Best Concert Series

Best: The Kennedy Center
2700 F St. NW, (202) 467-4600
2nd Best: The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE, (202) 707-5000
The Kennedy Center is damn near impossible to beat for presentation of classical, opera, jazz, and world music 365 days a year. But the Library of Congress runs a close second. Although its season is a mere nine months, and it doesn’t have the capacity for grand symphony and opera productions, the library’s 511-seat Coolidge Auditorium is one of the world’s premier concert halls for chamber music. The hall itself is renowned for its acoustic design and its storied history (Alan Lomax’s “Library of Congress Recordings” of Woody Guthrie and Jelly Roll Morton, among others, were recorded there), and for 84 years it has hosted string quartets and Baroque consorts; singers in solos, duets, and chorales; small jazz ensembles; and performers of traditional music from the United States and dozens of other countries. The library even commissions new work from artists to be premiered in Washington. And the best part is that the performances, premiere or not, are free—top that, every place but the Kennedy Center!