Best Places To Get Your Classical Music Fix In Washington DC

June 24, 2013 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

There have been many articles and discussions about the decline of interest in classical music in America; especially when talking about the younger generations. But the Washington DC metropolitan area has many organizations that produce, present and perform classical music. Spend an afternoon or evening with your family at these venues that keep classical music alive in DC.

The John F. Kennedy Center
2700 F St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20566
(202) 467-4600

The Kennedy Center is arguably the biggest arts organization in the DMV; offering musicals, operas, dance and more. So it is no surprise that it is also one of the major venues for classical music, being the home of The National Symphony Orchestra. This is also partly due to the presence of the programming presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society. WPAS brings world-renowned artists and orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic and Itzhak Perlman, to Kennedy Center stages. You can also check out free classical performances as part of the Millennium Stage series.

The Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
Bethesda, MD 20852
(301) 581-5100

Also a venue used by WPAS, The Music Center at Strathmore’s main auditorium and Mansion series boast up-and-coming and well-respected classical musicians. Specially designed and built to have every seat in the hall be great, Strathmore is a favorite for both artists and audiences. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra chose the venue to be its second home, performing a full season at the hall on top of the season at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore. Dive into the classical music offered at this beautiful hall.

Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center
3001 North Beauregard St.
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 845-6156

Located on the Alexandria campus of the Northern Virginia Community College, the Rachel M. Schlesinger Hall is one of the lesser-known venues in the Washington DC area. In a way, the hall is Northern Virginia’s version of The Music Center at Strathmore, providing multiple spaces for various presentations of art in one location. And it has its own resident orchestra, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. Tagged as “your local world-class symphony,” the orchestra may not get as much recognition as the NSO or BSO, but it has performed just as well. Support the local arts by spending an evening with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra at Schlesinger Hall.

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National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 537-6200

One of the most recognized houses of worship in Washington DC, the National Cathedral provides so much to area residents and visitors including lectures, classes, forums, interfaith programs and musical events. The Cathedral is home to DC’s largest organ, which is used not only during mass, but for organ recitals and the Cathedral Society of Washington performances. Performing works by Mozart, Handel, Rachmaninoff and more, attending a Cathedral Society concert is a wonderful way to enjoy classical music.

Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 544-4600

Classical music has its niche groups like any other style of music. Enthusiasts of the baroque, medieval or Renaissance periods have a place to get their specific music fix. The Folger Shakespeare Library has provided these enthusiasts with an ensemble and a place to hear this music live. The Folger Consort performs and educates residents about early music through various programs and collaborations, including performing at the National Cathedral. Named the Best Classical Chamber Ensemble five years in a row, the Consort is sure to provide you with an entertaining fix of classical music.

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Folashade Oyegbola is a freelance writer covering all things D.C. Her work can be found on

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