Gourmet Symphony, Taste Your Music D.C. (photo by Jati Lindsay)
Last night, we had the chance to experience an event hosted by Taste Your Music D.C., a program that connects musicians, chefs, and social service organizations. The evening featured the Gourmet Symphony, in collaboration with the Capitol City Symphony, in an attempt to bring different audiences to classical music by way of culinary temptations. In the performance/dinner venue The Hamilton Live in downtown Washington, guests and donors heard and ate a four-course meal, pairing selections of music with courses of delicious food, each accompanied by a specially chosen libation.
The work that the program does, raising money and hosting events in support of worthy organizations like So Others Might Eat, Bread for the City, and Miriam's Kitchen, is laudable. At the same time, this was also a fun way to spend an evening, enjoying the food prepared by Chefs Anthony Lombardo (of The Hamilton) and Andrew Markert (of Beuchert's Saloon). If you are looking for a way to introduce a friend to classical music, this is a low-key and enjoyable way to do so. We sat next to some trained musicians and some folks who were new to classical music, and everyone had a good time.
The musical menu, chosen by conductor John Devlin, began with the familiar -- the first (most famous) movements of Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Beethoven's fifth symphony -- but was not limited to chestnuts. Two movements from Mahler's fourth symphony were an especially ambitious choice for the main course, paired with herb roasted lamb over risotto and a light Austrian white and/or Washington Syrah. Soprano Mandy Brown did the honors on the delightful poem of the Mahler finale, describing the feast in a child's vision of heaven, complete with fish that swim up to be caught on fasting days. Her voice was particularly suited to the guilty dessert of Samuel Barber's ultra-nostalgic Knoxville: Summer of 1915, which went with knockout profiteroles of cream and strawberries, recalling the desert mentioned in the James Agee poem set by Barber.
No future events have been announced, but you can sign up with the group to receive them when they are.