The Kennedy Center

National Symphony Orchestra: 2017-2018 Season

Preview 2017 - 2018 Season

Selma: A Film and Live Music Event with the NSO and Jason Moran (Pops Concert)

Fri., Sep 22 2017 8:00 PM

Experience Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement to secure equal voting rights as chronicled by the Academy Award®–nominated film on a big screen with Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran’s acclaimed score performed live.

NSO Pops: Seu Jorge presents The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie (Pops Concert)

Fri., Sep 29 2017 8:00 PM

In a concert inspired by his role in Wes Anderson’s 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Brazilian actor/musician Seu Jorge celebrates Bowie’s legendary catalog, elevating his gorgeous acoustic interpretations with the evocative power of the NSO.

NSO Pops: Pink Martini with China Forbes (Pops Concert)

Thu., Oct 26 - Sat., Oct 28 2017

With an eclectic, whimsical charm and a repertoire spanning from jazz to classical to retro pop, the self-described “little orchestra” and singer China Forbes return to D.C. for a highly anticipated reunion with the NSO.

NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular (Family Concert)

Sun., Oct 29 2017

Creep into the Concert Hall for costumed classics at this frightfully fun concert featuring ghoulishly attired musicians. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Age 5+

DECLASSIFIED: Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring with the National Symphony Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin, conductor (Classical Concert)

Fri., Nov 03 2017 9:00 PM

Leonard Slatkin


Former NSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin conducts a DECLASSIFIED concert featuring Stravinsky's bold and famously controversial The Rite of Spring. The evening will also include pre- and post-concert activities.

NSO Pops: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert (Pops Concert)

Fri., Nov 24 - Sun., Nov 26 2017

Relive the magic of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in high definition on a giant screen while hearing the NSO perform John Williams’s unforgettable score live to picture. Age 5+

NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops! featuring Megan Hilty (Pops Concert)

Fri., Dec 08 - Sat., Dec 09 2017

Dash through the snow to our merrily adorned Concert Hall and warm your spirit with fresh takes on comforting classics and sing-along carols in this annual NSO tradition, joined this year by Tony®-nominated stage and screen star Megan Hilty.

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

Thu., Dec 14 - Sun., Dec 17 2017

Join the NSO, gifted singers, and a heavenly chorus for this holiday tradition! Experience all of the hope, redemption, and grace of Handel's cherished Messiah in the festively decorated Concert Hall.

NSO Pops: Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration (Pops Concert)

Wed., Dec 20 2017 8:00 PM

Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration is a 25th anniversary concert celebration of the acclaimed album that reinterpreted Handel’s oratorio Messiah

National Symphony Orchestra: Bernstein's "The Age of Anxiety" / Ravel's Bolero (Classical Concert)

Thu., Jan 11 - Sat., Jan 13 2018

Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Yutaka Sado


Yutaka Sado leads a tribute of works composed or conducted by Bernstein, with whom Sado studied conducting. The program includes Rossini's Overture to The Thieving Magpie, Bernstein's "The Age of Anxiety" featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini, and Ravel's Boléro.

BEN FOLDS PRESENTS. Part of the National Symphony Orchestra's DECLASSIFIED concert series. (Classical Concert)

Fri., Jan 12 2018 9:00 PM

Ben Folds presents another in his special series of unique live concert experiences, produced by Folds, that feature artists from multiple genres sharing the spotlight with the NSO to perform their hits, as well as new music. Featured artists will be announced at a later date.

NSO Pops: Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds (Pops Concert)

Fri., Jan 19 - Sat., Jan 20 2018

Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds
Tim Davies


11-time Grammy®-winning singer/songwriter/producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds joins the NSO in a world-premiere orchestral collaboration over two unforgettable evenings.

National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach conducts Schumann & Brahms / Josefowicz plays Knussen (Classical Concert)

Thu., Jan 25 - Sat., Jan 27 2018

Christoph Eschenbach
Leila Josefowicz


Christopher Eschenbach conducts Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Haydn and Schumann's "Rhenish" Symphony, both linked by religious themes. The program also features violinist Leila Josefowicz in Oliver Knussen's Violin Concerto as part of Josefowicz's Kennedy Center residency.

National Symphony Orchestra: Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto / Tchaikovsky's The Tempest (Classical Concert)

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

Hannu Lintu
Kirill Gerstein


Pianist Kirill Gerstein shines in Rachmaninoff's charged Piano Concerto No. 2 on an all-Russian program. Conductor Hannu Lintu also pays homage to Tchaikovsky through the composer's The Tempest and Stravinsky's The Fairy's Kiss, a work written in Tchaikovsky's memory.

National Symphony Orchestra: Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony / Gerhardt plays Bloch (Classical Concert)

Thu., Feb 08 - Sat., Feb 10 2018

Fabien Gabel
Alban Gerhardt


Fabien Gabel conducts a program inspired by nonmusical sources, from a heartbreaking love poem to World War II politics to the book of Ecclesiastes. He leads Dukas's Overture to Polyeucte, Bloch's Schelomo featuring cellist Alban Gerhardt, Rachmaninoff's The Rock, and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9.

NSO Pops: West Side Story in Concert (Pops Concert)

Wed., Feb 14 - Sat., Feb 17 2018

NSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads three concert performances of Bernstein's cherished musical take on Romeo & Juliet. Soloists will be announced in the coming months.

National Symphony Orchestra: Jankowski conducts Brahms's First Symphony / Jackiw plays Bruch (Classical Concert)

Thu., Feb 22 - Sat., Feb 24 2018

Marek Janowski
Stefan Jackiw


Known for his skill with the core classical repertoire, conductor Marek Janowski leads Bruch's electrifying First Violin Concerto featuring the NSO debut of Stefan Jackiw. The program also includes Brahms's Beethoven-influenced Symphony No. 1.

National Symphony Orchestra: Runnicles conducts Mahler's Tenth Symphony (Classical Concert)

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

Donald Runnicles


Donald Runnicles returns to lead Mahler's Symphony No. 10, a moving work sketched in the wake of his daughter's death and completed after his own. This posthumous entry continues the NSO's multi-season Mahler exploration.

National Symphony Orchestra: John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary (Classical Concert)

Thu., Mar 08 - Sat., Mar 10 2018

Gianandrea Noseda
Kelley O'Connor
University of Maryland Concert Choir


In celebration of John Adams's 70th birthday year, Gianandrea Noseda conducts The Gospel According to the Other Mary, Adams's expansive composition for chorus, soloists, and orchestra depicting Jesus's final weeks as told from the unique perspective of Mary Magdalene.

National Symphony Orchestra: Bronfman plays Brahms (Classical Concert)

Thu., Mar 15 - Sun., Mar 18 2018

Yefim Bronfman
Gianandrea Noseda


Gianandrea Noseda leads Yefim Bronfman in Brahms's monumental Piano Concerto No. 2 in this program that also explores the spirit of dance in Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic through dance music by Brahms, R. Strauss, Kodály and Dvorák.

National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Verdi's Requiem (Classical Concert)

Thu., Mar 22 - Sat., Mar 24 2018

Gianandrea Noseda
Leah Crocetto
Russell Thomas
Eric Owens
The Choral Arts Society of Washington
The Washington Chorus


Gianandrea Noseda conducts Verdi's Requiem, a spectacular masterpiece composed in memory of an Italian poet and novelist whom Verdi deeply admired. Pairing striking trumpet solos with sweeping symphonic and choral moments, Requiem is a legendary musical experience.

NSO Pops: Black Violin (Pops Concert)

Wed., Apr 04 2018 8:00 PM

Violinist Kevin Sylvester (“Kev Marcus”) and violist Wilner Baptiste (“Wil B”) join the NSO to showcase their dynamic music style bridging Hip Hop beats and lyrical melodies with classical instrumentation and searing technique. Age 5+

National Symphony Orchestra: A Portrait & a Frame: Works by Stravinsky, Mozart & W.F. Bach (Classical Concert)

Thu., Apr 19 - Sat., Apr 21 2018

Gianandrea Noseda
Leila Josefowicz


Gianandrea Noseda presents a portrait of Stravinsky's complex artistry through his Symphonies of Wind Instruments and his Violin Concerto featuring Leila Josefowicz. Mozart's Adagio and Fugue in F minor and Symphony No. 39 bookend the portrait with a classical frame.

National Symphony Orchestra: Elder conducts Strauss's Ein Heldenleben / Haydn's Symphony No. 80 (Classical Concert)

Thu., May 03 - Fri., May 04 2018

Mark Elder


Sir Mark Elder offers a musical biography of Richard Strauss, pairing his triumphant and famously autobiographical Ein Heldenleben with his earlier, more intimate Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments. The program also includes an interlude of Haydn's Symphony No. 80.

National Symphony Orchestra: Elder conducts Vaughan Williams's "Pastoral Symphony" / Ravel's Ma mère l'oye (Classical Concert)

Thu., May 10 - Sat., May 12 2018

Mark Elder


For his second week with the NSO, Sir Mark Elder unites the works of three First World War-era composers and contemporaries. The program includes Butterworth's A Shropshire Lad Rhapsody, Vaughan Williams's "A Pastoral Symphony," and Ravel's Mother Goose and Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2.

National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Brahms's Fourth Symphony (Classical Concert)

Thu., May 17 - Sat., May 19 2018

Gianandrea Noseda
James Ehnes


In his final concerts of the season, Gianandrea Noseda leads a program unified by J.S. Bach. The program includes Berio's take on Bach's unfinished Contrapunctus XIX, plus two more Bach-influenced works: Berg's Violin Concerto featuring James Ehnes and Brahms's Symphony No. 4.

DECLASSIFIED: Selections from Stravinsky & Mozart with the National Symphony Orchestra / Gianandrea Noseda, conductor (Classical Concert)

Fri., May 18 2018 9:00 PM

James Ehnes


Gianandrea Noseda, the NSO's new music director, leads an abbreviated DECLASSIFIED concert featuring selected Bach works with violinist James Ehnes. The evening will also include pre- and post-concert activities.

NSO Pops: Space, the Next Frontier  (Pops Concert)

Fri., Jun 01 - Sat., Jun 02 2018

Explore the sights and sounds of deep space and the music, art, and fiction that it has inspired as the NSO and NASA present a celebration of science fact and fiction in honor of NASA’s 60th anniversary.

National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach conducts Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony / Walton's Viola Concerto (Classical Concert)

Thu., Jun 07 - Sat., Jun 09 2018

Christoph Eschenbach
Daniel Foster


The first of Christoph Eschenbach's trio of programs concluding the NSO's classical season includes R. Strauss' Potpourri from The Silent Woman and Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony. The program also features NSO Principal Viola Daniel Foster in Walton's Viola Concerto.

National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach conducts Beethoven's Fourth Symphony / Mozart's Oboe Concerto (Classical Concert)

Tue., Jun 12 - Wed., Jun 13 2018

Christoph Eschenbach
Nicholas Stovall


Christoph Eschenbach's second program of his late-season trio includes Beethoven's splendid Symphony No. 4, Mozart's fascinating Oboe Concerto featuring NSO Principal Oboe Nick Stovall, and overtures to Rossini's William Tell and Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach conducts Haydn's "Oxford" Symphony / R. Strauss's First Horn Concerto (Classical Concert)

Fri., Jun 15 - Sat., Jun 16 2018

Christoph Eschenbach
Abel Pereira


Christoph Eschenbach concludes the NSO's classical season with a program of Haydn's exuberant "Oxford" Symphony, plus Mozart's A Little Night Music, Wagner's Prelude to The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, and R. Strauss' Horn Concerto No. 1 featuring NSO Principal Horn Abel Pereira.

NSO Pops: Audra McDonald (Pops Concert)

Tue., Jun 19 2018 8:00 PM

As beloved on Broadway and opera stages as she is in her roles in film and on television, iconic singer and actress Audra McDonald joins the NSO for an exquisite selection of her favorite music.

NSO Pops: Melissa Etheridge (Pops Concert)

Fri., Jun 22 - Sat., Jun 23 2018

Melissa Etheridge brings her raw, expressive voice and powerhouse guitar prowess to the Concert Hall for a sampling of heartfelt hits from her groundbreaking career.

NSO Pops: A Night of Jazz with Gregory Porter (Pops Concert)

Wed., Jun 27 2018 8:00 PM

An artist whose music is at once timeless yet utterly of its time, Gregory Porter returns for an exciting evening of jazz.

BEN FOLDS PRESENTS. Part of the National Symphony Orchestra's DECLASSIFIED concert series. (Classical Concert)

Fri., Jun 29 2018 9:00 PM

Ben Folds presents another in his special series of unique live concert experiences, produced by Folds, that feature artists from multiple genres sharing the spotlight with the NSO to perform their hits, as well as new music. Featured artists will be announced at a later date.