The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra



Biography

The year 1971 marked the long-awaited opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. On opening night, Leonard Bernstein's Mass made its world premiere in the Opera House. Among the musicians performing in the orchestra was a group of Washington, D.C. artists who would become the nucleus for the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.

In 1993, the world-renowned German opera conductor, Heinz Fricke, was appointed to the joint position of Music Director of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and the Washington National Opera. Thanks to his leadership and dedication, the Orchestra reached a new level of excellence, and consistently receives favorable notice from the press.   Maestro Fricke was named Music Director Emeritus upon his retirement in 2010.

The Orchestra’s current Music Director, Philippe Auguin, was appointed at the beginning of the 2010-11 season.  As one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation in both the operatic and symphonic fields, he regularly collaborates with leading opera houses and orchestras throughout the world.  The Orchestra continues its successes and artistic excellence under Maestro Auguin’s expert direction.

Today, the 62 musicians hail from South Korea, China, Spain, Russia, and all regions of North America. They are highly trained musicians who have attended the conservatories of Juilliard, the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin, the Curtis Institute, and others throughout the U.S. and Europe. Sixty-five percent of the members hold advanced degrees in their field. Positions are filled through a highly competitive process of national auditions, and winning such an audition is a signal event in any musician's musical career.

Upcoming Performances

Video 9/25/2017: Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra members Richard Chang (violin), Joel Ayau (piano), Michelle Kim (violin), Igor Zubkovsky (cello), and Grace Kim (piano) present an evening of performances, including Franck’s Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano and Debussy’s Piano Trio in G major.

Watch Past Performances

Video 1/19/2017: Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra present a concert of select classical works from Clarke and Schumann.

Video 1/17/2017: Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra present a concert of select classical works from Schumann.

Video 12/23/2016: Messiah Sing-Along

Guest conductor Nancia D'Alimonte leads the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, a 200- voice choir, professional soloists, and a very enthusiastic audience in Handel’s masterpiece.

Free, reserved seat tickets will be distributed beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Hall of Nations, up to two tickets per person.

Video 12/11/2016: Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra play selections from Debussy, William Alwyn, and Gareth Farr.

Video 10/17/2016: The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra perform Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio and selections from Bruch’s Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano.

Video 8/24/2016: 54th International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians Concert

The musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra perform together in honor of the 54th ICSOM conference. KCOHO member Michael Rossi and former NSO Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl will conduct.

Video 3/13/2016: Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Musicians of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra perform works by Villa-Lobos and Kuhlau, as well as Loeffler’s Two Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola, and Piano. The evening features flautist Adria Sternstein Foster, oboist Igor Leschishin, bassoonist Joseph Grimmer, violist Uri Wassertzug, and pianist Michael Baitzer. 

Video 3/12/2016: Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra present a varied repertoire including Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Rachmaninoff, traditional Azerbaijani folk music, and Brahms. The performance includes violinist Michelle Kim, tar player Maryam Dimparast Malone, cellist Igor Zubkovsky, clarinet player David Jones, and pianist Irina Koulikova.

Video 11/6/2015: Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Members of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra perform the Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor. 

The program features violinists Ko Sugiyama and Susan Midkiff; violist Philippe Chao; cellist Amy Baumgarten; and pianist Joel Ayau.

The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra