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February 4, 2015

The winter and spring season of concerts at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art, begins Feb. 10 with a rare joint performance by three of the world’s leading advocates for traditional Asian instruments, including Grammy-nominated Chinese lute virtuoso Wu Man. It continues through May with four concerts of new and traditional music with Persian influences and four performances in the critically acclaimed Meyer Concert Series of chamber music ensembles with Asian influence.

Highlights include a perennial audience favorite, the Musicians from Marlboro, featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Sarah Shafer; a world premiere composition “Verge Quartet” by critically acclaimed composer Lei Liang performed by the Shanghai Quartet; and the Ghazhal trio, with Grammy-nominated artists Kayhan Kalhor and Shujaat Khan, performing their unique blend of Indian and Persian classical music together for the first time in more than 10 years as part of an eight-city North American reunion tour.

All performances are free of charge and take place in the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium. Tickets are required and can be obtained through and at the Meyer Auditorium one hour before showtime. For more information, visit or call 202-633-1000.

More than 50 full-length concerts by world-renowned musicians from all across the Asian diaspora have been converted into digital format for streaming and download.


Music from Japan 40th-Anniversary Concert
Tuesday, Feb. 10; 7:30 p.m.
Mayumi Miyata, sho; Wu Man, pipa; Jin Hi Kim, komungo
Three of the world’s leading exponents of Asian instruments make a rare joint appearance in this concert of traditional and contemporary music for Japanese sho (mouth organ), Korean komungo (zither) and Chinese pipa (lute). The program features classical and contemporary solos for each instrument, plus the Washington premiere of Unkai (Sea of Clouds), a commissioned work for all three artists by new-music innovator Ned Rothenberg.

Meyer Concert Series
Musicians from Marlboro II
Wednesday, Feb. 11; 7:30 p.m.
Metropolitan Opera soprano Sarah Shafer and mezzo-soprano Rebecca Ringle, who has appeared with the San Francisco Opera and at Royal Albert Hall (London), perform songs by Brahms and Dvořák. Hungarian pianists Izabella Simono and Dénes Várjon combine their talents for virtuoso works for piano four-hands by Gyorgy Kurtág. And violinist Michelle Ross and cellist Brook Speltz join in for Schubert’s Notturno and Beethoven’s “Ghost” Trio.

The complete program includes selections from Dvořák’s Moravian Duets; Brahms’ Vier Duette, op. 61; Schubert’s Adagio in E-flat Major, D. 897 (Notturno); portions of Kurtág’s Transcriptions from Machaut to J.S. Bach for Four-Hands Piano and his Games for Piano for Four-Hands Piano; and Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D Major, op. 70, no. 1 (Ghost).

Classic Persian Pop: Mitra Sumara
Saturday, March 7; 1 and 4­ pm
Revisit the Iranian pop music scene of the 1960s and 1970s with updated versions of classic songs made famous by the likes of Googoosh, Hayedeh, Pari Zangeneh and Parva, along with mesmerizing bandari-beat tunes by Zia Atabi. The band, Mitra Sumara, based in New York, features Iranian American vocalist Yvette Perez, joined by Peter Zummo on trombone, Bill Ruyle on santur (hammer dulcimer), Michael Evans on percussion and Jim Duffy on keyboards. The band re-energizes Persian pop with influences ranging from salsa and disco to Nigeria’s Fela Kuti and Middle Eastern rhythms. Made possible through a grant from Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar. Presented in connection with Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration.

Meyer Concert Series
Inspired by Persia: Anton Belov, baritone; Vera Danchenko-Stern, piano
Saturday, March 14; 7:30 p.m.
Russian-born baritone Anton Belov performs Persian and Persian-inspired poetry set to the music of Brahms, Schumann, Wolf and Tchaikovsky. His recital features poetry by the 13th-century mystic Hafiz, whose writings are especially important around the Persian New Year (March 21). Presented in connection with “Nasta‘liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy.”

Ghazal: Indian and Persian Improvisations
Thursday, March 19; 7:30 p.m.
Grammy-nominated artists Kayhan Kalhor and Shujaat Khan of the group Ghazal reunite for the first time in more than 10 years to perform their unique blend of Indian and Persian classical music. Both musical traditions stress elaboration and improvisation based on the raga and dastgah styles of India and Iran. Made possible through support from Kenneth Robbins and the Persian Art Programs Endowment.

Meyer Concert Series
Shanghai Quartet
Thursday, April 30; 7:30 p.m.
The world-renowned ensemble performs Ravel’s only work for string quartet as well as Beethoven’s op. 59, no. 2 (one of the Razumovsky quartets) and the world premiere of Lei Liang’s “Verge Quartet.” Composer Lei Liang has written for the New York Philharmonic and is a winner of the prestigious Rome Prize.

Meyer Concert Series
Musicians from Marlboro III
Wednesday, May 6; 7:30 p.m.
Cellist Peter Wiley, a Grammy nominee with the Beaux Arts Trio, is joined by Cleveland Orchestra oboist Mary Lynch, International Tchaikovsky Competition-winner Itamar Zorman and young stars from the Marlboro Music Festival. Horn virtuosos Patrick Pridemore and Wei-Ping Chou are featured in Beethoven’s Sextet for Two Horns and String Quartet, op. 81b, and in Mozart’s Divertimento for Oboe, Horns and Strings, K. 251. French violist Hélène Clément and violinist David McCarroll join in for Brahms’ String Quartet in C, op. 51, no. 1.


The Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25), and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries and their exhibitions, programs and other public events, visit or follow or For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.

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