Albany Symphony is one of four American orchestras selected to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and showcase recent works by Tower, Daugherty, Torke and more.

Albany, NY -  The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Washington Performing Arts has announced that the Albany Symphony has been selected to participate in the second Annual SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras, taking place at the Kennedy Center and other locations around Washington D.C. from April 9-15, 2018.

SHIFT shines a weeklong spotlight on North American orchestras of all sizes, and celebrates their vitality, identity, and extraordinary artistry by creating an immersive festival experience in the nation’s capital.

The Albany Symphony is one of four orchestras chosen from a pool of applicants from across the country- each of which will offer a Kennedy Center Concert Hall performance and a city-wide residency. For their Kennedy Center debut on April 11, 2018, the Albany Symphony will feature tuba soloist Carol Jantsch and pianist Joyce Yang on a program of works by Joan Tower, Michael Daugherty, Dorothy Chang and Michael Torke.

As part of the SHIFT Festival residency, the Albany Symphony’s 16-member new music ensemble, Dogs of Desire, will collaborate with Theo Bleckmann and the six composers of Sleeping Giant on a full-evening “lieder-abend,” and bring its treasured composer residency program to D.C. area middle schools.

Co-Presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Washington Performing Arts, the festival’s title, SHIFT, recognizes the dynamic, evolving work of orchestras in the 21st century and expresses a commitment to shifting pre-conceived notions about orchestras.  

In announcing the Albany Symphony’s selection, David Alan Miller commented: “The Albany Symphony and I are deeply honored to represent the Capital Region in the nation’s capital at the 2018 SHIFT Festival. We are particularly excited to have the opportunity to showcase not only the unique programming of the full orchestra, but also our one-of-a-kind new music ensemble, “Dogs of Desire,” and our very special community outreach and engagement activities.  We hope all of our Capital Region friends will journey with us to the Festival to celebrate our community, its uniqueness, and the rivers that surround and connect us to each other and to the larger world.”

The festival’s presence in Washington also provides an opportunity for orchestras to interact with elected representatives in order to educate members of Congress about the value of the arts and orchestras in particular. The League of American Orchestras will partner with SHIFT to facilitate engagements on Capitol Hill and conversations about the impact and value that the arts and orchestras can provide to their communities. 

Generous support of SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras is provided through a matching grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support is provided by Daniel R. Lewis.

April 11, 2018, at 8 p.m., Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Albany Symphony

“The River Flows Through Us”

David Alan Miller, conductor

Joyce Yang, piano

Carol Jantsch, tuba


JOAN TOWER                               Still/Rapids

                                                      Joyce Yang, piano


MICHAEL DAUGHERTY              Reflections on the Mississippi, Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra

                                                     Carol Jantsch, tuba

DOROTHY CHANG                      The Grand Erie Canal

                                                      with local D.C. public school choruses

MICHAEL TORKE                          Three Manhattan Bridges

                                                       Joyce Yang, piano

The program explores the history of upstate New York through the lens of bodies of water that surround and connect communities. Three of the featured works were commissioned and premiered by the Albany Symphony: Michael Torke’s major new work for piano and orchestra, Three Manhattan Bridges, an homage to Torke’s adopted city, its diversity and multicultural richness; Joan Tower’s Still/Rapids, a reworking of her earlier meditation on water, Rapids, into a full piano concerto (Tower turns 80 in 2018); and Dorothy Chang’s delightful mini-oratorio for children’s chorus and orchestra, The Grand Erie Canal. Chang’s homage to the building of the Erie Canal, for fifth-grade chorus and orchestra, grew out of an extensive arts-in-education school program she created as part of an Albany Symphony residency.

About The Albany Symphony:

The Albany Symphony is one of this region’s most revered music and cultural institutions, having won numerous national awards for its adventurous concert programming, recording projects, composer residencies, and innovative educational efforts involving area schools. 

The Albany Symphony’s season, which spans nine months from October through June, features timeless masterpieces, brilliant soloists, thrilling new compositions, and holiday and family programming. The trailblazing American Music Festival caps each season with a full week of dynamic new works by some of today’s best composers. As the only professional orchestra based in the Capital Region, the Albany Symphony enriches a broad and diverse community and engages more than 150,000 people each year throughout the area.

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About David Alan Miller:

Grammy® Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller has established a reputation as one of the leading American conductors of his generation. Music Director of the Albany Symphony since 1992, Mr. Miller has proven himself a creative and compelling orchestra builder. Through exploration of unusual repertoire, educational programming, community outreach and recording initiatives, he has reaffirmed the Albany Symphony’s reputation as the nation’s leading champion of American symphonic music and one of its most innovative orchestras.

A native of Los Angeles, David Alan Miller holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School. Prior to his appointment in Albany, Mr. Miller was Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. From 1982 to 1988, he was Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony, earning considerable acclaim for his work with that ensemble. Mr. Miller lives with his wife and three children in Slingerlands, New York.

About The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is America’s living memorial to President Kennedy. Under the leadership of Chairman David M. Rubenstein and President Deborah F. Rutter, the nine theaters and stages of the nation’s busiest performing arts facility attract audiences and visitors totaling 3 million people annually; Center-related touring productions, television, and radio broadcasts welcome 40 million more.

Opening its doors on September 8, 1971, the Center presents the greatest performances of music, dance, and theater; supports artists in the creation of new work; and serves the nation as a leader in arts education. With its artistic affiliates, the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, the Center’s achievements as a commissioner, producer, and nurturer of developing artists have resulted in more than 300 theatrical productions and dozens of new ballets, operas, and musical works.

Each year, millions of people nationwide take part in innovative, inclusive, and effective education programs initiated by the Center, including school- and community-based residencies and consultancies; age-appropriate performances and events for young people; career development for young actors, dancers, singers, and instrumentalists; and professional learning opportunities for teachers, teaching artists, and school administrators. These programs have become models for communities across the country. The Center’s Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child program works with selected local school districts and seeks to provide a comprehensive arts education to children K-8. The Center also has been at the forefront of making the performing arts accessible to persons with disabilities, highlighted by the work accomplished with its affiliate, VSA.

As part of the Kennedy Center’s Performing Arts for Everyone outreach program, the Center stages more than 400 free performances of music, dance, and theater by artists from throughout the world each year on the Center’s main stages, and every evening at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage. The Rubenstein Arts Access Program expands the Center’s efforts to make the arts accessible to children, young adults, and to people who have little or limited ability to attend and enjoy the performing arts, enabling audiences to engage in more ways, at more times, and in more places than ever before.

About Washington Performing Arts

Since 1965, Washington Performing Arts has had a foundational role in the arts in our nation’s capital, creating profound opportunities that connect community and artists, in both education and performance. Through live events in nine venues that span the D.C. metropolitan area, the careers of emerging artists are launched and nurtured, and established artists return to develop closer relationships with Washington Performing Arts audiences and creative partners.

As one of the leading presenters in the nation, Washington Performing Arts embraces a broad spectrum of the performing arts, including classical music, jazz, gospel, contemporary dance and music, international music and art forms, and new work.  Dynamic education programs in the public schools and beyond are hallmarks of Washington Performing Arts, as are the Embassy Adoption Program and two resident gospel choirs.

Washington Performing Arts has been honored for its work at the intersection of arts presenting and education. The organization has received Mayor's Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2015) and Excellence in Service to the Arts (2012) and was honored by President Barack Obama with a 2012 National Medal of Arts (becoming only the fourth D.C.-based arts group and the first arts presenter of its kind to be so honored).

Funding Credits

Generous support of SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras is provided through a matching grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support is provided by Daniel R. Lewis.

SHIFT Collaborators

SHIFT is presented in cooperation with the League of American Orchestras.

Social Media

Use #SHIFTmusic for social media related to SHIFT.

For media inquiries, contact:

Justin Cook

Albany Symphony

Marketing & Patron Services Manager

(518) 465-4755 x141


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