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Friends of Music at Dumbarton Oaks

Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss designed Dumbarton Oaks to be beautiful without and within, filling the gardens with flowers, the library with rare volumes, and the house itself with fine art and music. The Blisses enjoyed many performances in the the Music Room, most notably a chamber concerto by Igor Stravinsky, which was commissioned to celebrate their thirtieth wedding anniversary in 1938. Friends of Music continues this tradition with classical concerts from established and rising musicians.

Performances take place Sundays at 7:00 p.m. and Mondays at 8:00 p.m. Admission is available by subscription only. The cost of a subscription of all seven concerts is $350. When additional seats are available, admission ($54 per person) can be arranged on the Friday before the concert. If you wish to subscribe to the Friends of Music, or for more information, please contact or call 202-339-6436. See below for more information.

For more information about performances from past Friends of Music concert seasons, see the Dumbarton Oaks Annual Reports.

For information about performing at Dumbarton Oaks, or to be considered for the series, please contact Valerie Stains, artistic director.

2016–2017 Concert Series

Please note: The first three concerts (fall 2016) will take place in the Oak Room of the Fellowship House, 1700 Wisconsin Avenue NW. The last four concerts (winter/spring 2017) will return to the Music Room in the Dumbarton Oaks Museum, 1703 32nd Street NW.

Henschel Quartett

October 23 & 24, 2016

Oak Room, Fellowship House, 1700 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Photo: Marco Borggreve. Copyright Henschel Quartett

A Los Angeles Times review called the Henschel Quartett “one of the best groups in the world. . . . I don’t know of any string quartet as capable as this one of reaching the opposite extremes of blunt muscle and airiness,” and the New York Times has described the quartet as “transfixing.” This prizewinning German ensemble opens the season with string quartets by Haydn, Beethoven, and Christopher Theofanidis.

Italian Saxophone Quartet

November 13 & 14, 2016

Oak Room, Fellowship House, 1700 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Italian Saxophone Quartet

For more than thirty years, this dynamic ensemble of virtuoso musicians has continued to receive critical acclaim wherever it performs, from the concert halls of Europe and Russia to major venues in the United States. The ISQ makes its Washington, D.C., debut at Dumbarton Oaks with music by Bach, Mozart, Françaix, Piazzolla, Rota, and Nyman.

December 4 & 5, 2016

Oak Room, Fellowship House, 1700 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Three Notch'd Road
Photo: Malcolm Hughes

The period-instrument ensemble presents Bach’s American Christmas, a sampling of the seasonal music that Johann Sebastian Bach might have heard had he settled in Virginia around 1710. The diverse program includes early American and “imported” music from Europe and the British Isles, along with both secular and sacred works by Bach himself.

Pedja Muzijevic

January 22 & 23, 2017

Music Room, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, 1703 32nd Street NW

Pedja Muzijevic

Hailed by critics as a “thinking” musician with engaging stage presence and a gratifying combination of virtuosity and eloquence, pianist Pedja Muzijevic has defined his career with creative programming, unusual combinations of new and old music, and lasting collaborations with other artists and ensembles. He will play works by Scarlatti, Liszt, Wagner, W. F. Bach, and Schumann, as well as selections for prepared piano by John Cage.

Ljova and the Kontraband, with Johnny Gandelsman and Kinan Azmeh

February 12 & 13, 2017

Music Room, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, 1703 32nd Street NW

Ljova and the Contraband
Photo: Allan Tannenbaum

Praised by the New York Times as “dizzyingly versatile” and “an eclectic, with an ear for texture . . . strikingly original and soulful,” the Juilliard-trained violist Ljova divides his time between composing and arranging for film and the concert stage, and leading his ensemble, the Kontraband. In its Dumbarton Oaks debut, the Kontraband will be joined by Silk Road artists Johnny Gandelsman, violinist, and Kinan Azmeh, clarinetist, in performances of traditional and original works by Ljova and Azmeh.

Tempest Trio

March 12 & 13, 2017

Music Room, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, 1703 32nd Street NW

Tempest Trio has called the Tempest Trio “breathtaking—an exciting blend of experience and youthful energy.” The trio, composed of cellist Amit Peled, violinist Ilya Kaler, and pianist Alon Goldstein, made its Washington, D.C., debut at Dumbarton Oaks in 2014 and returns to the Music Room this season with trios by Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Dvořák.

April 2 & 3, 2017

Music Room, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, 1703 32nd Street NW


The international quartet of flute, violin, cello, and guitar offers a toe-tapping mix of Spanish, Sephardic, Balkan, and classical music. The four award-winning, globe-trotting virtuosi have played, separately and together, on the world’s most prestigious stages. Fandango’s Washington, D.C., debut includes works by Haydn, Granados, Falla, and Boccherini, as well as the D.C. premieres of Sephardic-based works by Alan Thomas and Carlos Rivera.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to exchange my tickets to a different night?

We do our best to accommodate ticket exchanges whenever possible. Requests for ticket exchanges should be addressed to the Friends of Music office ( or 202-339-6436). Subscribers who wish to change their ticket will be put on a waiting list. We will contact you to confirm your exchange.

How do I purchase an extra ticket for a guest?

When available, individual tickets can be purchased for $54/person by contacting the Friends of Music office. We are able to offer only a very limited number of seats to non-subscribers. If tickets are not available when you contact us, we will put your name on a waiting list and contact you no later than the Friday before the concert.

If I cannot attend a concert, may I offer my ticket to someone else?

Yes, you can offer your tickets to someone else. Please contact the Friends of Music office no later than Friday before a concert with the name of the person(s) who will be using your ticket for our subscription admittance list.

If your tickets will not be used, and to better accommodate ticket exchanges, we request that you kindly contact our office to let us know.

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