A dynamic performance at Capital One Music Hall

Maestra Gemma New, who joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 2019, eloquently conducts Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 and the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Violin Concerto, written during and inspired by the pandemic. (Photo Scott MacConomy)

Alexandria, VA – In 1987, Congress declared March National Women’s History Month. I wonder if 35 years ago anyone could have foreseen a young, blond, ponytailed New Zealand-born woman named Gemma New conducting the National Symphony Orchestra in an early performance by superstar Jennifer Koh of a violin concerto on adaptation during a medieval pandemic (the plague) composed by Missy Mazzoli during COVID.

Capital One Music Hall’s state-of-the-art performance venue was inspired by the warm and intimate setting of Radio City Music Hall, but the space is large and quite contemporary. (Photo Kelly McConomy)

Last month, the National Symphony Orchestra returned to Tysons’ Capital One Music Hall after its first appearance on November 5. With elegance and skill, mighty conductor Gemma New delivered an emotional but decisive punch to Vaughan William’s Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis.

Violinist Jennifer Koh, exquisite in cobalt couture, brilliantly presented the premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Violin Concerto (co-commissioned by the ONS) with stunning liveliness and articulate expression. The program ended with Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major, Op 82, leaving the brass to shimmer and shine in the greatest symphonic ending of all time!

There is no doubt that in 1987, the renaming of Tysons Corner to “Just Tysons!” followed by the construction of a brand new Boro neighborhood and a state-of-the-art performance and event space that was not yet a pipe dream. The subway extension at Tysons has put all the pieces of the puzzle in place. After 20 years of planning, the ribbon for Capital One Music Hall was cut last fall. On October 1, 2021, operatic pop star Josh Grobin dazzled as he opened the crowded and breathtaking space modeled after New York’s iconic Radio City Music Hall.

By this date, Omicron hadn’t quite hit the big time. The seats were filled. The masks were more relaxed for the vaccinated. In February 2022, vaccination cards and photo IDs were required. The masks were monitored. Social distancing was inherent in the ticket office and self-enforced, with customers dividing into unoccupied seats.

The bassists of the National Symphony Orchestra welcome young musicians and fans after a rigorous and articulate interpretation of Sibelius, Brahms and the premiere of a new violin concerto by Missy Mazzoli. (Photo Scott MacConomy)

The memorable February 4 program had been presented the day before at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. This was the second of four NSO concert series to be held at Capital One Music Hall for the 2021-2022 season. The next two NSO collaborations will take place in June. On Friday, June 10, seven-time Grammy Award winner Emmanuel Ax will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 under the direction of Marek Janowski.

Brahms Tragic Overture and Serenade No. 2 in A Major, Op. 16 will complete the program. Brahms dedicated the Serenade to composer and pianist Clara Schumann, wife of Romantic-era composer Robert Schumann. Clara was a friend who greatly influenced the 19th century German composer. More female power!

The June 24 program has Steve Reineke directing NSO Pops: A Celebration of John Williams. It’s the composer/conductor’s 90th birthday. The NSO pulls out all the stops to present the body of the living legend of iconic symphonic and film literature. With 52 Oscar nominations, John Williams is the most Oscar nominated person after Walt Disney, who had 59.

Capital One Music Hall is unique in its partnership with Fairfax County, which allows use of the center by local nonprofit arts organizations through ArtsFairfax. Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith praised the alliance, saying, “We are honored to celebrate Capital One Hall’s inaugural season with the National Symphony Orchestra. This vibrant arts and entertainment destination received high praise from our community during inaugural performances. Its world-class acoustics will provide the perfect backdrop for the stature of ONS talent and beautiful music.

Wonder Women violinist Jennifer Koh, composer Missy Mazzoli and conductor Gemma New with the National Symphony Orchestra at Capital One Music Hall at Tysons. (Photo NSO)

Waitress has launched the first of many Broadway revival series scheduled for October. The 2016 Broadway hit, based on music and lyrics by Sarah Bareilles, the 2007 film by Adrienne Shelly and the book by Jessie Nelson earned four Tony nominations. Waitress might have won Best Musical if it hadn’t opened the same year as the story of a New Yorker named Alexander Hamilton. The plot revolves around the stories of three waitresses working in a restaurant. Waitress evocatively presents the plaintive and powerful performance that cuts through everyday life.

Up next at Capital One Hall is Fiddler on the Roof, which opens March 11 with five performances through March 13. Come to Capital One Music Hall. They’re not your parents’ Tysons anymore. The National Symphony Orchestra and Broadway in Z Hood… What a match!

Capital One Hall is located at 7750 Capital One Tower Road, Tysons, Virginia 22102. Get more information and tickets at www.capitalonehall.com

ICYMI: Alexandria Choral Society back for March 19 performance at George Washington Masonic National Memorial

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