Many in official Washington are obsessing over the Midterm elections on November 8. But here at WETA Classical, we offer a welcome and harmonious respite from all of that electioneering: the start of our 2022-23 NSO Showcase season. It begins on Wednesday, November 2nd with, appropriately enough, an American-themed program. We’ll hear Samuel Barber’s First Essay for Orchestra and Leonard Bernstein’s Divertimento, plus George Gershwin’s tour-de-force, An American in Paris. Also included will be music by two foreign composers with ties to DC and New York: Dvorak’s 9th Symphony, From the New World and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's elegant Four Noveletten.
Did you know that Coleridge-Taylor, who was Anglo-African, came to DC three times, invited by an-all Black choral group named in his honor? He also directed the Marine Band and was invited to the White House by Teddy Roosevelt. His daughter Avril was a noted female conductor way before the movie Tár was produced.
Each piece of music in this program has a rich history. For example, George Gershwin famously incorporated real Parisian taxi claxons in his American in Paris; and Leonard Bernstein’s Divertimento celebrates the centennial of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice that its 8 movements are based on the musical figure of 2 notes, “B” for Boston and “C” for centennial. Clever.
Looking ahead to the rest of the 2022-23 NSO Showcase season, here are a couple that stand out to me. Our annual Messiah concert in December features Jeannette Sorrell and her dynamic early music group, Apollo’s Fire.
Another highlight is the January program. It’s something of a memorial to the vastly talented American pianist Nicholas Angelich, who passed away this spring. We’ll hear his exquisite performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto.
Rachmaninoff was born on April 1, 1873, and our April NSO Showcase will celebrate his 150th birthday with a fabulous performance of the Piano Concerto No.3 with soloist Denis Kozhukhin.
As Gary Ginstling, departing Executive Director of the National Symphony Orchestra remarked during this year’s NSO Season Opening Gala,
“I believe strongly that the NSO’s role in our community is more important than ever. Gathering live together in a spectacular space such as the Kennedy Center to hear a hundred talented musicians, many playing on instruments that were designed hundreds of years ago, is an opportunity for all of us to experience, if only for an hour or two, the best of humanity and our creative potential. I know that the NSO will continue to present dynamic performances and breathtaking artists.”
November is also the month of Thanksgiving, and we at WETA Classical are thankful to bring you the highlights of this musical bounty every month on NSO Showcase.
NSO Showcase airs the first Wednesday of every month at 9 p.m. and streams all month long on WETAClassical.org.
Enjoy November's program on-demand here!
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