The Kennedy Center

Sergey Khachatryan

National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven's Violin Concerto

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - Saturday, April 22, 2017

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

Cristian Macelaru conducts Beethoven's Violin Concerto featuring the return of Sergey Khachatryan. The program also includes works by Smetana and Sibelius, plus an electronica-influenced piece from Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates.

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Beethoven finished his Violin Concerto two days before it premiered, forcing its dedicatee, violinist Franz Clement, to play the notes with barely any preparation. Legend has it that in order to keep the audience enthralled, Clement improvised a unique cadenza—playing the violin upside down. Spur-of-the-moment theatrics aside, the violin’s written part was notoriously difficult, and many critics deemed the concerto unplayable. It remained in obscurity until after Beethoven’s death, when 12-year-old violin prodigy Joseph Joachim played the revised version in London and brought its brilliance back into the spotlight. Armenian violinist Sergey Khachatryan, “a powerful, appealing player who can produce a stunning effect” (The New York Times), returns to the National Symphony Orchestra to bring Beethoven’s once-underappreciated masterpiece to life.

Cristian Macelaru, who is “completely at the service of both the music and the players” (The San Diego Union Tribune), conducts this marvelous program that also includes three pieces inspired by water—Smetana’s Vltava, Sibelius’s The Oceanides, and the electronica-influenced Liquid Interface from Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates.

Performance Timing: Part One - 42 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 44 min.


Beginning at 6:45 p.m. before the following performance:
Saturday, April 22
Moderated by Classical WETA's Deborah Lamberton

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. 20 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.