MOVING FORWARD:  The National Chamber Ensemble is set to launch its new season with a combination of virtual and live musical experiences.

by Patrick D. McCoy

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly put a damper on so many musical performances and arts venues around the world.  In spite of that, organizations are still finding ways to bring meaningful musical experience to their audiences.  One of those ways that the National Chamber Ensemble is meeting the needs and concerts of their patrons is by offering the choice of virtual concerts or the option of attending a live performance where possible.  For the 2020-2021 season themed “European Vacation” whether virtual or in person, the audience will experience exciting repertoire.  Since international travel is also at a stand still for the most part, listeners will travel internationally with music being the mode of travel.  We caught up briefly with founder, artistic director and concert violinist Leonid Sushansky about presenting a

(Leo Sushansky is the Founder and Artistic Director of the National Chamber Ensemble. PHOTO CREDIT-Michael Ventura) concert season during this time.

“I am so inspired by my colleagues who are working hard to keep the performing arts going despite the pandemic. We are heading into a very challenging year artistically but also a very rewarding one as we find new ways to communicate. Our job is to lift peoples spirits with great music and I am so proud to work with wonderful artists who are passionate about bringing that music to life!” Sushansky stated.

Concert 1: Beethoven in Vienna
Saturday, October 17, 2020

The NCE 14th season opens with “Beethoven In Vienna” in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The program features the chamber music favorites of the musical master who bridged the Classical and Romantic periods. Leo Sushansky and piano virtuoso Carlos Cesar Rodriguez perform in this concert.
Romance No.1 in G Major Op.40
Sonata No. 5 in F Major, Op 24. “Spring Sonata”.
Sonata No. 7 in C Minor Op.30
Sonata No.8 in G Major Op.30
NOTE:  Location: Expected to be a Virtual Performance

Concert 2:  NCE Holiday Celebration
Saturday, December 12, 2020


NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival” in a setting by Daniel Leavitt. Outstanding Young Artist Award competition winners will join the ensemble to perform. A Carols Sing-Along, concludes the program to get everyone in the holiday spirit.



NOTE:  Location: Expected to be a Virtual Performance

Concert 3: A Russian Valentine
Saturday, February 13, 2021

February’s Russian Valentine concert highlights the great romantic music of Russia, including Borodin’s String Quartet No.2, featuring some of the most lush and famous melodies of all Russian music, Tchaikovsky’s Overture Fantasy “Romeo and Juliet” as well as his popular Serenade For Strings.
NOTE:  Location: Gunston Arts Center – Theatre 1 (if live event is possible)
Concert 4: Hungarian Delicacies
Saturday, March 20, 2021
March will be a feast of “Hungarian Delicacies”, featuring the music of Hungary”s famous sons: Bela Bartok, Ernst von Dohnanyi and Franz Liszt and more. This program will also present a new collaboration and premiere with the Bowen McCauley Dance Company.
NOTE:  Location: Gunston Arts Center – Theatre 1 (if live event is possible)
Concert 5: The Remarkable Four Seasons of Vivaldi
Saturday, May 22, 2021
For the Season Finale NCE will travel to Italy and wow the audience with its creative revival of Antonio Vivaldi’s extraordinary Four Seasons; featuring humorous demonstrations, spectacular multimedia and reading of the sonnets. Experience the “Seasons” like never before. Uncover the story of the most popular composition of Antonio Vivaldi through words, images and music simultaneously.
NOTE:  Location: Gunston Arts Center – Theatre 1 (if live event is possible)
Season subscriptions can be purchased priced at $129 for all 5 NCE performances now. Individual general admission tickets are $36 for adults and $18 for students and will go on sale in September. Tickets are available online at


A native of Petersburg, VA, Patrick holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Virginia State University and a MM in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory. Formerly the Performing Arts Columnist for Washington Life Magazine, he currently is a freelance writer, publishing articles for several noted publications, including The Washington Post, Early Music America Classical Music Voice North America, The Afro-American Newspaper, CBS Washington and He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., The American Choral Directors’ Association, a member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Zion Parish in Beltsville, MD and serves on the music faculty of Virginia State University where he teaches applied voice, music appreciation and assist with the University Concert Choir. Visit