Founded in 1931, the National Symphony Orchestra regularly performs for official state occasions, presidential inaugurations, and other events of national and international importance. With a strong commitment to music education, the NSO offers many educational concerts and activities for both children and adults. Sunday afternoon family concerts are designed for parents and children (ages 7+); Kinder Konzerts are small ensemble performances geared toward introducing young children (4+) to the orchestra and its instruments. Instrument “petting zoos” offer a chance for children and their parents to see the instruments played by the orchestra up-close. NSO Ensembles for children 9 and up utilize multimedia to demonstrate the connection between music and other disciplines.
A special series, NSO Composer Portraits, is a wonderful way for adults to learn more about a particular composer. The first half of the performance offers background information about the composer with excerpts of his works in chronological order, demonstrating the development of his style, while the second half features the performance of an entire single work by that composer.
Following NSO Classical Subscription concerts, Composer Portraits performances, and Kennedy Center Chamber Players concerts throughout the season, ticket holders are invited to AfterWords for a discussion about the evening’s performance.
National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Information
- Public Transportation: Good (Orange and Blue Metro lines get you close to the Kennedy Center and a free shuttle is available if you want to skip the walk. The Kennedy Center is also accessible by the 80 bus)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: About 175 per season
- Ticket Prices: From $20 to $85, depending on the performance
- Group Discounts: Discounts are available at most performances for groups of 20 or more
- Subscriptions: Available in Mini Packs (Choral, Friday Matinée, Meet the Maestro, Family, and Pops). You may also create your own series of three or more performances. Benefits include a subscription to Kennedy Center News and limited ticket exchanges
- Kids Chats: Following each of the 3 p.m. NSO Family concerts, young audience members can ask questions of the concert artists and hear their stories in an up-close and personal forum
- Membership: National Symphony Orchestra membership begins at $60. Benefits include members-only ticket priority, an exclusive subscription to the On the Aisle newsletter, a subscription to the Kennedy Center news magazine, and discounts to Performance Plus events.