September 14, 2017 at 1:24 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
FALL ARTS PREVIEW 2017: Bernstein centennial, WNO’s ‘Aida’ among classical standouts
Classical Music Events, Cameron Carpenter, gay news, washington blade

Organ virtuoso Cameron Carpenter returns to the Kennedy Center Sept. 28 and 30 for performances with the National Symphony Orchestra. (Photo courtesy Bucklesweet Media)

Washington National Opera has launched its season with Verdi’s “Aida,” the first time it’s been in the Kennedy Center Opera House in 25 years. It continues through Sept. 23. Details at “Aida” will be live simulcast at Nationals Park on Saturday, Sept. 23 for “Opera in the Outfield.”

Queer organist Cameron NatioCarpenter returns to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall where he’s performed several times Sept. 28 and 30 for appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra  with performances of works by Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein and other American composers. Christian Macelaru conducts. It’s part of the Bernstein at 100 series. Tickets range from $15-89.

Other highlights in the Bernstein (gay though married to a woman) at 100 series include an exhibit in the Terrace Gallery that runs through Nov. 5, a Bernstein on Broadway performance on Friday, Sept. 22, the NSO season opening gala concert on Sunday, Sept. 24 and more. Details at

The NSO Pops presents “The Life Aquatic: a Tribute to David Bowie” on Friday, Sept. 29. Tickets are $25-89.

The gay-helmed Pink Martini performs with the NSO Pops and China Forbes on Saturday, Oct. 28 with a varied program. Tickets are $24-89.

Tickets for these and all Kennedy Center performances are online at

The Library of Congress is also getting in on the Bernstein centennial with an exhibit of items from its collection related to the late composer (who died in 1990). Its concert series/fall season kicks off with concerts by Ensemble Signal performing works by composer Steve Reich (Oct. 18) and fusion band La Santa Cecilia (Oct. 19). Details at

The Washington Bach Consort opens its 40th season with a program celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (which turned out to be a good thing for gays though it took centuries to come to fruition) on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. at National Presbyterian Church (4101 Nebraska Ave., N.W.). Tickets are $10-69.

Other Consort performances are a chamber concert in which the ensemble will perform works from its inaugural season on Friday, Oct. 20 at First Congregational UCC and Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” on Sunday, Dec. 9 at National Presbyterian. Details at

As usual, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra splits its time between Charm City and the Strathmore in Bethesda, Md. It’s doing “Tchaikovsky Thrill Ride” this weekend and “Poetic Fire: from Hamlet to Don Juan” Sept. 22-24. Esperanza Spalding performs with the orchestra as part of its BSO Pulse series on Thursday, Oct. 19. Several other performances are planned throughout fall. Details at

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra kicks off its season Sept. 23-24 with a program featuring Beethoven, Wagner and Strauss. Michael Rossi is guest conductor. Tickets range from $20-80. Details at

Urban Arias, a local, gay-helmed, contemporary opera outfit, brings the life of architect Frank Lloyd Wright to the stage in “Shining Brow” by Daron Aric Hagen (music) and Paul Muldoon (libretto) Oct. 14-21 at Atlas Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $42 ($39 for students and seniors). Details at

In the “sorta” classical vein, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington is recording a live album on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. at Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) that’s free and open to the public. The group is recording material it performed on its recent “Southern Equality Tour.” Its fall fundraiser “ropeburn” will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in Dupont Underground. Tickets are $75. “It Takes Two,” a duet show, is Saturday, Nov. 11 at Atlas (tickets are $39). Its annual holiday show is Dec. 9-17 at Lincoln Theatre. Full details at

D.C. Different Drummers performs “D.C. Swing! Gig” on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. at Mr. Henry’s (601 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E.). Its fall band concert is Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at Church of the Epiphany (1317 G St., N.W.). Details at

Washington Concert Opera performs “La Straniera” (Bellini) on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. at Lisner Auditorium (730 21st St., N.W.). Tickets are $40-110. Details at

The Strathmore’s fall offerings include the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra (Oct. 22), pianist Rachel Franklin (Oct. 26), Sol Gabetta performs Tchaikovsky with the BSO (Oct. 28), Pinchas Zukerman performs Bach with the BSO (Nov. 9), Black Violin on its “Classical Boom Tour” (Nov. 10), the National Philharmonic (Nov. 11), Renaissance chamber ensemble Sonnambula (Nov. 16), Andre Watts returns for “Rach 2” with the BSO (Nov. 18). Note some performances are at the Music Center at Strathmore; others are in the Mansion. Full details, times and prices at

Young Artists of America present “The Sound of Music” on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (8270 Alumni Dr., College Park, Md.). Young Artists presents symphonic productions featuring young artists from the D.C. area performing alongside professional mentors. Details at

Virginia Opera brings its “Samson and Delilah” (Saint-Saens) production to Fairfax Oct. 7-8 at George Mason. Tickets are $54-110. Its “Girl of the Golden West” (Puccini) will be in Fairfax Dec. 2-3. Details at

And, of course, as always Washington Performing Arts has a wide spate of fall performances including:

• Aaron Diehl and Murray Horwitz in “Conversations in Music I: Rhythm” on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at McEvoy Auditorium (Tickets are $25)

• Sphinx Virtuosi on Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (Tickets are $35)

• Orchestra Dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday, Oct. 25 ($45-115)

• Other highlights include A Far Cry/Luciana Souza (Nov. 4), Joshua Bell (Nov. 5), the Verona Quartet (Nov. 10), the Mariinsky Orchestra (Nov. 12), Nathan Lee (Dec. 2) and Denyce Graves (Dec. 4). Full details at

Every Friday at 12:15 organ recitals are held at National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle). The church has one of the finest organs in the city and often attracts world-class performers. Out minister of music Rev. Michael McMahon programs the series. The church also has monthly LGBT Bible studies and happy hours. Details at

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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