See my preview of the 2011-2012 concert season at the Phillips Collection:
Phillips Collection Concert Series Preview (Washingtonian, July 20):
Some of the places where one can hear concerts in Washington were built for that purpose in private homes. Like the gorgeously appointed music room constructed by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss at Dumbarton Oaks, is the wood-paneled music room built by Duncan Phillips in his home on 21st Street, Northwest. It is now the location of a long-running series of concerts at the Phillips Collection, going strong since 1941 -- the longest uninterrupted concert series of its kind in the nation’s capital. From October to May, the museum hosts a concert on most Sundays, with some holiday weekends excluded, beginning at 4 PM. These concerts used to be free, but one still had to pay the price of admission to the museum to go. The system now in place, with a $20 ticket with entrance to the collection included, still makes these concerts an affordable option for Sunday afternoon listening, pleasantly combined with an early arrival to see some art. Because of the small size of the music room, listeners are advised to stake out a seat early.
The performances at the Phillips Collection have tended to vary widely, with some big-name musicians and with others unknown, both promising and not so much. In past seasons, there have been concerts I have decided to miss, others I would not have missed for any reason, and some very rewarding surprises. On the current season, in the category of not to be missed, mark your calendar for the season opener (October 2), when minimalist composer Philip Glass will give a piano recital followed by a dinner, with the proceeds going to support the Phillips concert series and FreshFarm Markets. Also top-notch are a recital by soprano Haeran Hong, who won the Queen Elisabeth Voice Competition this year (November 6); a recital by British countertenor Iestyn Davies (December 4); a recital by pianist Steven Osborne, who has produced some great recordings on the Hyperion label (March 11); and a concert by the Daedalus String Quartet (April 22). [Continue reading]