Noseda and the National Symphony Orchestra

Aug 07, 2018 247

THE birth of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), in 1931, was modest, not to say eccentric. Milton Schwartz, a local violinist, later described being approached by a “seedy-looking person in an old coat” who announced: “I am here to form a symphony orchestra. I just heard you play and I like you very much.” 

The person was Hans Kindler, then the principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Kindler was well-respected, but his reputation—and those of several subsequent music directors, including the Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich—never managed to elevate the NSO to the orchestral big league. The New York Philharmonic, the Boston and Chicago symphonies, and the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras are all considered superior, as are the Berlin Philharmonic, the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera and London ensembles such as the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). Until now, at least.

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