Did you miss the splashy Valentine's Day debut of the Gourmet Symphony, which paired gourmet food with classical music? Now you have a chance for an even more intimate eating, drinking and musical experience with the group.

[Gourmet Symphony: Wining and dining a new audience for classical music]


Musicians from the Gourmet Symphony perform amid diners at its February debut. The group is hosting a smaller-scale event as part of its new Saloon Concert Series. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

On May 20, three performers will play four musical selections at Beuchert's Saloon as part of the symphony's Saloon Concert Series. The event, titled "Woodworking 101," will welcome 40 guests to the restaurant's garden patio. The goal is to create an experience that provides equal billing for the cuisine and the music, said Gourmet Symphony's artistic director John Devlin.

The musicians will talk about how wood for instruments is curated and conditioned, leading to different sounds. Attendees will also learn about the role of wood in the barrel-aged bourbons of Michter's Distillery and in grilled foods. Beuchert's chef Andrew Market will prepare five dishes, included smoked pork pupusas, shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes.

Devlin hopes to reach people who many not ordinarily go to concerts. More than 60 percent of those at the February performance had never been to a classical music performance before, he said.

His full orchestra of 60 players includes professionals drawn from other groups, such as the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and various military divisions.

"These are the best players in D.C.," Devlin said.

He intends to continue the saloon series in the future, but most of the summer will be taken up by the symphony's Taste Your Music series. A grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities will allow the group and partner Capital City Symphony to put on six performances at soup kitchens, food banks and community service providers around the city.

Food at Gourmet Symphony events is tied to the music. Here, sauerbraten-style beef cheeks with herbed spaetzle from February. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post) Food at Gourmet Symphony events is tied to the music. Here, sauerbraten-style beef cheeks with herbed spaetzle from February. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)

The Gourmet Symphony's next large-scale performance open to the public will be in September, which will benefit the organizations that are part of Taste Your Music. Like the February event, expect musicians performing among diners rather than on a stage. Meal courses are also designed to pair thematically with the music.

"These type of things we think enhance the experience of the music-making," Devlin said.

Saloon Concert Series, May 20 at Beuchert's Saloon, 623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 6-8 p.m. $35; tickets available via Eventbritewww.gourmetsymphony.org.

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