The Kennedy Center

Lisa de la Salle

National Symphony Orchestra: Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto / Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony - part of A Salute to Slava

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - Saturday, April 8, 2017

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

James Conlon conducts three cherished works by longtime colleagues and collaborators of late NSO Music Director Mstislav Rostropovich: Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto featuring the NSO debut of Lise de la Salle, Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, and selections from Britten's Peter Grimes.

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Sergei Prokofiev was a rebel. He openly challenged his teachers, kept statistics on his classmates’ mistakes, and played his First Piano Concerto at a competition where most students played Beethoven. The piece—just as revolutionary and fiery as his personality—established his prestige as one of the most talented Russian pianists of his generation. French pianist Lise de la Salle, “a musical thinker of impressive weight, with charm, imagination and a dazzling technique” (The Washington Post), makes her National Symphony Orchestra debut in Prokofiev’s first mature work.

Conducted by two-time Grammy Award winner James Conlon, this electric program also includes Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, another work of high-stakes art subtitled “A Soviet Artist’s Creative Reply to Just Criticism.” The piece was met with a 30-minute standing ovation at its premiere. Despite the fact that Shostakovich composed this work in three short months—fueled by a fear that his Fourth Symphony would anger Stalin—it became one of his most popular pieces and a staple of the symphonic repertory, even bringing the composer back into Stalin’s good graces with its simpler, clearer structure. A somber spoof on waltzes, the piece includes notes from a familiar Soviet folk song and concludes on a celebratory, yet hollow note.

Complete with selections from Britten’s Peter Grimes, this program unites cherished works by three longtime colleagues and collaborators of the late NSO Music Director Mstislav Rostropovich, providing a fitting conclusion to this season’s A Salute to Slava celebration.

Performance Timing: Part One - 32 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 46 min.


Beginning at 6:45 p.m. before the following performances:
Friday, April 7
Saturday, April 8
Moderated by Ted Libbey

Take a journey into the fascinating stories behind the music led by knowledgeable and engaging artists and scholars! 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, Apr. 6 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.

Note: Lise de la Salle will sign CDs following the concerts on Friday, Apr. 7 and Saturday, Apr. 8, in the Grand Foyer outside of the Concert Hall.

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Watch and Listen

A Salute to Slava: Jane Bowyer Stewart

A Salute to Slava: Glenn Garlick

A Salute to Slava: Gianandrea Noseda

A Salute to Slava: Trombonist Matt Guilford Plays and Shares Fond Memories

A Salute to Slava: Christoph Eschenbach

A Salute to Slava: Lambert Orkis