After last month’s 9-city European jaunt, the NSO is engaging in another kind of tour: their annual NSO In your Neighborhood through Monday, March 25th. This year, they’re concentrating on DC’s Riverfront, specifically performing in locations on the river, in Wards 6 and 8. Since many of these events are scheduled in my Southwest Waterfront home, I was excited. The week kicked off on Monday morning with a concert at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church organized by Waterfront Village, a non-profit organization made up of community members, volunteers, and supporters that work together to help older adults in Southeast DC live independent lives. Violinist Heather LeDoux Green, violist Mahoko Eguchi and bassist Paul DeNola played a delightful program of their own arrangements of music by Beethoven, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Korngold, and others. Heather and Paul, billed by the NSO as “the daring double act of classical fun” have an upcoming kids’ program called “String Thing” April 6-7 at the Kennedy Center. You can see how delightful Heather is in this short, after the concert clip: 

Xavier Joseph, who is the NSO Manager of Community Engagement, has done a spectacular job of organizing a week’s worth of concerts in a huge variety of venues: I caught up with him too, after the opening concert. 

nso horn

Now for something completely different: On Monday evening, I walked over to the Pearl St. Warehouse at the Wharf for two NSO In Your Neighborhood concerts. The first attracted quite a crowd to see 3 horn players, James Nickel, Geoffrey Pilkington, and Robert Rearden, play music from Anton Reicha to jazz. For the later show, the atmosphere changed to an intimate jazz club as Cellist Mark Evans, clarinetist Paul Cigan and Bass Charlie Nilles played a Latin-inspired set with music by Piazzola, Tárrega, Benny Goodman and even Hindemith and Schnittke. I kept thinking, “the last time I saw you guys, it was at La Scala!” Expertly played jazz in an intimate club within walking distance for Free! It doesn’t get any better than that! 

The best part about these concerts to me is that we get to see and hear the musicians “up close and personal,” and to be impressed by their musicianship. When we see them onstage in the orchestra at the Kennedy Center, it’s hard to distinguish the individuals from the group.  

NSO In Your Neighborhood will play at Artechouse, the Southwest Library, the National Museum of the US Navy (in Navy Yard), the Rubell Museum (housed in Marvin Gaye’s old school building), and the full orchestra will play at The Anthem and Bald Eagle Recreation Center. And there's much, much more. For information and schedules, check out 

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