Arts Desk

Weekend Picks: National Symphony Orchestra, United States Marine Band

Saturday:

One way of looking at the programming of the National Symphony Orchestra’s outdoor weekend concerts is that the orchestra is still hewing to the safest works of American composers, despite the imminent departure of its music director, Leonard Slatkin. Another is that this is a nice night out at Carter Barron, and it’s best to just chill on the angry Second Viennese School dude act. Tonight’s program, “Music From the Americas,” might not pack a lot of surprises, but it’s hard to imagine a better setting for Copland’s El Salón México, Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, or the last movement of Grofé’s Mississippi Suite (which found second life as the Sinatra song “Daybreak”) than a warm summer evening under the stars. Dvorák’s From the New World will close the program—just try to keep that piece off the bill. Or, you know, chill. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 4850 Colorado Ave. NW. Free. (202) 416-8113. —Andrew Beaujon

Sunday:

The United States Marine Band is, as the trademark slogan puts it, “the President’s Own”—on hand and ready to march, should the president ever wish to play the Kansas State fight song for visiting foreign dignitaries. John Williams is Hollywood’s go-to guy for musical hyperbole, having composed the scores for Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars. One would expect a meeting of the two would be a patriotic explosion of Jerry Bruckheimer proportions. Sunday’s program will feature Williams’ well-loved compositions that graced both classic and not-so-classic (1941) films, as well as Superman, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the Harry Potter flicks; scenes from those movies will be projected onto a screen while Williams conducts the nation’s oldest professional band. The performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. Free. (202) 433-5809. —Mike Paarlberg

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