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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Wednesday, September 9

A Fanfare for the Kennedy Center

Synopsis

On today’s date in 1971, the Concert Hall at the newly opened Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., was inaugurated with a gala performance by the National Symphony Orchestra led by Antal Dorati, its Music Director back then. The National Symphony Orchestra, or NSO, was founded in 1931, and until the opening of the Kennedy Center, had used Constitution Hall as its home base.

Not surprisingly, considering its location in our nation's capital, the NSO has had a long tradition of performing, commissioning, and premiering works by American composers. Through the Hechinger Commissioning Fund, the NSO has commissioned more than 50 works, including “Fanfare for the Kennedy Center,” written by American composer Ron Nelson in honor of the Center’s 25th anniversary in 1996.

Leonard Slatkin, the NSO’s Music Director that year, had this to say about the composer: “Nelson is the quintessential American composer. He has the ability to move between conservative and newer styles with ease. The fact that he's a little hard to categorize is what makes him interesting.”

For his part, about his “Fanfare for the Kennedy Center,” Ron Nelson said: “It’s a musical epiphany that moves from darkness to light… from idea (French horns) to fruition (full brass).”

Music Played in Today's Program

Ron Nelson A Fanfare for the Kennedy Center

Additional Information

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