The Thirteen's 2019-2020 



Through the Looking -Glass


The Thirteen’s 2019-2020 season, Through the Looking-Glass,  marks a continuation of our commitment to life-affirming performances, music-making at its finest, and our determination that the music we make must be relevant to the society in which we live. This year's season draws inspiration from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, in which the protagonist climbs through a mirror and enters a fantastical world with new perspectives. Likewise, each subscription concert reflects compelling concepts and spectacular compositions full of new perspectives.  

I am delighted to announce that our subscription series offers each program in three places: downtown Washington, Bethesda, and now Alexandria. These concerts feature musicians from around the country and a millennium of music from Monteverdi to Shaw, Hildegard to Britten. 

I am also thrilled that we have commissioned the acclaimed Philadelphia composer, Scott Ordway. He is hard at work on a concert-length opera titled The Outer Edge of Youth for The Thirteen. Described as "exquisite" by The New York Times and "a marvel" by Philadelphia Inquirer, Scott's compositional style has enchanted me and I can't wait to premier this work in May. 

I look forward to seeing you and your friends through the looking-glass at our concerts!


Matthew Robertson

Artistic Director

Download our 2019-2020 season brochure

Tallis Through the Looking-Glass

Friday, October 25, 2019 | 7:30 pm Virginia Theological Seminary | Immanuel Chapel

Saturday, October 26, 2019 | 7:30 pm Church of the Epiphany

Sunday, October 27, 2019 | 5:00 pm Bradley Hills Church

Join The Thirteen for an exploration of our most beloved English-language composers. Featuring Tallis' symphonic-in-scope Gaude gloriosa Dei mater, Britten's touching and powerful Hymn to St. Cecilia, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw's Fly Away I, selected repertoire from distinctly-American Sacred Harp repertoire and more, this concert promises to be a display of virtuosity and artistry. 

Monteverdi: The Lost Vespers (1641)

Friday, November 15, 2019 | 7:30pm Episcopal High School Chapel

Saturday, November 16, 2019 | 7:30pm Live at 10th & G

Sunday, November 17, 2019 | 5:00pm Bradley Hills Church 

Much as J.S. Bach was to do a century later in his B Minor Mass, Monteverdi assembled many mature compositions toward the end of his life into one massive volume, Selva morale e spirituale — the moral and spiritual wood. Hidden in plain sight within this monumental volume is a “Vespers of 1641" that The Thirteen has assembled with the well-loved motet Beatus vir at its core. Unlike Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, which sees performances yearly in nearly every major metropolitan area, the gems in Selva morale et spirituale are virtually unknown; and yet, they rival his earlier composition in virtuosity, invention, and beauty.

Silent Night, Starry Night

Friday, December 20, 2019| 7:30 pm Episcopal High School Chapel

Saturday, December 21, 2019 | 7:30pm Live at 10th & G

Sunday, December 22, 2019 | 5:00pm Bradley Hills Church

This holiday season accompany The Thirteen’s song-filled journey through the cosmos and the Christmas story. Featuring your favorite holiday carols, The Thirteen’sown arrangement of Silent Night, and contemporary composer Kile Smith’s driving and touching The Consolation of Apollo, this concert can’t be missed! Hailed as “ecstatically beautiful,” The Consolation of Apollo pairs the words of the Apollo 8 astronauts on Christmas Eve 1968 with the writings of the Roman philosopher Boethius for a fantastical take on the Christmas story. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, this performance will be accompanied by projected images from NASA’s Hubble telescope.


Friday, March 6, 2020 | 7:30 pm Virginia Theological Seminary | Immanuel Chapel

Saturday, March 7, 2020 | 7:30pm Live at 10th & G

Sunday, March 8, 2020 | 5:00pm Bradley Hills Church

Join The Thirteen as we explore humanity’s search for the divine across time and space. With nearly a millennium of music, featuring the German composer Hildegard von Bingen, Spanish composers Victoria and Lobo, Estonian minimalist Arvo Pärt, and contemporary American composer Mason Bates, this concert is sure to provide a sublime, reflective, and passionate evening.

The Outer Edge of Youth

Friday, May 1, 2020 | 7:30 pm Virginia Theological Seminary | Immanuel Chapel

Saturday, May 2, 2020 | 7:30pm Live at 10th & G

Sunday, May 3, 2020 | 5:00pm Bradley Hills Church

The Outer Edge of Youth is a major, semi-staged, new choral opera from acclaimed composer-writer-director Scott Ordway commissioned by The Thirteen. Called “exquisite” and “a marvel” by critics, even “an American response to Sibelius” (The Boston Globe), the composer has conceived a look at how boys and young men interact with one another and toward the natural world. Finding inspiration in the natural world and in the story of St. Francis talking to the birds, Ordway’s conceptbends the boundaries between opera and choral music to riveting effect. His dreamlike work promises a celebration of friendship, youth, landscape and memory, and of connections with people we love, places we feel at home, and the living earth surrounding us all.

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© 2017 The Thirteen