Thursday (5/23) on the site, Sriram Gopal writes, “No one can accuse the National Symphony Orchestra of not trying to mix things up and try new things. For each of the Kennedy Center’s international festivals, the Orchestra introduces classical audiences to new works by composers from all of the world. The NSO Pops, the branch devoted to less traditional music, is doing the same by inviting guest artists whose audience is far from the typical symphonic crowd. … Last night, Trey Anastasio played with the NSO Pops, performing classic Phish tracks as well as his own solo material. For concerts like this, the key to success lies in whether the orchestra and the featured performer can find some middle ground between their respective worlds. … Starting with the haunting, syncopated melody of the opening number, ‘First Tube’, it was clear that the team behind yesterday’s performance took great care to avoid … missteps. Much credit goes to arranger Don Hart, who chose to frame the songs in such a way that focused the attention on Anastasio, but elevated the orchestra to more than just background music. This was especially true of ‘Guyute,’ which began with a subdued, acoustic vibe and then grew to utilize the entire of palette of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion.”

Posted May 28, 2013