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National Symphony Orchestra: 2018-2019 Season

Preview 2018 - 2019 Season

NSO Pops: Get Out (film with live orchestra) (Pops Concert)

Thu., Sep 20 2018 8:00 PM

Watch the groundbreaking film in the Concert Hall with the score performed live by the NSO! In this speculative thriller/comedy that won the 2017 Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay, a young African American man visits his white girlfriend’s family estate—only to become ensnared in a more sinister reason for the invitation. 

National Symphony Orchestra: Season Opening Gala Concert (Classical Concert)

Sat., Sep 22 2018 7:00 PM

Gianandrea Noseda
Joshua Bell


The Washington Post calls internationally renowned Joshua Bell “one of the most imaginative, technically gifted, and altogether extraordinary violinists of our time.” This year, he joins Music Director Gianandrea Noseda to officially open the NSO’s new season with a night of space-themed salutes to NASA’s recent 60th Anniversary and upcoming 50th Anniversary of the moon landing.

The evening will include movements from Gustav Holst’s famed The Planets suite and Academy Award®-winning composer Michael Giacchino’s (Star Trek trilogy, Star Wars: Rogue One) soaring new work Voyage.

National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Pictures from an Exhibition (Classical Concert)

Thu., Sep 27 - Sat., Sep 29 2018

Gianandrea Noseda


NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda conducts a program of music inspired by the visual arts including Rachmaninoff’s The Isle of the Dead, Respighi’s Trittico botticelliano, and Musorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition.

The Kennedy Center Chamber Players: Works of Dvořák, R. Strauss & Brahms (Classical Concert)

Sun., Oct 14 2018 2:00 PM

In its vibrant first concert of the season, the ensemble of NSO musicians plays Dvořák’s Terzetto in C major, Strauss’s Metamorphosen, and Brahms’s String Quintet in F major.

NSO Pops: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (film with live orchestra) (Classical Concert)

Tue., Oct 23 - Thu., Oct 25 2018

Steven Reineke


The National Symphony Orchestra presents John Williams’s iconic Oscar®-nominated score from The Empire Strikes Back performed live along with the full feature film.

NSO Pops: Andrew Bird with Gabriel Kahane (Classical Concert)

Fri., Oct 26 - Sat., Oct 27 2018

Gabriel Kahane
Steven Reineke


Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads Andrew Bird and Gabriel Kahane with the National Symphony Orchestra performing the indie stars’ original compositions reimagined for an intimate orchestral experience.

NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular (Classical Concert)

Sun., Oct 28 2018

An annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when the NSO performs new and old classics to celebrate Halloween, which this year also marks the Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) with our ghoulishly attired musicians. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Age 5+

National Symphony Orchestra: Gaffigan conducts Russian Masterpieces (Classical Concert)

Thu., Nov 01 - Sat., Nov 03 2018

James Gaffigan
Simon Trpceski


Acclaimed American conductor James Gaffigan returns to lead a program of Russian masterworks including Prokofiev’s Third Symphony and Khachaturian’s Suite from Masquerade. Charismatic pianist Simon Trpceski will play Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a piece famously written for the composer’s son.

National Symphony Orchestra DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents Regina Spektor & Caleb Teicher (Classical Concert)

Fri., Nov 02 2018 9:00 PM

Ben Folds


NSO Artistic Advisor Ben Folds welcomes indie icon Regina Spektor and dynamic tap-dancer/choreographer Caleb Teicher for the next concert in his late-night DECLASSIFIED series! The evening, curated and hosted by Folds, will defy the traditional classical music presentation by offering great live music in a casual setting.

NSO Pops: Walt Disney Animation Studios: A Decade in Concert (Pops Concert)

Fri., Nov 23 - Sun., Nov 25 2018

Steven Reineke


Celebrating iconic musical moments from favorite films released over the last decade, this melodic journey explores Disney Animation’s latest stories through unforgettable film clips and scores performed live by the National Symphony Orchestra. 

National Symphony Orchestra: Britten's War Requiem (Classical Concert)

Thu., Nov 29 - Sat., Dec 01 2018

Gianandrea Noseda
Scott Tucker
Matthias Goerne


As November marks 100 years since the final armistice of World War I, the NSO will combine forces with some of today’s most gifted voices and choral groups for Britten’s epic War Requiem, conducted by NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda.

NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops! Under the Mistletoe with Ashley Brown (Pops Concert)

Fri., Dec 14 - Sat., Dec 15 2018

Steven Reineke
Ashley Brown


Warm your spirit with fresh takes on comforting classics in this singalong tradition with the NSO and The Washington Chorus, a perfect holiday treat for the entire family! Join us in the festively decorated Concert Hall for this year’s program that welcomes musical theater darling Ashley Brown—originator of the title role in Mary Poppins on Broadway—in her NSO debut.

National Symphony Orchestra: Handel's Messiah (Classical Concert)

Thu., Dec 20 - Sun., Dec 23 2018

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Timbalooloo Live (Family Concert)

Wed., Dec 26 - Mon., Dec 31 2018

Explore the thrilling language of instruments! Grammy Award®–winning clarinetist and composer Oran Etkin and his band use games, stories, songs, and movement to teach children rich musical and cultural heritage. Age 3+

National Symphony Orchestra: Renée Fleming sings Schubert (Classical Concert)

Fri., Jan 18 - Sun., Jan 20 2019

Internationally celebrated soprano Renée Fleming returns for an all-Schubert program, which includes music from Rosamunde, orchestrations of some of his greatest songs, and Berio's Rendering, based on Schubert's uncompleted 10th Symphony.

NSO Pops: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (film with live orchestra) (Classical Concert)

Tue., Jan 22 - Thu., Jan 24 2019

The National Symphony Orchestra presents John Williams’s iconic Oscar®-nominated score from Return of the Jedi performed live along with the full feature film.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Banda Magda (Family Concert)

Sat., Jan 26 - Sun., Jan 27 2019

This award-winning band combines South American rhythms with jazz improvisation, sung in six languages for a globetrotting adventure. Age 7+

NSO Pops: An Evening with Brandy (Pops Concert)

Fri., Jan 25 - Sat., Jan 26 2019

Following her acclaimed Broadway debut and Kennedy Center engagement as Roxie Hart in the Tony®-winning revival of Chicago, Brandy is the latest entertainer to join the NSO in exploring fascinating connections between R&B and symphony, following the likes of Ledisi, Boyz II Men, Fantasia, and many others. In her first collaboration with a live orchestra, the multi-platinum, Grammy®-winning singer/actress performs favorites from her iconic career.

National Symphony Orchestra: Trifonov plays Beethoven's "Emperor" (Classical Concert)

Thu., Jan 31 - Sat., Feb 02 2019

Gianandrea Noseda will be joined by sensational pianist Daniil Trifonov playing Beethoven’s most famous Piano Concerto—the triumphant Fifth. The program will conclude with Shostakovich’s bold Symphony No.6.

The Kennedy Center Chamber Players: Works of Hindemith, Respighi, Lutosławski & Schubert (Classical Concert)

Sun., Feb 03 2019 2:00 PM

The Kennedy Center Chamber Players return to play works by Respighi, Schubert, Lutoslawski, and Hindemith.

National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Berlioz's Romeo & Juliet (Classical Concert)

Thu., Feb 14 - Sat., Feb 16 2019

NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda leads a richly romantic program with a suite of orchestral music from Berlioz’s Suite from Romeo & Juliet, Wagner’s Prelude and "Liebestod” from Tristan und Isolde, and Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini.

NSO Pops: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (film with live orchestra) (Classical Concert)

Thu., Feb 21 - Sat., Feb 23 2019

The National Symphony Orchestra presents John Williams’s iconic Oscar®-nominated score from The Force Awakens performed live along with the full feature film.

NSO Family Concert: Let's Go to the Moon! (Classical Concert)

Sun., Feb 24 2019

As the 50th anniversary of the moon landing draws near, join the NSO for a fun-filled concert of interstellar proportions! 

National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach conducts Haydn & Bruckner (Classical Concert)

Thu., Mar 07 - Sat., Mar 09 2019

Christoph Eschenbach leads Bruckner’s powerful Symphony No. 2, a work not played by the NSO for over 25 years. The NSO Conductor Laureate pairs this work with one by Joseph Haydn, another master of vivid orchestral colors: his Cello Concerto in D, which will feature acclaimed cellist Kian Soltani in his NSO debut.

National Symphony Orchestra: Glass's Itaipu & Auerbach's ARCTICA (part of DIRECT CURRENT) (Classical Concert)

Thu., Mar 28 - Sat., Mar 30 2019

In his NSO debut, Teddy Abrams will lead two programs of pieces by Dvořák and Sibelius as well as a work by Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates. The Thursday concert will conclude with Philip Glass’s Itaipu. The Saturday concert will conclude with contemporary Russian-American composer and pianist Lera Auerbach in the world premiere of her piece ARCTICA.

NSO Family Concert: Symphonic Storytelling: TheTravels of Babar (Classical Concert)

Sun., Apr 07 2019

Come children (and children at heart!) for a concert that mixes the magic of stories, images, and music, including the U.S. premiere of Return to the Land of the Elephants by composer Raphael Mostel, based on The Travels of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff.

The Kennedy Center Chamber Players: Works of Loeffler, Shostakovich & Brahms (Classical Concert)

Sun., Apr 14 2019 2:00 PM

In their Spring concert, the ensemble of NSO musicians present a varied program of music by Loeffler, Shostakovich, and Brahms.

National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (Classical Concert)

Thu., Apr 18 - Sat., Apr 20 2019

The iconic opening motif of Beethoven’s Fifth has astounded audiences since its 1808 premiere, and conductor Gianandrea Noseda will bring fresh perspective to this revolutionary masterpiece with all of its original urgency and triumph intact in a program that includes Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 2 and Brahms’s Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Break it Down! (Family Concert)

Sat., Apr 27 - Sun., Apr 28 2019

This energetic program delights in dissecting parts of music and musical instruments. Children will be amazed by the way instruments from the wind and percussion families are taken apart and put back together again. Age 3+

NSO Pops: An Evening with Leslie Odom Jr. (Pops Concert)

Wed., May 01 - Fri., May 03 2019

Leslie Odom Jr.'s remarkable talents continue to inspire audiences across the globe, from his Tony®-winning role in Hamilton to singing “America the Beautiful” at the 2018 Super Bowl™. In his first collaboration with the NSO, he returns to the Kennedy Center with a sensational program combining Broadway and jazz classics, including songs from Rent, Spring Awakening, and a tribute to Nat King Cole.

National Symphony Orchestra: Unexpected Italy (I): Liszt & Rossini (Classical Concert)

Thu., May 16 - Fri., May 17 2019

NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda leads the NSO and outstanding singers in Rossini’s dramatic Stabat Mater in a remarkable program that also features Liszt's Dante Symphony.

The Kennedy Center Chamber Players: Works of Poulenc, Penderecki & Beethoven (Classical Concert)

Sun., Jun 02 2019 2:00 PM

In their last concert of the season, The Kennedy Center Chamber Players will play an eclectic program of Poulenc and Penderecki, concluding with Beethoven’s Serenade for Flute, Violin, and Viola in D major.

National Symphony Orchestra: Dvořák's "New World" Symphony (Classical Concert)

Thu., Jun 06 - Sun., Jun 09 2019

NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda presents a program of folk-inspired pieces with a musical language at once original and familiar including Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony: “From the New World,” Copland’s cowboy ballet Billy the Kid, and Berio’s Folk Songs, which features mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili.

National Symphony Orchestra: Mozart Forever II (Classical Concert)

Tue., Jun 18 - Wed., Jun 19 2019

Nathalie Stutzmann continues the NSO’s celebration of Mozart in a concert with opens with the dramatic Overture to Don Giovanni. The program will also contain Mozart’s Symphonies No. 25 and 40, as well as his Horn Concerto No. 4 featuring NSO Principal Horn Abel Pereira.

National Symphony Orchestra: Mozart Forever III (Classical Concert)

Fri., Jun 21 - Sat., Jun 22 2019

The NSO concludes its Mozart Forever series with a program led by Nathalie Stutzmann that includes the glorious “Jupiter” symphony and the famous Overture to The Magic Flute. The concert will also feature Principal Musicians Aaron Goldman and Adriana Horne in the Concerto for Flute and Harp.

NSO Pops: 50 Years Over the Rainbow: A Judy Garland Celebration (Pops Concert)

Fri., Jun 28 - Sat., Jun 29 2019

Marking half a century to the week since the entertainment world lost one of its greatest treasures, the NSO and a trio of exceptional singers remember the immortal music and extraordinary cultural impact of Judy Garland—star of The Wizard of Oz, Easter Parade, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Star Is Born, and countless more.