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The National Symphony Orchestra’s (NSO) Artistic Advisor Ben Folds takes center stage to perform at the DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents concert on Friday, February 7, at 9 p.m. in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Other featured artists are composer-arranger-producer and multi-instrumentalist Jherek Bischoff and Chinese Pipa artist Wu Man. Ankush Bahl conducts.
Audiences who purchase tickets to both the February 7, 2020 AND the upcoming December 6, 2019 DECLASSIFIED concerts featuring Jamey Johnson, Emily King, and Gaby Moreno will receive a signed poster from Ben Folds at the February performance. In addition, the first 125 buyers to both shows will be invited to an intimate open-mic conversation and Q&A with Folds, along with the other artists and conductor, on the evening of February 6 in the REACH.
In a unique event that can only be heard with the NSO and Ben Folds, the DECLASSIFIED series defies the traditional classical music presentation by offering great live music in a casual and relaxed setting, with performances of symphonic music, as well as songs that are newly composed and/or arranged specifically for this event.
Folds has said that all the shows in the DECLASSIFIED series strictly adhere to a set of principles that set it apart from other kinds of orchestra performances. “There’s no rock, country, or pop band on stage,” Folds said. “The NSO is the band. We play by the orchestra’s rules, placing them in their natural environment, rather than using them to ornament. We create context that gives both the discerning veteran of the symphony hall as well as the newcomer a musical human experience, drawing a thread between the old and new. Never dumbing down a single note.”
For the February DECLASSIFIED, rather than serving in his usual role as host, Folds will perform live with the Orchestra.
The first DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents concert took place in June 2017, and featured artist-composer-producer Blake Mills, along with Latin Grammy®–nominated Cuban artist Danay Suarez. Previous NSO DECLASSIFIED performances have featured multi Grammy® and Tony®–nominated vocalist and composer Sara Bareilles with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and singer Caroline Shaw; bandleader and composer Jon Batiste with singer/songwriter Kishi Bashi, and composer and pianist Joachim Horsley; indie singer-songwriter Regina Spektor; and Sarah Silverman, Danay Suarez, and Gracie Folds.