Spring Arts Guide 2013

Anne Sofie Von Otter March 7-9 at The Kennedy Center

D.C.’s classical fans probably rolled their eyes when the Kennedy Center unveiled the name of its annual international music festival for 2013: “Nordic Cool.” (Hey, at least it’s more inspired than last year’s “Music of Budapest, Prague, and Vienna.”) But its heart is in the right place. Besides the late Jean Sibelius and his corroded liver, Scandinavian composers don’t get much notice. The National Symphony sought to correct that in 2010, bringing Susanna Mälkki to conduct a piece by fellow Finn Mangus Lindberg. This year, Nordic Cool plans to extend the spotlight to Finland and Lindberg, with violinist Pekka Kuusisto on Feb. 28, guitarist Olli Hirvonen on Feb. 22, and Tango-orkesteri Unto on Feb. 20. Denmark will get a chance to shine, too, with jazz singer Caroline Henderson on March 7 and Trio con Brio Copenhagen on March 13, along with performers from Norway, Iceland, and even Greenland (Nanook, March 7). Sweden, though, gets top billing, beginning with the festival opener by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic on Feb. 19 and continuing with vocalist Anne Sofie von Otter. The mezzo-soprano is known for cultivating a broad repertory, though here she sticks to Schubert’s Lieder and Mozart’s Requiem: neither Nordic nor particularly cool, but proven vehicles for her talents. 7 p.m. $45.

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