The History of Classical Movements

1992
1992

Blue Heart Travel Begins

Blue Heart Travel Begins
Neeta Helms and Jacques Vallerand-Parisi found Blue Heart Travel, Inc. on October 18 to coordinate tours to Russia and Ukraine, one year after the Soviet Union falls. An office is opened on Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., and over 3,000 people travel with Blue Heart during its first year.
1993
1993

An Historic Russian Performance with D.C. Choral Arts

An Historic Russian Performance with D.C. Choral Arts
Blue Heart takes the Choral Arts Society of Washington on tour to Russia with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist who had defected back in 1974. Just days before departure, Russia finds itself in the throes of a constitutional crisis, involving deadly protests and the barricading of its Parliament building. Undaunted, choir, orchestra and maestro "Slava" press forward, coming together for a landmark concert in Moscow—the first time anything other than a military parade had occurred on Red Square. In front of an audience of some 100,000, including President Boris Yeltsin, Russia is opened to the Western world, with millions more worldwide watching and listening to the historic live broadcast.
1994
1994

Tours to South Africa, Turkey, Eastern Europe

Tours to South Africa, Turkey, Eastern Europe
With apartheid finally abolished, Blue Heart begins touring to South Africa soon after Nelson Mandela is elected president. New destinations in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Turkey and many Eastern European countries are added, too.
1995
1995

Maiden Voyages in China, Croatia, Vietnam

Maiden Voyages in China, Croatia, Vietnam
Following the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, Blue Heart is one of the first travel companies to add China to its destinations and becomes the very first American company to tour Croatia, after the end of Croat–Bosniak War. As soon as the American flag is raised over the brand-new U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Blue Heart begins touring Vietnam.
1995

Blue Heart = Classical Movements

Blue Heart = Classical Movements
Due to the expansion of instrumental and choral clientele, Classical Movements is incorporated as a division of Blue Heart Travel.
1995

Classical Movements & National Symphony Orchestra

Classical Movements & National Symphony Orchestra
The National Symphony Orchestra engages Classical Movements to operate a two-week U.S. tour for their 1997 season. The company’s first professional orchestra client, it’s the start of long relationship—30 tours and counting.
1996
1996

Touring Cuba and the Middle East

Touring Cuba and the Middle East
Classical Movements begins running tours to Cuba, as well as several countries in the Middle East, including Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Israel.
1997
1997

More Destinations, More Tours

More Destinations, More Tours
Numerous other countries are added across three continents: South America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay); West Africa (Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Gambia); East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Morocco, Egypt); South Asia (Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia).
1998
1998

In The Arena With Pittsburgh, Bocelli

In The Arena With Pittsburgh, Bocelli
Classical Movements’ first road trip with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is a true blockbuster, featuring superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli selling out America’s biggest sporting complexes like Madison Square Garden and the United Center on his “Opera for the Masses” tour.
1999
1999

PSO On The Festival Circuit

PSO On The Festival Circuit
Summering with the Pittsburgh Symphony and maestro Mariss Jansons, Classical Movements takes the stage at four of the biggest, most prestigious international music festivals: Proms, Edinburgh, Salzburg and Lucerne.
2000
2000

Classical Movements, Now in 80 Countries

Classical Movements, Now in 80 Countries
By the turn of the century, operating solely as Classical Movements, the company is working in more than 80 countries. In addition to Choral Arts Society of Washington and National Symphony, our client list includes: New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, Mendelssohn Club of Pittsburgh, Choir of the College of William and Mary and VocalEssence.
2001
2001

September 11th

September 11th
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Classical Movements has the entire New York Philharmonic flying home from Germany. For four long days, all flights in and out of the United States are grounded. Undeterred, CM has the NYPO and music director Kurt Masur on the first flight home, out of Frankfurt, on September 15. Immediately following the terror attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, the company has to quickly retool both travel and performance arrangements for three major clients: Boston Symphony, National Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
2001

Plácido Domingo, YOA Debut

Plácido Domingo, YOA Debut
Classical Movements helps plan and launch the inaugural YOA Orchestra of the Americas tour—Plácido Domingo’s pioneering, Latin Grammy-winning orchestra of brilliant youths from the entire Western Hemisphere.
2002
2002

Rhapsody! Children’s Music Festival in Europe

Rhapsody! Children’s Music Festival in Europe
Classical Movements launches its first festival, the Rhapsody! Children’s Music Festival, in Vienna, Salzburg and Prague.
2003
2003

New Office in Old Town

New Office in Old Town
Classical Movements buys a building on Cameron Street, dated back to 1850, and moves its headquarters to Alexandria, Virginia’s historic Old Town neighborhood.
2003

Iraq Comes to Washington

Iraq Comes to Washington
The U.S. Department of State and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts invite the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra to perform in Washington, alongside Leonard Slatkin's National Symphony Orchestra. With six weeks' notice, and anti-aircraft missiles still lighting the sky, flying the ensemble out of Baghdad proves difficult for CM. Moreover, many of the Iraqi musicians do not have basic travel documents; visas have to be issued in a country with no government. Military aircraft fly the INSO to Jordan, and the ensemble lands in D.C. during a major blizzard.
2004
2004

One. Hundred.

One. Hundred.
With the addition of several new nations and venues throughout Latin America, Classical Movements’ destinations list crosses over the century mark—100 countries.
2005
2005

Announcing the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program

Announcing the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program
Classical Movements establishes the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program to commission works from both American and international composers—more than 50 compositions thus far—such as John Corigliano, Joan Tower, Christopher Rouse, Stephen Paulus, Michael Gordon and Caroline Shaw, as well as Paquito D'Riviera, Tania León, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Piret Rips-Laul, Mokale Koapeng and Oscar Escalada, the program’s inaugural composer.
2006
2006

Melodía! South African Music Festival

Melodía! South African Music Festival
Classical Movements launches its Melodía! South American Music Festival.
2007
2007

Gustavo Dudamel, Simón Bolívar Debut

Gustavo Dudamel, Simón Bolívar Debut
Askonas Holt invites Classical Movements to organize the first American tour by Venezuela's Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, conducted by a 27-year-old Gustavo Dudamel. Venues include the charismatic leader's eventual home: Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, California.
2008
2008

Neeta Takes the “Helm”

Neeta Takes the “Helm”
Neeta Helms, Classical Movements’ founder, takes over as president and primary owner.
2009
2009

YouTube Symphony Orchestra Goes Live

YouTube Symphony Orchestra Goes Live
Google and 21C Media contract out all travel and logistics to Classical Movements for the debut of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, where e-musicians from across the globe perform live at Carnegie Hall. Google—still CM’s only for-profit client—pays for a reprise, two years later, at the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
2009

Ihlombe! South African Choral Festival

Ihlombe! South African Choral Festival
Classical Movements launches the Ihlombe! South African Choral Festival with Morgan State University Choir and Pacific Boychoir among the initial participants.
2010
2010

Cuban-American 4th of July

Cuban-American 4th of July
In Havana, on July 4, Classical Movements arranges the first joint concert for Cuban and American choirs, including the largest group ever to receive a proper license from the U.S. Treasury Department: the 210-member Yale Alumni Chorus.
2011
2011

Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival

Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival
Classical Movements launches its hometown festival, the Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival, with a host of concerts throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
2011

Yale, Juilliard, Michigan Visit Myanmar

Yale, Juilliard, Michigan Visit Myanmar
After an optimistic announcement by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi and an historic visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Classical Movements begins working in Myanmar (formerly Burma) with a major tour by Yale Schola Cantorum, the Masaaki Suzuki-led Juilliard415 and alumni from the University of Michigan.
2012
2012

Two Decades Touring, 20 World Premieres

Two Decades Touring, 20 World Premieres
Classical Movements celebrates 20 years of business and the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program’s 20th commission: Bright Sheng’s A Porter’s Song, written for and performed by longtime clients Yale Glee Club.
2013
2013

Mandela Memorial in D.C.

Mandela Memorial in D.C.
South African Ambassador to the U.S., Ebrahim Rasool, invites original Ihlombe! participants Morgan State University Choir and Pacific Boychoir to perform at the official United States memorial service for Nelson Mandela at Washington National Cathedral. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, ambassadors, foreign dignitaries and celebrities are in attendance.
2014
2014

Awarded by Americans for the Arts

Awarded by Americans for the Arts
Americans for the Arts, the United States’ leading arts advocacy organization, awards Classical Movements the BCA10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America. Previous winners include American Airlines, Bank of America, Boeing, Disney, Hallmark, Macy’s and Microsoft.
2014

“Raise It Up!” for America

“Raise It Up!” for America
Classical Movements, Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, Chorus America and the United States Air Force Band collaborate on the “Raise It Up! Anthem for America” concert, an exciting group-sing on the National Mall celebrating the bicentennial of "The Star-Spangled Banner," featuring guest conductors Francisco Núñez and Eric Whitacre.
2014

New (Even Older) Home

New (Even Older) Home
Classical Movements purchases and moves into a 230-year-old home at 711 Princess Street—the rectory for the famed Christ Church in Alexandria (the same church attended by George Washington and Robert E. Lee).
2015
2015

An Historic Cuban Tour for the Minnesota Orchestra

An Historic Cuban Tour for the Minnesota Orchestra
With just 110 days’ notice, Classical Movements produces a tour to Cuba for the Minnesota Orchestra. Leveraging its well-established ties to bypass decades of consular stalemate, the tour is a triumph, including two performances at the Teatro Nacional on Plaza de la Revolución, which were broadcast live around the world—a substantial achievement, itself. CM ensures the safe passage of musicians, instruments and even a special acoustic shell for the concert hall—all into a country with no official diplomatic ties to the United States.
2015

Prague Summer Nights: Young Artists Music Festival

Prague Summer Nights: Young Artists Music Festival
Classical Movements launches Prague Summer Nights: Young Artists Music Festival, a month-long opera and orchestral training program for conservatory-age students, in the Czech Republic. Making his directorial debut, legendary baritone Sherrill Milnes and his wife, Maria Zouves, serve as stage directors for a production of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the grand Estates Theatre.
2016
2016

India Choral Fellowship

India Choral Fellowship
Seeking to stimulate the growth and foster the development of India’s own distinctive choral traditions—alongside the burgeoning influence of Western classical music in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai—Classical Movements establishes the India Choral Fellowship, naming Grammy-winning singer, conductor and pedagogue Kevin Fox as its inaugural recipient.
2017
2017

Serenade! Celebrates JFK and the Peace Corps

Serenade! Celebrates JFK and the Peace Corps
Marking the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy by celebrating one of his most enduring initiatives, the Peace Corps, Classical Movements and Kennedy Center co-present the largest and most diverse Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival to date—16 choirs from 12 countries premiering 11 new compositions on 14 concerts over 7 days—all inspired by JFK’s treasured ideals of justice, freedom, courage, service and gratitude.
2017

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Female Composers

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Female Composers
Of the 11 brand-new works the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program commissions (for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Children’s Chorus of Washington, respectively), 65% are written by female composers, including American Composers Forum co-founder Libby Larsen, the youngest musical Pulitzer recipient Caroline Shaw and the multi-Grammy-winning Joan Tower, penning her sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman.

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