include seven master classes, two chamber recitals, and a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra at Cramton Auditorium on January 14.  Music Director Christoph Eschenbach will conduct the Washington premiere of the Sinfonia No. 4 of George Walker, the D.C.-born Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who gave his first recital at the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel at Howard University.  Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke will also perform, conducting three orchestral works by Duke Ellington; New World a-Comin’ will feature Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor for Jazz Jason Moran.

Duke Ellington will also be the focus of an event at the African American Civil War Museum, just blocks from the jazz legend’s two homes.  A screening of the Hedrick Smith documentary begins the program on January 8, followed by a Q&A with members of D.C.’s jazz community, moderated by Kennedy Center Director of Jazz Programming Kevin Struthers.  The event is produced in cooperation with the Humanities Council of D.C.

WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi will lend a helping hand on January 12 at Lincoln Theatre, built in 1922 and the center of a cultural renaissance that pre-dated Harlem.  Nnamdi will narrate the beloved children’s classic Peter and the Wolf with members of the National Symphony Orchestra.  Also featured will be flutist Emma Resmini, the youngest student ever admitted to the NSO’s Youth Fellowship program.  This performance will be conducted by Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl.  The ever-popular “Instrument Petting Zoo,” a project of the Women’s Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra, will follow the concert.

Musical collaborations abound in the schedule.  One of the more unusual is the event with Batalá Washington, an all-female samba-reggae drum corps that plays rhythms typical of the northeastern region of Brazil.  The NSO’s Joe Connell and colleagues will join them, performing an adaptation of Steve Reich’s Clapping Music, and the audience is encouraged to bring their own drums and participate.  Additional collaborations include DC Legendary Musicians, and a DC Jazz Jam at Dahlek Eritrea, with NSO performers and the restaurant’s house band.

All performances are free, although some venues may require a cover charge. To register for free tickets, visit

David and Alice Rubenstein are the Presenting Underwriters of the NSO.

The National Symphony Orchestra’s Community Engagement Program is made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Irene Pollin.

Additional support is provided by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation,
Linda and Tobia Mercuro, and Tina and Albert Small, Jr.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Follow The NSO on Facebook at

Follow the Kennedy Center via Facebook and Twitter at and


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