City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, music director
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello
Friday, October 21, 2022, 8:00 PM

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, music director
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello
Fri, Oct 21, 8 p.m.
The Music Center at Strathmore

Winners of “Recording of the Year” at the 2020 Gramophone Classical Music Awards, Britain’s City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and their acclaimed principal guest conductor, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, make their first Washington Performing Arts appearance in more than 20 years in this fascinating program featuring the D.C. premiere of contemporary British composer Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel Symphony. Inspired by the classic 1962 surrealist film by Luis Buñuel, and given its world premiere by the CBSO in their home venue last year, Adès’s symphony is an adaptation of his opera of the same name, which Britain’s Guardian hailed as “a turning point for Adès and, it felt, for opera itself,” adding, “It’s as if all music is buoyantly alive and coexisting… from Wagner to Mussorgsky, Bartók, Nielsen, Ravel, Shostakovich, and Nancarrow.”

Complementing this daring new work are two favorites of the repertoire: Debussy’s La Mer and Elgar’s Cello Concerto, the latter featuring the world-renowned young English soloist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Catapulted to fame by his performance in the globally televised 2018 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Kanneh-Mason has gone on to release multiple recordings on Decca Records and to perform both solo and with prestigious symphony orchestras in the world’s premier venues. A recipient of the British chivalric honor of M.B.E., Kanneh-Mason also garnered the 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists’ Award.

Program Details

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, music director
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello

ELGAR – Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85
THOMAS ADÈS – The Exterminating Angel Symphony (Washington D.C. premiere)

This performance is 2 hours, including a 20 minute intermission.


“Unstoppable and mesmerizing…”

Observer (U.K.) on Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla

Our Partners

Washington Performing Arts’s classical music performances this season are made possible in part through the generous support of Betsy and Robert Feinberg.

Her Excellency Dame Karen Elizabeth Pierce, Ambassador of the United Kingdom, and Her Excellency Ambassador Audra Plepytė, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, are the honorary patrons of this engagement.

This is one of twenty 2022/23 season performances included in Washington Performing Arts’s The World in Our City initiative, which promotes cross-cultural understanding and cultural diplomacy via the presentation of international visiting artists, globally inspired local programming, and the award-winning Embassy Adoption Program, a partnership with D.C. Public Schools.

Special thanks to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; and the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.

“Fiery vibrato [and] dramatic phrasing… a compelling musical storyteller”

New York Times on Sheku Kanneh-Mason

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