Performing Arts: Bell of the Ball

by patrickmccoy

This month’s editor’s picks begins with violin virtuoso Joshua Bell at Strathmore.

Joshua Bell (Photo by Chris Lee)

Along with the cool, crisp weather, the busy D.C. arts community makes the nation’s capital a favorite fall destination for performers and concert-goers alike. International superstar violinist Joshua Bell is no exception. WL Performing Arts recently caught up with the virtuoso in advance of his Nov. 1 performance at Strathmore to talk about performing for Washington audiences. See the complete exclusive interview in the November 2012 issue of Washington Life Magazine. A list of other performing arts events follows below.

Washington Life: There seems to be a special love affair with you and concert audiences here in D.C. What makes the nation’s capital a special place for you to perform?

Joshua Bell: I have been playing here for so many years, from the very beginning of my career. As early as 16 or 17 years old, I began playing at The Kennedy Center, and I play so often for Washington Performing Arts Society. I just think that it is an amazing city. The commitment to the arts is just fantastic. I love the audiences. There’s always a buzz about concerts and the arts.

WL: What do you most enjoy about a solo violin concert with the piano, as opposed to appearing alone with a symphony orchestra?

JB: Well, of course I love coming as a soloist with an orchestra, like the National Symphony and playing a big concerto. There is something very electric and exciting. But for me, playing chamber music is where I get my greatest joy in making music. It is more intimate. Since it is just me and a pianist for the whole evening, we can take the audience sort of on a journey through lots of different repertoire and centuries of music. There is a different kind of rapport with the audience. That way, I can talk to them and play. So it is a little different than a guest appearance with an orchestra.

Joshua Bell with pianist Sam Haywood perform music by Schubert, Strauss and Prokofiev, Nov. 1, 2012, 8 p.m., at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852. For tickets and more information, click here or call 202-785-9727. Presented by Washington Performing Arts Society.


Tues., Oct. 16-Sun., Oct. 21, 2012
The Mariinsky Ballet’s ‘Cinderella’
The Kennedy Center
2700 F St. NW
202-467-4600, or here; $29-$150


The Mariinsky Ballet performs “Cinderella” in The Kennedy Center Opera House. (Photo by N. Razina)



The internationally acclaimed St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Ballet graces the stage of the Kennedy Opera House in Prokofiev’s ballet setting of an age-old tale, reimagined by Alexei Ratmansky. The company’s history spans more than 200 years.

Sun., Oct. 28, 2012, 4 p.m.
New Orchestra of Washington (NOW) with guest organ soloist J. Reilly Lewis

Westmoreland Congregational UCC
1 Westmoreland Circle
Bethesda, MD 20816
240-293-6931, or click here; $12.50-$40

J. Reilly Lewis performs with N.O.W. (Photo courtesy Washington Bach Consort)

Respected organist, conductor and Bach authority J. Reilly Lewis joins D.C.’s hottest new orchestra, N.O.W. (New Orchestra of Washington) for its second concert of the inaugural season. No stranger to the arts scene, Lewis is the founder of the Washington Bach Consort and conductor of the Cathedral Choral Society. “Psycophony” is a concert of thrilling masterpieces for the organ and instruments just in time to make the hair stand up on back of your head in the spirit of Halloween. Lewis plays Bach’s famous Toccata in D minor and joins N.O.W. for Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ and Orchestra. Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta rounds out the program.

Thurs., Nov. 1, 7 p.m. and Sat., Nov. 3, 2012, 8 p.m.
The National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis

Kennedy Center Concert Hall
2700 F St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20566
202-467-4600 or click here;

Conductor Christoph Eschenbach leads the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the National Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s monumental choral work. Guest soloist for the performance include soprano Anne Schwanewilms, mezzo-soprano Iris Vermillion, tenor Richard Croft and bass Kwangchul Youn. If you can’t wait until November to hear Choral Arts, join them in the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University on Sun., Oct. 21, 2012, 7 p.m. for their first concert of the season, “La Musica Latina,” conducted by Joseph Holt.

Sun., Nov. 4, 2012, 3 p.m.
The Hines-Lee Opera Ensemble presents ‘A Gala of Stars

Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church
15th and P Streets NW
202-903-7406 or 240-392-2583

The Washington-based opera ensemble presents a gala evening with guest artists soprano Millicent Scarlett, tenor Issachah Savage, mezzo-soprano Marquita Raley Cooper and bass-baritone Alvy Powell. Emerging artist, soprano Jasmine Thomas is also scheduled to perform. Edmond Charles and Everett P. Williams Jr. accompany on piano.

Thurs., Nov. 7, 2012, 6:30 p.m.
The Washington Chorus to honor Maestra Marin Alsop at the Embassy of Finland

Embassy of Finland
3301 Massachusetts Ave. NW
202-342-6221, for ticket information


Marin Alsop (Photo by Grant Leighton)

The Washington Chorus honors Maestra Marin Alsop with a gala reception at the Finnish Embassy. Alsop is the conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. The chorus most recently performed under Alsop’s baton and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Bernstein’s “Kaddish” Symphony. Her appointment in September 2007 as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra makes her the first woman to hold this position with a major American orchestra.

Sun., Nov. 11, 2012, 4 p.m.
Mickey Thomas Terry in Organ Recital

Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church
619 10th St. NW
202-347-2713; Free


Organist Mickey Thomas Terry (Photo courtesy of Dr. Terry)

The Ben Holt Memorial Branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians Inc. hosts acclaimed concert organist Dr. Mickey Thomas Terry in a full organ recital at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, featuring the music of Bach, Tournemire, Frescobaldi and others. Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Terry discussing his career and a recent performance at The Kennedy Center.

Petersburg, Va. native Patrick D. McCoy received a B.M. in vocal performance from Virginia State University and an M.M. in church music from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va. He has contributed arts and culture pieces to CBS Washington, The Afro-American Newspaper and the newly published book, “In Spite of the Drawbacks” (Association of Black Women Historians), which includes his chapter on legendary soprano Leontyne Price. McCoy has interviewed some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Denyce Graves, Norman Scribner, Julian Wachner, Christine Brewer and Lawrence Brownlee. Listen to these interviews and others at Blog Talk Radio. McCoy may be reached via email at and on Twitter @PatrickDMcCoy.

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