National Symphony’s Misguided Attempt to Get Hip

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Ben Folds (Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center)

DECLASSIFIED: In Motion

Ben Folds with the National Symphony Orchestra, Sarah Hicks (conductor), Kennedy Center Concert Hall, December 4, 2015

John Adams, The Chairman Dances

Paul Creston, Dance Overture for orchestra, Op. 62

Mason Bates, Mothership

Ben Folds, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2014)

WASHINGTON, D.C.–“Outreach” is one of the buzzwords of the contemporary American orchestra, as it attempts to attract new audiences in the face of declining attendance and an aging demographic. Intent upon seeking out the younger crowd, the National Symphony Orchestra inaugurated a new late-night Friday concert series on December 4 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. While well intentioned, it proved a profoundly misguided first installment, betraying an insecurity about the enduring value of classical music and a fundamental misunderstanding of the audience it was trying to reach.

Read the full review here (Musical America, paywalled)

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