Reason for Fanfare

The National Symphony Orchestra performed the 10,000th concert in its 69-year history yesterday afternoon at the Kennedy Center. The orchestra, which was formally incorporated during the Hoover administration and was once known for playing free concerts from barges anchored on the Potomac River, has established itself as a cornerstone of Washington's cultural scene.

The NSO performs between 175 and 200 times a year, including not only its trademark classical and pops concerts at the Kennedy Center but also several youth-oriented programs, summer performances at Wolf Trap, residencies, tours and its annual free concerts on the steps of the Capitol. It has commissioned two Pulitzer Prize-winning works and has won a Grammy for best classical recording.

Yesterday's two performances (the second was the 10,000th) were dubbed "Music That Moves" and launched a new family concert series. Music Director Leonard Slatkin said that it is "especially appropriate that this concert take place with the opening of a new series for families." It was led by conductor in residence Anthony Aibel, who added that he is "looking forward to being a part of the next 10,000."

Notting Acquaintances

German uber-model Claudia Schiffer has moved into the trendy London district of Notting Hill. The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that Schiffer is set to film a series of advertising campaigns in England and wanted to make London her base. Schiffer recently split with longtime fiance David Copperfield.

The three-bedroom apartment is in an area that has become home to several celebrities, including Tom Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman, tennis star and fellow German Boris Becker, and legendary funnyman John Cleese. The neighborhood was also the setting for the hit romantic film of the same name, which starred Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Schiffer reportedly paid the equivalent of $1.1 million for her new pad.

Ex-'EastEnder' Miscarries

In sadder news from the United Kingdom, budding pop star Martine McCutcheon has suffered a miscarriage two months into an unplanned pregnancy. She told News of the World that she lost the baby two weeks ago. "I'm devastated," she said, "it's just so hard to deal with."

McCutcheon, 23, became famous for her role in the popular British soap "EastEnders," which she left last year to pursue a music career. She said that she has decided to speak out about her ordeal to help other women who have suffered through miscarriages. She had to cancel a tour in early November after becoming ill, but managed to keep her engagements over the weekend, including an appearance on a children's television program.

End Notes

According to Variety, a record 47 countries, including first-timers Bhutan, Nepal and Tajikistan, have submitted pictures to compete for the 1999 Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar . . . Several politicians in Mexico have criticized film star and native daughter Salma Hayek for visiting American troops in Kosovo on Thanksgiving. Mexico generally opposed the NATO intervention there, and some have stated that it is improper and possibly illegal for Mexican citizens to have contacts with foreign troops.

Out & About will return next Monday.