It began with two firm, resounding hand claps. When Wendy Weinberg purchased the Theatre at Washington her dream was to bring high quality classical music to rural Rappahannock. She contacted the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society to see about setting up a concert series.
As she tells it, “A young man who was working for the Smithsonian had already come out to the theatre and he and I had discussed programming and so forth in some detail. I was rather taken aback when our discussion ended by the young man's saying that before we could finalize arrangements someone else from the Smithsonian needed to come out to visit the theatre. A few days later, Ken Slowik drove out from Washington D.C., walked into the auditorium, clapped his hands loudly, twice, and said, ‘We'll come.’ And they have been coming ever since then.”
The superb acoustics of Little Washington Theatre had won the day. And now, 27 years and dozens of concerts later, the Smithsonian performances continue to delight classical music lovers. Slowik, as director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, has performed at every concert accompanied by some of the finest musicians from symphonies and ensembles around the globe. Understandably, it’s a tradition Nancy Raines, owner of the theatre since 2014, enthusiastically continues.
An exceptional element of all concerts in the Smithsonian at Little Washington series is the commentary provided by Slowik throughout the program. His remarks shed light on the glorious music and the life and times of the featured composers. Slowik was the recipient of the Smithsonian Secretary’s Distinguished Research Lecture Award, and the remarks during the concerts at the Little Washington Theatre are generally an abbreviated version of the talk which precedes each of the concerts heard in the Big Washington.
This Sunday, October 6, is another opportunity to experience a Smithsonian program prepared by Slowik. Accompanied by violinist David Salness and cellist Chelsea Bernstein, Slowik, on piano, has chosen pieces by Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven for the 3 p.m. matinee performance. A lovely and worthwhile diversion on a Sunday afternoon, don’t you think?
More information and reservations are a click away at LittleWashingtonTheatre.com.