Courtesy of National Symphony Orchestra via Facebook
Courtesy of National Symphony Orchestra via Facebook

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) stepped out of its usual station at the Kennedy Center to bring classical music into the streets of D.C. as part of “NSO in Your Neighborhood,” its nearly weeklong initiative.

From Jan. 3-8, NSO bought string quartets, chamber ensemble and other groups to more than two dozen audiences free of charge at churches, bars, museums and other venues. NSO in Your Neighborhood events included two orchestral concerts, eight school visits and workshops and 18 chamber ensemble appearances.

“The key program of the NSO’s community engagement efforts features the full orchestra and small ensembles in a concentrated week of free performances and educational activities,” the orchestra said of the initiative.

Launched in 2012 in Columbia Heights, this year’s NSO in Your Neighborhood took place in the Penn quarter and Brookland, but moves about different D.C. each year.

The orchestra said it partnered with more than 20 community partners and schools to “ensure the initiative provided the performances, educational experiences and community engagement most desired by the neighborhoods.”

“Founded in 1931, the orchestra has always been committed to artistic excellence and music education,” it said in a statement.

In 1986, NSO became an artistic affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, where it has performed a full season of subscription concerns since the center opened in 1971. The 96-member group also regularly participates in event of national importance including televised appearances for Capitol Concerts and local radio broadcasts.

“[The orchestra] has a distinguished history of touring and an extensive education program with range of offerings for families and children ages three and up,” said NSO representatives.

In addition to NSO in Your Neighborhood, the orchestra also offers career development opportunities for young musicians, including the NSO Youth Fellowship Program and its acclaimed Summer Music Institute.

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This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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