2020 to 2021 National Symphony Orchestra Season

National Symphony Orchestra

2020-2021 National Symphony Orchestra Season

As the NSO celebrates 90 years, Music Director Gianandrea Noseda leads a season that includes world premieres, a two-week residency by Esa-Pekka Salonen, immortal masterworks and exciting new music, distinguished guest artists and conductors, the conclusion of Beethoven at 250, and more.

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Events Included in this Season

National Symphony Orchestra

Season Opening Gala Concert:
Gianandrea Noseda & Isabel Leonard

Sat. Sep. 26, 2020

Attend the most glamorous event of the season! Gianandrea Noseda begins his fourth season as NSO Music Director with an evening of Spanish flair featuring Ravel’s hypnotic Boléro and famous arias from Carmen, featuring Grammy Award®–winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard.

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Beethoven at 250: with Noseda & Ehnes

Oct. 1 - 3, 2020

Under the baton of maestro Noseda, two-time Grammy® winner James Ehnes returns for an astounding interpretation of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Then, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9—hear it as a sunlit summer day…or as a 20-something genius throwing down a challenge to Beethoven himself!

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National Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven at 250: Noseda conducts Missa Solemnis

Oct. 8 - 10, 2020

It’s not only one of the mightiest, most ambitious masses in existence—it’s the supreme spiritual vision of a genius and an intimate self-portrait of a human soul. With Noseda at the helm, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is sure to be the emotional summit of our Beethoven at 250 celebration.

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Paired to Perfection
Christina & Michelle Naughton play Poulenc

Oct. 15 - 17, 2020

Identical twin sisters and piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton make their anticipated NSO debuts in Poulenc’s delightfully witty Concerto. Maestro Yan Pascal Tortelier concludes the evening with Ravel’s decadent La valse.

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Lang Lang

Tue. Oct. 27, 2020

“The hottest artist on the classical music planet” (The New York Times) brings his dazzling piano talents to a performance of music by Qigang Chen, Grieg, and Tchaikovsky.

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Vinnitskaya plays Prokofiev

Nov. 5 - 7, 2020

Anna Vinnitskaya, “a true lioness at the keyboard” (Washington Post), takes on Prokofiev’s towering Piano Concerto No. 2 in performances led by Michael Sanderling, Principal Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic.

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Salonen conducts Karawane and Daphnis and Chloé

Nov. 12 - 14, 2020

Based on Hugo Ball’s Dada poem of the same name, Karawane is a vocal masterpiece Esa-Pekka Salonen calls “a circus lost in time and space.” The visionary maestro pairs his fabulously fun work with Ravel’s pastoral ballet Daphnis and Chloé. Part of Prism, the NSO’s new artist residency program.

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Salonen conducts Stravinsky’s Perséphone 
Directed by Peter Sellars

Nov. 20 - 21, 2020

“An always serious artist, Esa-Pekka Salonen has learned that there is no shame in entertaining an audience” (The New Yorker). And entertain us he will with Stravinsky’s Perséphone—fully cast and directed by the one and only Peter Sellars. Part of Prism, the NSO’s new artist residency program.

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Noseda & Trifonov return

Dec. 3 - 5, 2020

After last year’s sold-out performances, Grammy®–winning pianist Daniil Trifonov returns to once again dazzle audiences with Beethoven. The program—led by Noseda—also features the unforgettable music from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.

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Handel’s Messiah

Dec. 17 - 20, 2020

Everyone knows the Hallelujah chorus, but if that’s all you know, you’re in for a treat! Every note of Handel’s Messiah is just as inspired, and our holiday tradition never fails to bring Washingtonians of all beliefs together in joyful celebration.

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Mørk plays Elgar
Debussy’s Images

Jan. 14 - 16, 2021

Truls Mørk brings a unique poetry to a great British classic: Elgar’s haunting Cello Concerto. Charismatic young conductor Dalia Stasevska completes the program with Debussy’s colorful Images and a world premiere commissioned by Classical Movements’s Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program for the NSO.

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Hahn plays Prokofiev
Urbański conducts The Rite of Spring

Jan. 22 - 24, 2021

Prokofiev’s gorgeous First Violin Concerto sets a virtuoso loose in a fairy-tale dreamworld as three-time Grammy Award®–winning violinist Hilary Hahn takes the stage. Krzysztof Urbański pairs the work with another audience favorite: Stravinsky’s primal The Rite of Spring.

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Chamayou plays Saint-Saëns 
Stutzmann conducts Brahms

Jan. 28 - 30, 2021

Bertrand Chamayou makes his NSO debut performing Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a work for which he won the 2019 Gramophone Awards for Best Concerto and Recording of the Year. Then, Brahms’s idyllic Symphony No. 2 blossoms under the baton of renowned conductor Nathalie Stutzmann.

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Kavakos plays Shostakovich 
Noseda conducts Borodin

Feb. 11 - 14, 2021

Leonidas Kavakos unleashes the raw fury—and dark humor—of Shostakovich’s haunting First Violin Concerto. Don’t miss the Greek virtuoso’s anticipated return as Gianandrea Noseda conducts this towering work, along with music by Alexander Borodin.

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Noseda & Ax

Feb. 18 - 20, 2021

Grammy®-winning pianist Emanuel Ax unleashes “a spellbinding prism of possibilities” (The New York Times) with an early Mozart masterpiece. Then, Noseda leads the “Rhenish” Symphony, Schumann’s free-flowing, euphoric depiction of Germany’s mightiest river.

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Remarkable Women: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade

Mar. 4 - 6, 2021

Be transported to exotic Ancient Persia…where a clever young bride spins fantastic tales to survive 1001 nights with a murderous Sultan—to whom she’s betrothed!

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Music Under Tyranny:
with Noseda & Cho

Mar. 11 - 12, 2021

Gianandrea Noseda explores three great composers in pursuit of life, liberty, and unforgettable melodies: Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and the rarely-performed Alfredo Casella.

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Gaffigan conducts Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

Mar. 18 - 20, 2021

Relive the most iconic moments from West Side Story—from shouts of “Mambo!” to the heartbreaking final chords of “Somewhere.” Violin superstar Anne Akiko Meyers takes center stage in the world premiere of The Mystery of Flight.

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Josefowicz plays Ligeti 
Storgårds conducts Bartók

Apr. 8 - 10, 2021

Phenomenal violinist Leila Josefowicz has won the hearts of audiences around the world as a champion of contemporary music. Don’t miss your chance to see her magnetic personality in action performing the Ligeti’s Violin Concerto, a wild fusion of avant-garde exploration and traditional concerto form.

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Grosvenor plays Mozart
Elder conducts Elgar

Apr. 15 - 17, 2021

Benjamin Grosvenor makes like Amadeus himself, summoning all the stormy drama of Mozart’s famous piano concerto (heard too on the soundtrack to the film!). Sir Mark Elder completes the program with Elgar’s unabashedly emotional Symphony No. 2.

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Tjeknavorian plays Khachaturian 
Jurowski conducts Tchaikovsky

May 6 - 8, 2021

After his superb debut as an eleventh hour substitute last season, Emmanuel Tjeknavorian needs no introduction! Then, the “Pathétique” shows us a man on the edge as tensions erupt in Tchaikovsky’s glorious final symphony.

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Noseda conducts Rachmaninoff & Dvořák

May 20 - 22, 2021

Rachmaninoff’s rarely performed final symphony is full of surprises. Although composed in exile in the 1930s, the Third has all the trappings of the composer’s Russian style—from the melancholic opening to the angst-ridden, frenzied finale.

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Piano Passions
Noseda & Andsnes

Jun. 10 - 12, 2021

Noseda conducts five-time Gramophone Award winner and eleven-time Grammy® nominee Leif Ove Andsnes in Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1, inspired by the composer’s love for the wife of his mentor, Robert Schumann!

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NSO Season Annoucemnt

NSO Season Annoucemnt