The Kennedy Center

Edward Gardner

National Symphony Orchestra: Shakespeare at the Symphony: From Tchaikovsky to Elgar

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - Saturday, October 1, 2016

Select dates for the concerts below feature ForeWords and/or AfterWords discussions! National Symphony Orchestra National Symphony Orchestra: Shakespeare at the Symphony

In his NSO debut, Edward Gardner conducts three works inspired by the literary legacy of Shakespeare: Elgar's Falstaff, Walton's Suite from Henry V, and Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet on a program that also includes two special theatrical surprises.

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William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet inspired legendary composer Tchaikovsky to spend a decade perfecting a symphonic work as passionate as the beloved story. In the season's inaugural Shakespeare at the Symphony program--one of three filled with music inspired by Shakespeare's words--Tchaikovsky's beloved masterpiece comes to the Concert Hall on a program that also features a special treat: a cast of actors (Matthew Rauch, William Vaughan, and Audrey Bertaux) performing two iconic excerpts from Henry V and Romeo and Juliet directed by Alan Paul, Associate Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company--and the current director of their own production of Romeo and Juliet!

Led by conductor Edward Gardner in his NSO debut, the program begins with Edward Elgar's Falstaff, a symphonic poem evoking the many adventures of Prince Hal's cowardly yet captivating companion, followed by William Walton's Suite from Henry V, a dynamic yet delicate score originally composed for the 1944 film.

Performance Timing: Part One - 37 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 35 min.

Beginning at 6:45 p.m. before the following performances:
Friday, September 30
Saturday, October 1

Take a journey into the fascinating stories behind the music led by knowledgeable and engaging artists and scholars! Preceding the Friday and Saturday concerts, Alan Paul will discuss the connection between Shakespeare and music in broad terms and as it relates to this program. He will specifically examine the works referenced in these concerts, as well as how their composers related to or were inspired by Shakespeare's work. Additionally, Paul will explore what it means to adapt Shakespeare into the particular domain of orchestral music. Look for even more of these offerings throughout the season; each ForeWords begins at 6:45 p.m. (the Concert Hall doors open 15 minutes prior), lasts 30 minutes, and is free and open to the public.

Immediately following the Thursday, Sep. 29 performance

Stay after the performance for an insightful discussion with the some of the exciting guest artists and NSO musicians featured on the night's program, moderated by NSO Director of Artistic Planning Nigel Boon, You may even get an opportunity to ask a question! Look for even more of these offerings throughout the season; each AfterWords is free with your concert ticket.