Smithsonian concert series opens Sept. 25

Smithsonian Chamber Music Society artistic director Kenneth Slowik, shown here, performs with harpischordist Jacques Ogg.

The Smithsonian at Little Washington marks its 19th season with a series of four concerts spanning music from the Baroque era to the late Romantic beginning Sept. 25.

The programs offer town audiences the opportunity to hear a choice selection of the concerts presented at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on the Mall.

Each concert includes commentary on the works presented by Smithsonian Chamber Music Society artistic director Kenneth Slowik.

The season opens at the Theatre at Washington at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25 when Slowik will be joined by the Dutch harpsichordist and orchestra leader Jacques Ogg for an all-Bach concert in the ongoing “Brilliance of the Baroque” series. They will play three sonatas for harpsichord and viola da gamba, BWV 1027, 1028, and 1029, by Johann Sebastian Bach, and the original version of the Concerto in C Major, BWV 1061, for two solo harpsichords. One of Bach’s sons later added orchestral string parts to this last piece, but in its original guise, to be played here, it leaves nothing to be desired as the two harpsichords weave a brilliant web of counterpoint. In an acoustical environment as intimate as the Theatre’s, the harpsichords produce a surprisingly bold and rich sound.

Ogg is principal teacher of the harpsichord at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. His discography includes more than 60 recordings on major labels. Fono Forum, Germany’s largest music magazine, named his CD of Bach’s Goldberg Variations the finest recording of this work presently available.

Slowik’s skills at the keyboard, and as viola da gambist, cellist and conductor is well known to Theatre audiences. A review of a recent concert he gave in New York state praised him as “an erudite multi-instrumentalist who [plays the] viola da gamba with exceptional expertise,” and went on to say “[h]e’s also a terrific harpsichordist with a fleet, even technique and strong connection to Bach’s music.”

Tickets for the performance at the Theatre on Sept. 25 are $20 for adults and $10 for students 18 and under. For reservations and for information on the remaining concerts in this season’s Smithsonian at Little Washington series, call 540-675-1253 or email to

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