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What to Hear Next Season: National Gallery of Art

See my preview of the 2011-2012 season of free concerts at the National Gallery of Art:

Free Classical Music from the National Gallery of Art (Washingtonian, August 11):

Along with the Library of Congress, the other major series of free concerts in Washington is hosted by the National Gallery of Art. These concerts are free and require no reservation or ticket. All seats are first-come, first-served, so early arrival is recommended, since at some concerts many empty seats remain, while at others a line forms long in advance and overfill seating is packed or exceeded. Concerts are generally offered on Sunday evenings (beginning at 6:30 PM), or on Wednesdays at lunchtime (beginning at 12:10 PM).

The only drawback of the NGA series is its main venue, the pretty but acoustically challenged West Garden Court, where most Sunday concerts take place (one should enter through the doors at Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue, Northwest, which open at 6PM). It is a large stone-walled room with a particularly live, wet acoustic that does not flatter all types of performances. A central fountain and numerous trees and plants give a large portion of the seats unsatisfactory sight lines. Wednesday concerts are generally presented in the lecture hall on the ground floor of the West Building, and some performances do happen in other locations in either the East or West Building, so check the Web site carefully before you attend.

The performers featured on this series are a mixture of local ensembles, including several ensembles resident at the museum, and visiting musicians. They are generally very good performances, with interesting choices of music, and occasionally there are excellent concerts to be heard. Top picks on the 2011-12 season include the ongoing complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets, which begins with the NGA String Quartet (October 2) and continues with the Talich Quartet (November 6) and the Pacifica Quartet (December 4). Washington Performing Arts Society is co-hosting the broadcast of the entertaining radio show From the Top, with pianist Christopher O’Riley and some talented child and teen musicians (October 16). [Continue reading]
What Else to Hear Next Season
Washington Performing Arts Society | Opera | National Symphony Orchestra
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra | Vocal Music | Chamber Music | Early Music
Phillips Collection | Washington Ballet | Dance | Library of Congress

1 comment:

Julian Faigan said...

On Sunday afternoon, 29 May 1977, I chanced upon a concert at the NGA at which the first symphony of Ross Lee Finney was played - and I was very impressed. I eventually found an lp of this fine piece - but note sadly that no modern stereo recording yet exists. I have contacted several records companies - but Finney has no interest for them. Shame, it was a good symphony. Maybe his day will come!