As a radio announcer, I tend to dress quite casually. Each September, though, I look forward to the NSO’s Season Opening Gala Concert for a chance to dress up, and of course, to be part of the excitement surrounding the opening of another season of music at the Kennedy Center. It’s my Cinderella moment. But I’m not alone. Female orchestra members have also told me how happy they are to have a chance to wear bright festive colors for this occasion instead of the usual black! 

Nicole Lacroix and John Banther at 2021 Season Opening Gala Concert
Nicole Lacroix and John Banther at 2021 Season Opening Gala Concert

This will be the charismatic Gianandrea Noseda’s 6th year as NSO music director, and the guest soloist will be Grammy Award-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov playing Rachmaninoff’s devilishly difficult Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.  “Daniil is a miracle,” Maestro Noseda once said to me, so it will be a thrill to hear Trifonov perform.

The program is also a winner, opening with Smetana’s The Moldau, This Land by Kennedy Center Artist-in-Residence Carlos Simon and ending with Richard Strauss’ Suite from Der Rosenkavalier.

The concert is September 24 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, and WETA Classical will broadcast it as the kick-off to the new season of NSO Showcase concerts.  

Daniil Trifonov
“Daniil is a miracle.” Maestro Noseda

Listen to the NSO Season Opening Gala Concert on WETA Classical on Wednesday, September 28 at 11AM ET and streaming all month long on WETA  

Want a preview of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody? John Banther and Bill Bukowski take a deep dive into the background and structure of the piece on our podcast, WETA’s Classical Breakdown on WETA  

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