Summer Entertainment Guide 2011: Classical music
- Terrence Wilson performes Gershwin with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra July 28 and 29.
Classical musicians are some of the only grownups — aside from teachers, basketball and hockey players — who get to have summers off, or at least play outside a lot. And the warm months are a great time for people who don't usually darken concert halls to try out music that can seem daunting. Music simply sounds better with a cold beverage, a snack, and a view. Here's a sampling of the music to be made this summer in the D.C. area and in scenic locales nearby. And the best news is a lot of it's free.
Orchestras and Opera
In a free Kennedy Center concert, newly minted National Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Ball leads a flashy selection of excerpts from the ensemble's coming season (June 29). The NSO's Wolf Trap programs have something for everyone, from a concert of video game music (July 8) to an intriguingly wide-ranging Broadway night (July 9) to an all-Disney evening (Aug. 4). Turner Classic Movies sage Robert Osborne will be on hand for Casablanca with live music (July 30), and composer Tan Dun conducts music from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and other films (Aug. 5)
In the summer, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra adds Oregon Ridge Park to its roster of venues, which includes Strathmore Hall in Bethesda and its happy home, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore. They'll play an all-John Williams program in all three locations, meaning you can hear your favorite tunes from the Lucas/Spielberg jukebox indoors or out (July 21-23). Classical Mystery Tour (July 14-15) presents Beatles hits with the cellos and trumpets 99.9 percent of cover bands lack. And the highlight of the BSO's summer session actually includes "Summertime" — it's "A Gershwin Celebration," featuring excerpts from Porgy and Bess and the dramatic young pianist Terrence Wilson in Rhapsody in Blue (July 28-29).
Summer activities at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Center in College Park include the closing concert of the National Orchestral Institute, a performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (July 2). Anyone with a taste for loud, lusty Latin is invited to participate in a free, open rehearsal and reading of Orff's Carmina Burana (Aug. 7).
- The "President's Own" United States Marine Corps Band.
Summer is the perfect time to savor one of the Capital's most underrated resources — its bells. Soak in the free Saturday carillon recitals at the National Cathedral Bishop's Garden, or listen with a picnic to the Netherlands Carillon near the Marine Corps Memorial.
The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage series continues through the summer months, with free performances from all slices of the artistic spectrum every day at 6 p.m.
"The President's Own" United States Marine Band performs free concerts through the summer at venues including the West Terrace of the Capitol and the Sylvan Theater.
Artscape (July 15-17) in Baltimore — the country's largest free arts festival includes a free Baltimore Symphony program, organ recitals, chamber music, and even a choral concert in barbershop style.
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