On the Beat

NC Symphony will take a spot in national orchestra festival

The N.C. Symphony is going to Washington as part of a prestigious new program in the nation’s capitol.

“SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras” will launch in 2017, overseen by the Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The N.C. Symphony is one of four American orchestras that will participate, along with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic and Brooklyn-based ensemble The Knights.

In addition to outreach programs around Washington, each group will play programs with different themes, such as “Nature & Music” for the Colorado-based Boulder Philharmonic. The N.C. Symphony’s theme is “Americana,” with works by composers with connections to the state.

“They proposed a very brave program of works by remarkable composers including Robert Ward, an elder statesman of American music,” said Jenny Bilfield, CEO and president of Washington Performing Arts. “We will learn a lot about the North Carolina Symphony and what they value by the program they’re bringing.”

In addition to two pieces by Ward, the late Durham resident who won a Pulitzer Prize for music in 1962 for his opera “The Crucible,” the N.C. Symphony will perform works by Greenville native Caroline Shaw, who has won both a music Pulitzer (and was the youngest ever to do so) and a Grammy Award; Mason Bates’ “Rusty Air in Carolina,” which the Symphony performed in its current season; and a new, still-to-be-titled piece the Symphony commissioned by Sarah Kirkland Snider, which will debut in September.

“SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras” will happen in March 2017.