The Kennedy Center

Jaap van Zweden

National Symphony Orchestra: Brahms's Second Symphony / Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - Saturday, March 4, 2017

National Symphony Orchestra

Equipped with a "piercingly beautiful" tone (Chicago Tribune), violinist Simone Lamsma makes her NSO debut in Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto. Conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, the program also includes Brahms's Symphony No. 2.

Search for Current Events


Written in a hot summer's flourish, Brahms's Symphony No. 2 expertly paints the idyllic Austrian lakeside by which it was composed. The piece sketches in rich and gentle tones the mirror-like water and the stunning green trees the composer saw from the window in his room--humorously located in the housekeeper's quarters. The precise orchestration expresses Brahms's feelings of relief and excitement after he burst into the spotlight with his acclaimed first symphony. Conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, the National Symphony Orchestra offers audiences a musical glimpse of this happy, yet reflective time in Brahms's life. 

The program also includes the NSO debut of accomplished Dutch Violinist Simone Lamsma, who brings her "piercingly beautiful" tone (Chicago Tribune) to Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto. The fascinating reason the piece has two opus numbers--illustrating the gap between when it was completed and published--is only the beginning of its story. Secretly composed under Soviet oppression, the work was triumphantly revealed many years later to overwhelming acclaim, captivating audiences with its energy, power, and signature Shostakovich elements of daunting solos and unique symphonic structure.

Our wildly popular late-morning Coffee Concerts at 11:30 a.m. on select Fridays return for a second season! These concerts are perfectly timed so that you don't need to worry about rush hour traffic, both arriving and leaving.

Preceding each Coffee Concert, a la carte breakfast items will be available for purchase in the KC Café from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. The menu will consist of:
- Assorted muffins, scones, and croissants 
- Bagels, cream cheese, butter, and jam
- Freshly cut fruit
- Coffee, tea, and juice

Performance Timing: Part One - 36 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 39 min.

Organ Postlude:
Thu., Mar. 2 performance followed by a mini-recital on the Kennedy Center Concert Hall's Rubenstein Family Organ, free with purchase of concert ticket. Organist Julie Vidrick Evans offers selections by Cook, J.S. Bach, Thalben-Ball, Haan, and Langlais.  

Note: Simone Lamsma will sign CDs following the concerts on Friday morning, Mar. 3 and Saturday evening, Mar. 4, in the Grand Foyer outside of the Concert Hall.
Please note: Mark Wigglesworth replaces Jaap van Zweden, who has withdrawn from the event for family reasons.

Featured Artists