Associate Conductor Andrew Litton will end his tenure with the National Symphony Orchestra this summer. "It's been four fabulous years," he says.
Litton, who came to Washington in 1982 as the symphony's Exxon/Arts Endowment conductor, will become the first principal guest conductor of Great Britain's Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra starting with the 1986-87 season. His commitment to the Bournemouth Symphony is only five weeks a year, so Litton will have time to pursue his occupation around the globe.
He says he's sad to be leaving, but he has clearly been chafing at the bit.
"The guest conducting commitments that I have have grown so numerous that I could no longer fulfil the covering requirements of the NSO," says Litton. He already is scheduled to perform next season with the Zurich Opera House Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the American Symphony in New York City, with which Litton will make his Big Apple debut in February. Even with these appearances, Litton will continue as principal conductor of the Virginia Chamber Orchestra, a commitment that requires him to conduct three concerts per year.
"You spend roughly half the season as an understudy for whichever conductor is conducting," says Litton of his NSO role, "and since I have opportunities to conduct elsewhere , I'm going to take those opportunities."
His last concert as associate conductor is July 26 at Wolf Trap, where he will play some of his favorite Gershwin tunes on the piano.
Meanwhile, the Arlington Symphony has chosen its new conductor: David Pollitt, who has conducted for the Opera Company of Boston and the Aspen Concert Orchestra.
Washington Artist Newsletter
The Coalition of Washington Artists, an advocacy group for visual artists, has begun a quarterly newsletter called Washington Artist. The newsletter, which has a decidedly political cast, contains essays and proposals to improve circumstances for local artists.
"We try to discuss ways that artists can gain more legitimate status in society and be less at the mercy of the institutions that seem to govern them at this point," says Lynn Sures, coalition member.
Among the articles contained in the first issue are an editorial by artist Rockne Krebs and an excerpt from a National Endowment for the Arts report on art economics in four U.S. cities. For subscriptions write: P.O. Box 53422, Temple Heights Station, Washington, D.C., 20009-3422.
A new chamber music series that will "survey a thousand years of chamber music" from the early troubadours to the present was announced Friday. The concerts, scheduled for the 1986-87 season, will be on Sunday afternoons at Meridian House, beginning with the Annapolis Brass Quintet Sept. 21. The series is being presented by Millennium Ensemble and AT&T, which is footing the $25,000 bill.
Art as Industry
Art for art's sake is one thing, but art as industry is another. That is the premise of "The Centenary of the Division of Graphic Arts," an informative show that opened this month at the division's home, the National Museum of American History.
Indeed, there are prints in this exhibit -- beautiful ones by Edward Hopper, Robert Henri and Washington artist Jacob Kainen, who actually served as curator of the division from 1946-1966 -- but they are there only to illustrate the development of technology. The tools of the trade -- photo-lithography implements, printing presses, typographic fonts and compositors' tools -- are the point.
The exhibit runs through May 1987.
Glen Echo's Future
Glen Echo update: With the future of artists at Glen Echo in question, the latest National Park Service brochure on Glen Echo Park has been updated to accommodate probable changes in the nature of artistic endeavors there. The brochure has three sections: "Then: An Amusement Park," "Now: A Cultural Arts Park" and "Future: A Cooperative Effort." The brochure goes on to describe that future: " . . . the land and structures of the park will be developed through cooperation of government and private sectors . . . "
The Middendorf Gallery is hosting a benefit reception Saturday for Present Company Inc., the outfit that is producing "Visiting Hours," which will open June 6 at New Playwrights' Theatre. "Visiting Hours" is directed by Achim Nowak and Wendy Woodson, who recently changed the name of their production company from "Wendy Woodson and Present Company" to just plain "Present Company Inc."