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Concert Hall

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Renovated in 1997, the Concert Hall is the largest performance space in the Kennedy Center, seating 2,465. This state-of-the-art facility, which originally opened in 1971, sets new standards for accessibility and sound with a high-tech acoustical canopy, accessible locations on every level, and new seating sections (onstage boxes, chorister seats, and parterre seats). The 7 famous Hadeland crystal chandeliers, a gift from Norway, are repositioned to clear the field of view from the Second tier center. Behind the stage you will note the organ, a generous gift by Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein, given on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy Center and the 80th anniversary of the NSO.

Now performing in the Concert Hall :

No image available for National Symphony Orchestra: Ludovic Morlot, conductor: Sharon Isbin, guitar, plays Rodrigo / Works by Berlioz, Ravel, & Dukas

National Symphony Orchestra: Ludovic Morlot, conductor: Sharon Isbin, guitar, plays Rodrigo / Works by Berlioz, Ravel, & Dukas


UPDATE (10/1/2015): Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin has replaced Miloš Karadaglic, who has had to withdraw due to a strained muscle in his right hand.

On a colorful program of music from Spain and France, guitarist Sharon Isbin--"the Monet of the classical guitar...a master colorist" (Atlanta Journal Constitution)--plays Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. Inspired by famous royal gardens just outside Madrid, the work is considered one of the pinnacles of Spanish music.
Ludovic Morlot, hailed for his "technical bravura with expressive bravado" (The Financial Times), also conducts Paul Dukas's L'apprenti sorcier ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice")--a dazzling orchestral imagining of the fantastical Goethe poem--along with Hector Berlioz's passionate and stormy Overture to his unfinished opera Les francs-juges, plus two classics by Maurice Ravel. 
Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte evokes an elegant processional dance that a young princess might have performed at the Spanish court, while Rapsodie espagnole reveals the influence of the composer's Basque ancestry, lavishly sweeping through a kaleidoscopic of Spanish scenes, from a swirling Malagueña and bewitching Habanera to a high-spirited holiday fiesta.

"I often mention Dukas's L'apprenti sorcier when people aren't sure which instrument I play. Anyone who has seen Mickey Mouse in Disney Fantasia with the dancing brooms is familiar with the tune, introduced by three bassoons. About halfway through the piece, where the broom terrifyingly multiplies, the contrabassoon gets featured as well."
--Sue Heineman, NSO principal bassoon

Beginning with the 2015-2016 season, the NSO is offering four of its standard classical Friday programs as "Coffee Concerts" that begin at 11:30 a.m. These concerts are perfectly timed so that you don't need to worry about rush hour traffic, both arriving and leaving. 

Preceding each Coffee Concert, a continental breakfast buffet  will be available for purchase in the KC Café from 10 to 11:15 a.m. The buffet menu will consist of:
- Assorted muffins, scones, and croissants 
- Bagels, cream cheese, butter, and jam
- Freshly cut fruit
- Freshly squeezed orange juice
- Coffee and tea

Performance Timing: Part One - 33 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 34 min.

Note: Sharon Isbin will sign CDs and other materials following all three of these NSO performances, in the Grand Foyer outside of the Concert Hall.