The Kennedy Center
Desimont Alston

Desimont Alston
Second Violins

Philadelphia-born Desimont Alston began violin studies in the public school system at the age of eight.  His progress was so rapid that within a year he was enrolled in Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School for private study.  There he met Edgar Ortenberg, a former member of the famed Budapest String Quartet, who became his teacher, mentor, and friend for many years.  From the age of nine until graduation from college, he studied with Ortenberg, who was also head of the string department at Temple University. In the fall of 1974, after graduation from Temple, Mr. Alston joined the National Symphony Orchestra at the age of 21, and has remained with the Orchestra since that time. Over the years he has played a variety of roles in the musical life of Washington.  After a guest conducting engagement with the Mount Vernon Chamber Orchestra, he was asked to become the orchestra’s music director.  He held that position from 1976 until 1986.  Most recently, he has been a member of Howard University’s resident string quartet. In fall of 1996, he became music director of George Washington University Orchestra and has led many successful concerts over the last few years. A highlight was a theatrical production of L’histoire du Soldat by Igor Stravinsky. Beyond his musical interests, Mr. Alston is an avid athlete.  He attributes his initial interest in running to the need to survive an insidious neighborhood environment, and subsequently developed a love for the sport.  At last count he had run more than 50 marathons.  In addition to keeping up his daily running—even when on tour with the National Symphony Orchestra—he has also become a triathlete, competing in the famed Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship numerous times, as well as participating in triathlons in Japan, Canada, and New Zealand.

Contact Information

  • National Symphony Orchestra
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    2700 F Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20566
    Phone: 202-416-8100
    Fax: 202-416-8105

    Mailing Address:
    P.O. Box 101510
    Arlington, VA 22210