Established in 2011 and hailed this summer by the Washington Post’s Anne Midgette as “the most genuinely international ensemble I’ve ever heard, apart from the Olympic Games,” Classical Movements’ Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival is an exuberant celebration of choral music from around the world, offering unforgettable, life-changing experience for both singers and audiences alike. Presented free to the public, since its inception, Serenade! has showcased more than 75 choirs from some 30 countries to enthusiastic audiences at prestigious venues throughout the Washington metropolitan area. 

Once again co-presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the 8th annual Serenade! will honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of South African revolutionary, politician and philanthropist, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. From Monday, June 25 to Monday, July 2, 2018, select youth and adult choirs hailing from nations sharing President Mandela’s prized notions of “Hope, Justice and Unity” will perform collaborative concerts and exchange cultures through shared workshops and side-by-side rehearsals with American ensembles, all while participating in community outreach projects across the region. Featuring daily, multi-choral performances on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage—as well as a mass choir finale concert conducted by Scott Tucker, Artistic Director of Washington Choral Arts Society, inside Kennedy Center Concert Hall on July 1—Serenade! choirs will perform additional programs at stunning and historic venues in VirginiaMaryland and the District of Columbia.

Serenade! 2018 Ensembles: 

Back by popular demand, Classical Movements is thrilled to premiere the latest music video from Serenade! staple CountermeasureToronto‘s own premier vocal ensemble. Gorgeously shot on location in both Ontario and Scotland, “Fox in the Field” is a pitch-perfect adaptation of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s beloved novella, by award-winning composer (and recent Schitt’s Creek piano man!) Aaron Jensen.

Having mastered the forbidden-for-women art of Tuvan throat-singing, southern Siberia’s Tyva Kyzy (“Daughters of Tuva”) is literally a one-of-a-kind ensemble—the only all-female group in the Tuva Republic that dares to publicly perform the five main styles of traditional khöömei (“overtone”) song. Under the direction of founder Choduraa Tumat, apropos, the women accompany themselves on a range of folk instruments, such as the chadagan, a beguiling, zither-like instrument of their own making.

Founded in 2012 at the NetherlandsUtrecht Conservatory by Dutch, Icelandic, Russian and English men, Olga—their award-winning a cappella quintet—is decidedly female. Apropos, be it Hildegard von Bingen or even Beyoncé, herself, these five guys named Jonathan, Philip, Pétur, Matt and Arjan (and “Ketill,” their red, cast iron mascot) celebrate 1,000 years of musical feminism with a flawless technique and inclusive enthusiasm that has enraptured audiences of all ages and every gender.

Founded in 1997 by three sisters—Talike, Isabelle and Lara—the name of this singing, dancing and percussion-playing trio from the Androy region of southern Madagascar couldn’t be more apt. Translated from Malagasy, the national language of their homeland, Tiharea means “wealth,” and hearing their virtuosic stylings live and in-person makes for an embarrassment of musical riches, indeed.

8th Annual Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival:
June 25-July 2, 2018

The 2018 Serenade! Festival’s “Mandela at 100: Songs of Hope, Justice and Unity” concludes in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with a grand finale, featuring individual performances from all participating ensembles, as well as two world premieres—Ibn Arabi Suite by Kinan Azmeh, Classical Movements’ Composer-in-Residence, and a brand-new work by Qinisela Sibisi of South Africa—commissioned by our Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program for the entire Serenade! mass choir, conducted by Scott Tucker, Artistic Director of Washington Choral Arts Society.

See All of Our Serenade! in D.C. Ensembles

(Serenade! 2019: July 3-8; Serenade! 2020: July 8-13)

Serenade! Testimonials:

“Absolutely magical…you have created something truly special with the Serenade! Festival.”

Grant Gershon | Artistic Director, Los Angeles Master Chorale

“Laced with precision, care, passion, variety and excitement,
Classical Movements is the go-to company to organize a festival such as Serenade!”

Madras Youth Choir (India)

“The high-class of [Serenade!] is exceptional.”

Philippe Ostiguy | Artistic Director, Les Voix Boréales (Canada)

“With all the many different musical experiences we had,
it is impossible to put into words how amazing Serenade! was.”

Laura Jēkabsone | Latvian Voices

“Serenade! is the best choral event I have ever attended.”

Jim S., audience member

Serenade! Press:

“The most genuinely international ensemble I’ve ever heard, apart from the Olympic Games.”

Anne Midgette, Washington Post

“Bringing together top-tier choirs from a dozen countries in a bid to show music’s universality—
how the joy of singing transcends cultures.”

Agence France Presse, 2017

“A majestic showcase of what can be achieved through collaboration, and a most welcome reminder that
we all have a voice, and that the glory of song can resoundingly reaffirm a
common sense of humanity, the world over.”

Songlines Magazine (U.K.), 2017

“Serenade! will fill this region with a rich diversity of sounds and will promote cultural interaction.”

Tim SmithBaltimore Sun

🎼 Connect with CM!

Interested in more information about our Serenade! Festival?