Classical Concerts to Fill Your Music Weekends This Fall in DC

For some people, the arrival of autumn is synonymous with cardigans and shawls. For others, it’s cider donuts and pumpkin spice.

But for us, it’s the return of classical music — and the more, the better. Fortunately for local music lovers, the orchestras and ensembles of our hometown are not left out. Here, find a selection of weekend concert season highlights to keep you up to date for October and November. (But I can’t fit that much: be sure to click on them and check out their full seasons!)

And for up to the full schedule — plus details on offerings from the Washington National Opera, National Symphony Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort and more — be sure to review our preview of the fall.

Live classical music picks up steam, with robust fall seasons

The relentlessly captivating chamber ensemble led by artistic directors Efi Hackmey and Carrie Bean Stute kicks off its fall season by hosting the Attacca Quartet for two nights. On October 1, they will perform Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet as well as string quartets by Edvard Grieg and Caroline Shaw; on October 2, it will be the Cello Quintet by Schubert and the string quartets by Maurice Ravel and Shaw. (Also note: Chiarina’s “Form, Shape, Groove” program on November 6, with music by Reinaldo Moya, Gabriela Ortiz, Jennifer Higdon, Kaija Saariaho and Astor Piazzolla.) October 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 301 A St. SE. $25; free for 18 and under.

Esteemed Musical Adventurers bring “Threnody,” a performance inspired by Armenian American artist Zarouhie Abdalian’s “Threnody for the Unwilling Martyrs” as well as the museum exhibit highlighting the works of 49 women and non-binary artists titled “Put It This Way: (Re)Visions from the Hirshhorn Collection. In addition to works by Tatev Amiryan, Susan Kander, Elena Ruehr, Stacy Garrop, Alexandra Gardner, Juri Seo and Tansy Davies, the Consort will perform “Lament for the City”, in memory of its composer and longtime associate, David Froom . October 1 at 5 p.m. Hirshhorn Museum, Ring Auditorium, Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Free; reservations recommended.

Virginia Opera continues its Slow Cooker Ring cycle with a production of Richard Wagner’s “Die Walküre,” in a compact adaptation by Jonathan Dove and Graham Vick. (The company will stage “Siegfried” in 2023 and “Götterdämmerung” in 2024.) Bass-baritone Kyle Albertson takes on the role of Wotan, and soprano Alexandra Loutsion sings Brünnhilde. Adam Turner directs and Joachim Schamberger directs. Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. at the George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4373 Mason Pond Dr., Fairfax; additional performances at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk (September 30, October 1 and 2) and the Dominion Energy Center in Richmond (October 14 and 16). $20 to $110.

Candlelight Concert Society

Entering its 50th season, the Candlelight Concert Society welcomes the Brentano String Quartet for an evening of Monteverdi, Mozart (his Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581, with clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein) and Dvorak (his Quartet in A flat major, opus 105). And while you’re at it, now might be a good time to buy tickets for the Society’s Oct. 29 rendezvous at the Linehan Concert Hall with pianist Marc-André Hamelin. Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. Horowitz Center Smith Theater, Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. $10 to $45; under 17 free with a paying adult.

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra welcomes virtuoso pianist and MacArthur companion Jeremy Denk for what is sure to be a thriller of a run through Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, paired with Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 39. Denk will give a pre-concert talk with FSO Music Director Christopher Zimmerman at 7 p.m. October 15 at 8 p.m. Capital One Hall, 7750 Capital One Tysons Rd., Tysons. $33 to $65.

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson joins the Apollo Musagète Quartet for the opening weekend of the Library of Congress’ fall concert series (a strong and busy season that deserves a closer look). As part of the library’s celebrations marking Schubert’s 225th birthday, the quartet will perform Schubert’s String Quartet in D major, D. 94, and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Third String Quartet (“Leaves from an Unwritten Diary ), with Ohlsson in Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57. (Also mark your diaries for the LOC’s parlor-style Founder’s Day concert on October 29, featuring bass-baritone Eric Owens, and a November 19 appearance by avant-garde and toy piano specialist Margaret Leng Tan, which will take on “Metamorphoses, Volume 2” by George Crumb.) October 15 at 8 p.m. Library of Congress, Coolidge Auditorium, 101 Independence Ave SE. Free; advance registration recommended.

The Thirteen Choir and Orchestra, led by director Matthew Robertson, opens its fall season with a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers from 1610, featuring the Washington Children’s Choir and period brass from the Dark Horse Consort. (Also note Thirteen’s “Barber, Brahms, Britten and Bruckner” program from November 11-13, which will include a world premiere by British composer Ed Rex, as well as pieces by George Walker and Caroline Shaw.) Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Episcopal High School, 1200 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria; Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill, 313 Second St. SE; October 23 at 5 p.m. at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda. $10 to $40.

On October 22, violinist Gil Shaham joins conductor Piotr Gajewski and his national philharmonic orchestra for a program of Joseph Bologne, the first symphony of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges; the Third Violin Concerto by Camille Saint-Saëns; and Louise Farrenc’s Third Symphony. Mark your diaries, too, for November 12, when Stan Engebretson conducts the Philharmonie and the National Philharmonic Choral in Berlioz’s epic Requiem (Op. 5, also known as “Grand Messe des Morts”). October 22 at 8 p.m. Strathmore Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. $79 to $99; free for children from 7 to 17 years old.

Gil Shaham, the NSO and Mother Nature take Wolf Trap by storm

The Atlanta Ballet joins the Cathedral Choral Society for a dramatic rendition of Berlioz’s 1839 choral symphony, “Romeo and Juliet,” with new choreography by Claudia Schreier. The powerful trio of mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó, tenor Patrick Kilbride and bass-baritone Kevin Deas joins the Cathedral Choral Society Orchestra, conducted by conductor Steven Fox. October 22 at 4 p.m. Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $22.50 to $112.

After a long pandemic delay, the Washington Chorus presents “Tomorrow!” A Reflection on Hope and Resilience,” described as a “visual and immersive experience” featuring a live performance of Damien Geter’s pandemic-driven choral work “Cantata for a More Hopeful Tomorrow” as well as the short film of the same name from Emmy-winning director Bob Berg. Oct. 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Live! at 10th and G, inside the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 945 G St. NW. $25 to $49.

Washington Performing Arts brings the 2021 Kennedy Center winner back to DC for a unique program that mixes sonatas and partitas by Bach (a sweet spot for the acclaimed violinist) with contemporary works by Jessie Montgomery (her Rhapsody No. 1) and John Zorn (“Passagen”). October 30 at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $30.

Midori’s career began with a fleeting moment. It has become a lasting legacy.

American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra

If you want to listen to the future, on November 6, the talented American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by conductor Timothy Dixon, presents its autumn concert, a program by Tchaikovsky (Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op 36) and Verdi (the overture to “La Forza Del Destino”). Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. Schlesinger Hall, 4915 E. Campus Dr., Alexandria. $10; free for under 21s.

Italian-born pianist Rodolfo Leone (who won first prize in 2017 at the Vienna International Beethoven Piano Competition) comes to Dumbarton Oaks to make his DC debut with a pair of concerts covering works by Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy and Stravinsky. Nov. 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. Dumbarton Oaks, 1703 32nd St. NW. $55; single ticket sales begin October 13.

New Choral Arts Artistic Director Jace Kaholokula Saplan leads the Choral Arts Symphonic Chorus in “O! What a Beautiful City: Wondrous Music Rooted in DC”, a program of locally sourced works by George Walker, Duke Ellington, BE Boykin and Ysaye Barnwell. Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW. $15 to $59.

As part of the Hayes Piano Series, Washington Performing Arts welcomes Icelandic piano phenom Vikingur Olafsson, whose latest recording for Deutsche Grammophon arrives in mid-October. For this recital, Olafsson will draw on his most recent release, “Mozart & Contemporaries”, which mixes a fine selection of piano pieces by Mozart with lesser-heard works by Haydn, Baldassare Galuppi, CPE Bach and Domenico Cimarosa. Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $30 to $60.

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