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Masterworks of Five Centuries 2016-2017 Sunday Concert Series
Six Evening Performances
Sun., Oct. 9, 2016; Jan. 8, 2017; Feb. 26, 2017; April 9, 2017; April 30, 2017; and May 7, 2017

Pre-concert lecture: 6:30 to 7:15 p.m.
Concert: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
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Masterworks of Four CenturiesThis subscription option features Sunday dates.

The 40th season of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society features musical masterpieces from the 17th to the early 21st century, played on some of the world’s most highly prized musical instruments in this six-concert series. Featured ensembles are as follows: The Smithsonian Chamber Players, Smithsonian Consort of Viols, and the Esterházy Machine. This concert series is also offered on Saturday dates.

Kenneth Slowik, artistic director and recipient of the Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Award, curates a series of pre-concert lectures (one hour prior to each program), shedding light on the glorious music and the life and times of the featured composers.

The season opens in October with a turn-of-the-century Viennese program containing two contrasting works of Arnold Schönberg: his Dvorák-like D major quartet of 1897, and his monumental D minor quartet of 1904–05, which is formally a small-scale analogue to the First Chamber Symphony heard at the conclusion of last season.

The Smithsonian Consort of Viols makes another January outing, with a program centered around works of Alfonso Ferrabosco and Orlando Gibbons for viols and organ.

In February, two of California’s top period-instrument players, Katherine Kyme and William Skeen, join Kenneth Slowik for four of Haydn’s inventive fortepiano trios from the late 1780s.

Slowik celebrates his 40th season as a member of the Smithsonian Chamber Players with a pair of all-Bach recitals at the beginning of April. Later that month, the theme is again late-19th-century Viennese, with two of the greatest chamber works of Brahms: the warmly gemütlich A major piano-and-violin sonata, and the haunting, autumnally beautiful clarinet quintet, one of the pieces Brahms wrote after he was seduced to end his self-imposed compositional retirement by the artistry of clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld.

The season ends on a festive note, with the Esterházy Machine presenting a sampling of the 126 baryton trios Haydn wrote for his music-loving employer Prince Nikolaus Esterház “The Magnificent,” and Robert Schumann’s genial piano quartet of 1842.

To learn more about the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, click here.



Sun., Oct. 9
Krzysztof Penderecki: Leaves of an Unwritten Diary
Samuel Barber: Adagio from the String Quartet, Op. 11
Arnold Schoenberg: Quartet in D Minor, Op. 7

The Smithsonian Chamber Players
Mark Fewer and Audrey Wright, violin; Steven Dann, viola; Kenneth Slowik, violoncello


Sun., Jan. 8
English Consort Music of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Eras

The Smithsonian Consort of Viols
Kenneth Slowik, Rebekah Ahrendt, Loren Ludwig, Catherine Slowik and Arnie Tanimoto, viols; with Webb Wiggins, organ


Sun., Feb. 26
Joseph Haydn: Piano Trios of the 1780s

The Smithsonian Chamber Players
Kenneth Slowik, fortepiano; Katherine Kyme, violin; William Skeen, violoncello


Sun., April 9
Music of Johann Sebastian Bach

Kenneth Slowik 


Sun., April 30
Johannes Brahms: Violin Sonata in A Major, Op. 78; Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115

The Smithsonian Chamber Players
Vera Beths and Meredith Riley, violin; Steven Dann, viola; Kenneth Slowik, violoncello and piano; Charles Neidich, clarinet


Sun., May 7
Joseph Haydn: Trios “fatto per S.A.S. Prencipe Estorhazi”
Robert Schumann: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47

The Esterházy Machine
Steven Dann, viola; Myron Lutzke, violoncello; Kenneth Slowik, baryton and piano; with Ian Swensen, violin


All concerts take place in the Hall of Music, American History Museum

Sunday Series (6 concerts): CODE: BPQ2
Program, location, and artists are subject to change.



National Museum of American History
Music Hall (3rd floor)
14th St & Constitution Ave NW
Quick Tix Code: BPQ2