The Kennedy Center

Washington Renaissance Orchestra


The Washington Renaissance Orchestra (WRO) is established, to promote and coordinate Big Band Jazz performances in and around the DC Metropolitan (DMV) area, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Orchestra was formed as a vehicle to create performance opportunities for jazz musicians in a big band setting featuring jazz at its best, with world-renowned guest artists, to an audience of thousands each year. These musicians are highly regarded performers and educators across the country and around the globe, and are under the Artistic Leadership of drummer and composer Nasar Abadey. Abadey is also Professor of Jazz Percussion at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University; and Allyn Johnson, the Music Director, pianist, composer, arranger, is also a Professor of Jazz Studies and Director of Jazz Band at the University of the District of Columbia. The musical leadership of this organization incorporates contemporary arrangements into its repertoire, and commissions new arrangements and masterworks for the jazz orchestra.

A main goal of the WRO is to promote the development of new audiences, while sustaining those familiar with and having a passion for big band jazz music. WRO plans to cultivate a dynamic and adventurous spirit in the presentation, which keeps audiences coming back again and again. All the members of this orchestra are residents of the DMV area and many are members of the DC American Federation of Musicians.

The team consists of Nasar Abadey, Artistic Director  Allyn Johnson, Music Director; Baiyina Abadey, Principal ARTSdpc® and Bill Brower, Production Manager

Watch Past Performances

Video 4/16/2018: Washington Renaissance Orchestra Celebrates JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month)

In a special Jazz Appreciation Month event, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage presents The Washington Renaissance Orchestra (WRO), featuring special guest vocalist Christie Dashiell. This performance is a celebration of improvisation on an American art form and national treasure—jazz with the The Washington Renaissance Orchestra’s formidable 16-member ensemble, led by drummer Nasar Abadey and pianist Allyn Johnson, who are the Artistic and Music Directors respectively.

Presented in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts.

 Washington Renaissance Orchestra