National Chamber Ensemble’s Love Letter To France In Time For Valentine’s Day

For the first time in ten seasons, the National Chamber Ensemble will showcase the complex works of the French Romantic virtuoso composer Camille Saint-Saëns, in celebration of the Valentine holiday. The Ensemble will perform its Vive la France: The Magic of Saint-Saëns concert Saturday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Rosslyn Spectrum.

Harpist Melissa Dvorak makes her debut Ensemble performance, marking the first time the harp will be a featured instrument in an Ensemble concert. Dvorak is well known as a harp soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player, who recently had the honor of performing for Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States this year. She is joined by violinist and Ensemble artistic director Leonid Sushansky, cellist Sean Neidlinger, and pianist Carlos César Rodriguez.
General admission tickets are $33 for adults and $17 for students, plus applicable service charges. Tickets are available online at and at the box office one hour prior to the performance. Group discounts for 10 or more are available by calling (703) 685-7590. For more information, call (703) 685-7590 or visit The theater has free garage parking and is two blocks from the Rosslyn Metro. A wine and cheese reception with the artists follows the concert.
Widely remembered for his symphonic poems – the first of its genre to be written by a Frenchman – Camille Saint-Saëns’ compositions have been labeled intricate and demanding. Famous for his larger orchestral works and instrumental concertos, Saint-Saëns once wrote to a friend: “I like nothing better than chamber music.”
For this concert, the Ensemble will perform “Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75;” “Fantaisie for Violin and Harp, Op. 124;” and “Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 92.”
The 2016-17 NCE season also features The Four Seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla on March 25 and Music of Our Time on May 13.
About Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre
Located at 1611 N. Kent Street, Arlington VA
Parking: Free garage parking, entrance on Arlington Ridge Road
Metro: Blue/Orange/Silver – Rosslyn Station
About National Chamber Ensemble
The National Chamber Ensemble was founded in 2007 to provide opportunities to appreciate and enjoy the art of chamber music, bringing together performers, audiences, and composers. Through its performances and commissions of original musical works, NCE presents a full range of chamber music repertoire from the classics to the contemporary. Its internationally-acclaimed musicians provide outstanding performances of chamber music in an intimate setting. The Ensemble has presented several world premieres and hosted visiting guest artists such as international clarinet star Julian Milkis (the only pupil of Benny Goodman), opera diva Carmen Balthrop, and America’s most often performed and recorded living composer Lowell Liebermann, among others. Over the years, NCE has collaborated with Ballet Nova, Choralis Children’s Choir, Russian Chamber Art Society, and Bowen McCauley Dance. NCE strives to build a sense of closeness between performers and audience that enhances the feeling of community and a deeper musical experience.
The National Chamber Ensemble is supported in part by the Arlington Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts.
The National Chamber Ensemble is partially supported by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Performer Biographies
Melissa Dvorak (Harp)
Harpist Melissa Dvorak enjoys a vibrant and exciting career as busy harp soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and harp instructor. Her rich and varied orchestral experience has given her the opportunity to perform with the Baltimore Symphony, Washington National Opera, Fairfax Symphony, Alexandria Symphony, Maryland Symphony, the National Philharmonic, the Connie Francis Touring Band, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, The Royal Ballet, the Marininsky Ballet, the US Air Force Band, and the National Orchestral Institute. In 2016 she had the distinct honor to play for Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States. Read more about Melissa.
Sean Neidlinger (Cello)
Cellist Sean Neidlinger enjoys an active career as a recitalist, chamber musician, and teacher. After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Richard Aaron, he pursued further studies at the New England Conservatory with Paul Katz. Described as “fiery” and “impassioned” by The Washington Post, Sean’s playing has received top prizes at several orchestra concerto competitions, including the Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria Symphonies. He has been featured as a soloist and chamber musician at the Korean, German, French, and Austrian embassies, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and Terrace Theatre, the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic, and the Friday Morning Music Club orchestras. Read more about Sean.
Carlos César Rodríguez (Piano)
A musician of brilliance and versatility, Carlos César Rodríguez has gained recognition as a virtuoso pianist who not only generates excitement in the Hispanic and Spanish repertoire, but also displays an extraordinary flair for Mozart, the romantics, and the avant-garde scores. As concert-pianist, Mr. Rodríguez made his recital debut in his native Venezuela at age five, and made his orchestral debut as soloist at age 11. Soon after he arrived in the United States to continue his music studies, Mr. Rodríguez was a finalist in the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Competition. At age 21 he made his Carnegie Hall debut. Read more about Carlos.
Leonid Sushansky (Violin)
Violinist Leo Sushansky has been acclaimed widely for his “Gorgeous tone… Compelling musical personality…Passionate intensity” by The Washington Post. He has appeared with many orchestras, as a recitalist and chamber musician in esteemed concert halls worldwide, and has been featured on numerous radio and television programs. He opens his tenth season with the National Chamber Ensemble in the role of Artistic Director and performer. He returned to the Kennedy Centers Terrace Theater in March 2016 to perform the monumental Chaconne by J.S. Bach with Bowen McCauley Dance. Read more about Leonid.

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