2013-2014 Concerts

 

The 37th season of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society explores musical masterpieces from the late-16th to the mid-20th century, played on some of the world’s most highly prized musical instruments. Two series, featuring the SCMS’s acclaimed artists, offer musical feasts unobtainable anywhere but the Smithsonian. Concerts will be presented in three venues: the opulent Grand Salon  of the Renwick Gallery (which will close for major renovation at year’s end), the historic Commons in the Smithsonian Castle building, and the comfortable Warner Bros. Theater in the American History Museum. One hour prior to each program, Kenneth Slowik, SCMS artistic director and recipient of the 2011 Smithsonian Secretary’s Distinguished Research Lecture Award, continues his popular pre-concert lectures, shedding light on the glorious music and the life and times of the featured composers.

For tickets and subscription information, visit: ResidentAssociates.org/Chamber (no handling fee), or call 202-633-3030 ($3 nonrefundable handling fee per phone order)

The Axelrod Quartet Series

Axelrod Quartet Series

The Axelrod String Quartet
Marc Destrubé, violin
Marilyn McDonald, violin
James Dunham, viola
Kenneth Slowik, violoncello

SMITHSONIAN CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY audiences have the unparalleled opportunity
of being able to hear two magnificent quartets of instruments—one made by Antonio
Stradivari, the other by his teacher Nicoló Amati—in this popular three-concert series.
Over the course of the season, the Axelrod Quartet performs the last three Haydn quartets:
the two unsurpassed works of Op. 77, and the unfinished Op. 103. The November concert
recognizes the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten with the second of his
three quartets, written for the 250th anniversary of the death of Henry Purcell. The concert
also sees the return of the members of the Æolus Quartet, which has been chosen as this
season’s sole quartet in the Juilliard Quartet’s prestigious mentoring program. They will
join the Axelrod members for the second of Louis Spohr’s double quartets, uniting all
eight Stradivarius and Amati instruments for a memorable experience. The January program offers Antonín Dvorák’s F Major Quartet from 1893, written while the composer was vacationing in the Czech-populated farming community of Spillville, Iowa, along with Schubert’s hauntingly beautiful A Minor Quartet. The March program concludes the Haydn mini-cycle, and features two great
early-20th-century works by Bartók and Ravel. 

Sunday 3 November 2013 at 7:30 pm
Warner Bros. Theater, American History
Lecture one hour before the concert

Sunday 14 January 2014 at 7:30 pm
Warner Bros. Theater, American History
Lecture one hour before the concert

Sunday 23 March 2014 at 7:30 pm
Warner Bros. Theater, American History
Lecture one hour before the concert

See the individual listings in the Concert Schedule for complete program information for the Axelrod Quartet Series.

The Masterworks Series

Masterworks Series

The Smithsonian Chamber Players

Elisabeth Adkins, violin
Vera Beths, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Steven Dann, viola
Karen Dekker, violin
Mark Fewer, violin
Colin Jacobson, violin
Max Mandel, viola
Marilyn McDonald, violin
Rory McLeod, viola
Robert Mealy, violin
Catharina Meints, viol
Lambert Orkis, fortepiano
Elisabeth Reed, violoncello
Kenneth Slowik, violoncello, viol, harpsichord
Ian Swensen, violin
Craig Trompeter, viol
Brent Wissick, viol

The Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra

The Masterworks Series opens with the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra presenting two works for winds—Dvorák‘s Serenade, Op 44, and Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments (in the version the composer premiered in New York’s Town Hall in 1947)—plus Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony in a particularly intimate and immediate guise. The Dvorák “theme” is taken up again in November, when the composer’s American quintet, a pendant to his better-known quartet—to be heard during January’s Axelrod Quartet concert—will be performed, along with the great, but relatively little known, quintet of Bruckner. The ensemble includes SCMS regulars Mark Fewer and Steven Dann, plus talented newcomers Rory McLeod and Karen Dekker. In February, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra concertmaster and Juilliard Historical Performance graduate program director Robert Mealy joins SCMS artistic director Kenneth Slowik for a program of Bach sonatas. In March, Archibudelli’s Vera Beths returns with three of the members of The  Knights—the innovative Brooklyn-based orchestral collective including violists Nicholas Cords and Max Mandel and violinist and artistic director Colin Jacobsen—for an evening of  Mozart quintets. The Castle Trio, anchored by fortepianist Lambert Orkis, brings its passion for Beethoven to three heroic masterworks in April. The final concert in May presents the season’s earliest works, with a rare opportunity to hear a consort comprising  four of America’s leading gambists play on a group of antique instruments from the remarkable Caldwell Collection of Viols.

 

Sunday 20 October 2013 at 7:30 pm

The Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra
Grand Salon, Renwick Gallery

This concert has unfortunately been postponed due to the government shutdown's interference with rehearsal time.

 

Sunday 24 November 2013 at 7:30 pm
The Smithsonian Chamber Players
Warner Bros. Theater, American History
Lecture one hour before the concert

Sunday 16 February 2014 at 7:30 pm
The Smithsonian Chamber Players
Smithsonian Castle Commons
Lecture one hour before the concert

Sunday 9 March 2014 at 7:30 pm
The Smithsonian Chamber Players
Warner Bros. Theater, American History
Lecture one hour before the concert

Sunday 6 April 2014 at 7:30 pm
The Castle Trio
Warner Bros. Theater, American History
Lecture one hour before the concert

Sunday 11 May 2014 at 7:30 pm
The Smithsonian Consort of Viols
Smithsonian Castle Commons
Lecture one hour before the concert

See the individual listings in the Concert Schedule for complete program information for the Masterworks Series. Some of these concerts may also be heard in Washington, Virginia, at The Theatre at Little Washington. To check the schedule, visit www.theatre-washington-va.com

Seminar: The Keyboard Sonatas and Trios of Joseph Haydn

 

Saturday 26 April 2014, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Warner Bros. Theater, American History Museum

Joseph Haydn, discussing his long isolation at the court of Hungarian Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, said: “I could make experiments and observe effects, and was thus in a position to improve, alter, add, or omit as I pleased. It is true that I was cut off from the world, but I was safe from intrusion, and thus was I forced to become original.” The originality of his string quartets and orchestral music is well known, but Haydn’s keyboard works also illustrate how he was able to infuse sonata form with novel and penetrating ideas.  In this seminar, scholar and performer Kenneth Slowik takes a close look at a number of the sonatas and trios and the instruments for which they were written, assisted by violinist Ian Swensen and cellist Elisabeth Reed, with performances throughout the day on the clavichord, harpsichord, and fortepiano.

Back to top