On September 27, 2018, I walked into the Kennedy Center like I always do after parking on level B and going up the two short escalators to the main floor. As we walked up to the concert hall, I stopped to take my picture in the mirror with my friends and family like we always do before every performance. This concert, however, was unlike any other concert we would normally go to because we were going to hear Pictures at an Exhibition.
Throughout my childhood, I have always loved classical music, but Pictures at an Exhibition will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first classical music I ever heard. I was two years old in Olssen’s Books and Records in Downtown Bethesda with my dad. It was our usual Saturday morning Pancake House breakfast with a quick trip to Olssen’s for my dad to get a new book. He wanted to entertain me, but instead of putting on the usual nursery rhymes, he put on Pictures at an Exhibition. I was in awe and immediately begged him for the CD. Ever since that day, Pictures at an Exhibition frequently plays throughout our speakers.
After taking our picture, we walked up to the usher to get directed to our seats. We decided to sit above the orchestra in the terrace seats to get a different view than usual. Sitting in the terrace level was an experience I will never forget. We were in the front row behind the railing on the far left, so we were basically sitting over the first violin section. Seeing the expressions of the conductor was what really drew me in. He was so invested, and you could tell he loved what he was doing. I could not peel my eyes away from the stage the entire performance. I also glanced at the musicians every once in a while. Their passion for the music was so inspiring that as soon as I got home I went upstairs and practiced violin. This concert was definitely one of the NSO’s best in a while. Gianandrea Noseda, the new conductor, has brought a new energy to the orchestra, an accomplishment that makes the whole concert and experience more enjoyable.