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Music at Dumbarton Oaks

Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss designed Dumbarton Oaks to be beautiful without and within, filling the gardens with flowers, the library with rare volumes, and the house itself with fine art and music. Music at Dumbarton Oaks, founded in 1946 as the Friends of Music, continues this tradition with classical concerts from established and rising musicians.


Concert Series

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Performances take place Sundays at 7:00 p.m. and Mondays at 8:00 p.m. The cost of a full-season subscription is $350. Additional seats may become available for single concerts. The ticket price is $54 per person. All subscription and ticket sales are nonrefundable.

If you wish to purchase a subscription, require further information, or have questions about accessibility, please contact us via email at or by phone at (202) 339-6400 ext. 6436.

2019–2020 Season

Programs are subject to change.

Mohammed Fairouz
October 6–7, 2019

Hailed by BBC World News as “one of the most talented composers of his generation,” Fairouz composes in virtually every genre, including opera, symphonies, vocal and choral settings, and chamber and solo works. His program “Circles: A Recital of Song Cycles” showcases his engagement with American poets, each cycle representing a different aspect of recursive human experience. In these three song cycles, singers are complemented by chamber ensembles of bowed string instruments, winds, and piano.


Lavinia Meijer
October 27–28, 2019

Harpist Lavinia Meijer is passionate about broadening the possibilities of her instrument. She experiments with electronic music, jazz, and avant-garde works by living composers, and has collaborated with artists such as Iggy Pop, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, and Sufjan Stevens. Since 2011 she has worked closely with Philip Glass, transcribing for harp her groundbreaking renditions of his music. Represented in Meijer’s Dumbarton Oaks debut are composers Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Philip Glass, Bryce Dessner, and Paul Patterson.


The Knights
December 1–2, 2019

The Knights are a collective of adventurous musicians dedicated to transforming the orchestral and chamber music experience and eliminating barriers between audiences and music. Their three-season partnership with Dumbarton Oaks concludes with an homage to Johann Sebastian Bach—an exploration of music directly or indirectly influenced by the master, from modernist giants such as Igor Stravinsky, György Ligeti, and György Kurtág to American folk/pop icon Paul Simon. Joining the Knights in performance is our 2019 Early-Career Musician in Residence, violinist Robyn Bollinger.


Aizuri Quartet
January 12–13, 2020

Praised by the Washington Post for “captivating” performances that draw from its notable “meld of intellect, technique, and emotions,” the prizewinning Aizuri Quartet has garnered critical acclaim for bringing “a technical bravado and emotional power” to bold new commissions, and for its “flawless” (San Diego Union-Tribune) performances of the great masterpieces of the past. In their program “Music and Isolation,” the ensemble performs works by Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Hildegard von Bingen, Carlo Gesualdo, and Conlon Nancarrow.


February 9–10, 2020

Grammy-nominated piano duo ZOFO (Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi) have electrified audiences from Carnegie Hall to Tokyo with their dazzling artistry and outside-the-box thematic programming for one-piano-four-hands. At Dumbarton Oaks, they will play pieces by Alfredo Casella, Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas, and others.


Sandbox Percussion
March 1–2, 2020

Lauded by the Washington Post for “revitalizing the world of contemporary music” and called “a bombshell of raw talent” by I Care if You Listen, Sandbox Percussion has established itself as a leading proponent in this generation of contemporary percussion chamber music. The ensemble captivates audiences with performances that are both aurally and visually stunning. They perform works by Jason Treuting, Victor Caccese, Lou Harrison, and a world premiere by our 2020 Early-Career Musician in Residence, Viet Cuong.


Ensemble Caprice
April 5–6, 2020

Returning to the Music Room with a team of splendid singers in tow, Canada’s lively period-instrument orchestra performs the best of the recently unearthed opera Motezuma, by Antonio Vivaldi. According to baroque music expert Kees Vlaardingerbroek, this work is the most important Vivaldi discovery in 75 years, since the popular composer’s own archives were found in the 1920s. Motezuma recounts a fictitious love story between the Aztec emperor’s daughter, Teutile, and Cortés’s brother, Ramiro.

To find out more about performances from past concert seasons, see the Dumbarton Oaks Annual Reports. For information about performing at Dumbarton Oaks, or to be considered for the series, please contact Valerie Stains, Director of Music.


Early-Career Musician Residency

The Early-Career Musician Residency was inaugurated in 2014–2015 to continue and enhance a long tradition of music at Dumbarton Oaks. The main goal of the residency is to provide time and resources to young composers and musicians who show promise in transmitting traditions of classical music to younger generations. Proposals for residencies are by invitation only.

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2019–2020 Residents

Robyn Bollinger

Robyn Bollinger

Telling the story of that most indulgent musical tradition, the encore, in an original multimedia recital.

Fall Term

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Viet Cuong

Premiering a new work for Sandbox Percussion in March at Dumbarton Oaks.

Spring Term