The National Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Gianandrea Noseda in performance on January 25 at the Kennedy Center. Photo by Scott Suchman.

In Friday’s (1/26) Washington Post, Michael Andor Brodeur writes, “Thursday night at the Kennedy Center felt like a high point in the journey of the National Symphony Orchestra…. With maestro Gianandrea Noseda’s first European tour with the NSO just weeks away, the weekend’s program—which welcomes the orchestra’s future tourmate, pianist Seong-Jin Cho [in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4]—offered a chance to look and listen ahead…. [Noseda’s] opening remarks set the evening into the orchestra’s larger arc … From there, the evening’s attention turned entirely to the present and the strengths of the NSO. Key among these is its composer-in-residence, Carlos Simon, whose ‘Wake Up!’ opened the night (and will appear as a staple on the orchestra’s European programs). Nineteen of Simon’s works have been programmed by the NSO since his arrival in 2021 (including nine commissions), and the composer recently extended his contract with the orchestra through the 2026-2027 season…. Like many of Simon’s works, ‘Wake Up!’ is alive with kinetic, rhythmic energy…. ‘Wake Up!’ put his many sides into thrilling simultaneous motion.” The orchestra also performed Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5: “The textures of the strings were rich, warm, satisfying … The horns and brass, too, were in top form.”