Orch gets kicked out by US Govt shutdown

Orch gets kicked out by US Govt shutdown


norman lebrecht

October 10, 2013

The National Symphony Orchestra is being restricted in its use of the Kennedy Center during the absurd Government shutdown. So it’s heading down town and playing around Capitol Hill.

If it wasn’t for real, it would make a good farce. Read Anne Midgette here.

UPDATE: The NSO have asked us to clarify that the hours it uses the Center for rehearsal are unaffected by the shutdown. ‘However, members of the public who want to visit the memorial without seeing performances are certainly affected. The building does not open to the general public until an hour before the earliest scheduled performance.’

Press release: (WASHINGTON, D.C.): The National Symphony Orchestra will make Capitol Hill and H Street, NE, the focus of its free community engagement activities in January 2014. Between January 7 and 13, members of the NSO will break into small ensembles to perform chamber music and educational activities as requested by 20 community organizations. The events will include three orchestral concerts, one at Atlas Performing Arts Center and two at Union Station.




  • Anon says:

    The facts are a bit twisted here. All previously scheduled rehearsals and concerts are going on as planned at the Kennedy Center. And their Capitol Hill outreach isn’t scheduled until 2014.

  • Eric says:

    Well, kind of. Every year they pick a location (as part of their 50 states project, where they visit one state a year, onward to all 50), and it seems like they’ve picked the 51st region (the District of Columbia, which is not a state technically) as their location. Seems ironically timed that it’s at the time of the shutdown. So, its not as if they’re doing this BECAUSE of the shutdown, though part of it is as a result. I think the emphasis is slightly wrong in your reportage of this.

  • DrewX says:

    Norman, do you have a source for the notion that they are playing around town because of restricted hours at the Kennedy Center? The NSO has been doing a lot of “residencies” in different neighborhoods. Anne Midgette’s column refers to the shutdown only in jest. The work they are doing in the Capitol Hill neighborhood doesn’t even start until January. Did you just read the blog post too quickly and jump to the conclusion that this is related to the shutdown?

  • V.Lind says:

    I’m not entirely sure that is what this article is saying…these were pre-scheduled performances, not replacements of cancelled Ken Cen ones. The writer is merely remarking upon the symbolic point they make.

  • Eric says:

    Even given the update you provide, it seems like you’ve barely corrected the misinformation. These events seem to be independently planned, and have nothing to do with the shutdown; they are not a result of the shutdown, in other words.

  • Ed Alley says:

    Guess my good natured comment didn’t make it past your editor. I was only objecting to the headline, which–as others have pointed out–was not exactly true to facts.

    Trying again,

    Ed Alley

  • These sound like ‘First World Problems’ to me… and then you get ‘Third World Problems’. There’s no sarcasm or cynicism in what I’m saying: Here in South Africa, for example, the JPO (the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra – which for decades was our music flagship) shut down because of zero funding. Over the years many of the world’s greatest soloists performed with the JPO. Our state ballet company? No more! Of the three remaining symphony orchestras in South Africa, only one (the Durban Philharmonic) seems vaguely okay. The other two are teetering on the edge. This is a ‘Third World’ problem. Being an artist in Africa makes you strong!

  • To clarify, as the article said, the “NSO in your Neighborhood” program is now entering its third year of giving concerts in DC; this January residency was planned long before the shutdown, and is completely unrelated to it. And the shutdown has not affected the NSO’s use of the Kennedy Center – no concerts have been cancelled, though the building is not open to the public during the day and there are no tours. I was just trying to find an amusing opening for the story in the idea of the orchestra going to Congress since Congress won’t come to them.