The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and its new music director, Sir Simon Rattle, will come to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Nov. 17 with a program featuring symphonies by Franz Schubert and Jean Sibelius.
That's only one highlight of the Washington Performing Arts Society's 2003-04 season, which was announced yesterday. Other visiting ensembles will include the Philharmonia of London, under the direction of Christoph von Dohnanyi (Oct. 18); the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, under Zubin Mehta (Dec. 14); the Russian National Orchestra, under Vladimir Spivakov (Feb. 1, 2004); and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with its soon-to-be-former music director, Mariss Jansons (March 20, 2004).
Other attractions will include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, making his annual visit on Sept. 23 and performing with the Brazilian guitar duo Sergio and Odair Assad; the first Washington appearance in almost a decade by sitarist Ravi Shankar (Oct. 1); the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (several performances in January and February 2004); violinist Hilary Hahn (Feb. 21, 2004); baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (March 27, 2004); and pianist Alfred Brendel (May 1, 2004). All of these performances will take place at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.
The much-admired Patrick and Evelyn Swarthout Hayes Piano Series will continue with Saturday afternoon recitals in the Terrace Theater by Yundi Li, Claire Desert, Boris Berzovsky, Till Fellner and Nicolas Angelich. WPAS President Neale Perl will curate a series of four concerts in the Kreeger String Series at the Terrace -- appearances by the Lucerne Festival Strings, cellist Gary Hoffman, violinist Julia Fischer and the chamber group Antares.
There will be world premieres of dance pieces by choreographers Ronald K. Brown and Jane Comfort and Britain's George Piper Dances, as well as local premieres of works by the vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock; D.C. native Paul D. Miller, who performs as "DJ Spooky"; and poet Sekou Sundiata. Local favorites WPAS Men and Women of the Gospel Mass Choir and WPAS Children of the Gospel Mass Choir will be on hand for their annual concerts.
In all, WPAS will sponsor more than 60 performances. For information call 202-833-9800 or visit www.wpas.org. WPAS was founded by the late Patrick Hayes in 1965.