“This week marks the National Symphony Orchestra’s fourth installment of the initiative ‘NSO in Your Neighborhood,’ which sends the orchestra’s players, singly and jointly and sometimes all together, out into the cafes and schools and shelters and bars and hospitals of some part of Washington that is not the Kennedy Center,” writes Anne Midgette in Monday’s (1/12) Washington Post. On Friday at Echostage, “a big warehouse-like club space that holds 3,000 people … fingers of blue-tinged black light strobed out across a dance floor filled to near capacity. Video projections pulsed up and down the back walls. And Steven Reineke, the orchestra’s pops conductor, led the forces in a program that included Bernstein and Shostakovich and Prokofiev…. It felt like an event. It was exciting. People left happy…. It was savvy of the orchestra’s artistic administrator, Justin Ellis, to recruit the beatboxer and rapper Christylez Bacon, the electric cellist Wytold Lebing, and the DJ: incorporating some other virtuosic local talent with genuine connections to classical music to create a dialogue that made more sense, in this space, than a straight-ahead classical program…. It shows a direction the NSO—‘in your neighborhood,’ or all year round—should continue to explore.”

Posted January 12, 2015