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The Maestro Mouse does Miranda's Waltz

Posted on May 19,2009
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,

Maestro Mouse was written, illustrated and
conceptualized by Alexandria-based authors
Cheryl and Peter Barnes.

The National Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Sarah Hatsuko Hicks will give the world premiere of Miranda and Maestro Mouse: Miranda's Waltz, during the Family Concerts on May 31, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the Concert Hall.  Maestro Mouse was written, illustrated and conceptualized by Alexandria-based authors Cheryl and Peter Barnes.
Created by Susan Kander and librettist Mary Hall Surface, the NSO commissioned work features a little girl, Miranda, who discovers the enriching and liberating power of music.  The program will also include musical selections by Glinka, Prokofiev, Ives, and Ludwig, and other activities, including the Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo,” will be on offer.
Miranda, played by Meghan Grady, is a shy little girl, befriended by someone smaller than she is – a little brown mouse.  The mouse uses their friendship to introduce Miranda to the world of music, in Kander’s words, “to open her ears and her mind to …the larger world around her, because that’s what music does for me every day.”

Previous NSO Commissions for Families include David Del Tredici’s Rip Van Winkle, with a text by Ray Warman based on the tale by Washington Irving, was premiered in 2005, during the NSO’s 75th season, with Brian Stokes Mitchell as narrator.
In 2006, as part of Shakespeare in Washington, the NSO premiered Daniel Kellogg’s Pyramus and Thisbe, with John Lithgow as narrator, Pyramus, Thisbe, Lion, Wall, and even Moon.

Maestro Mouse shows off his book.

In 2008, Michael Daugherty’s TROYJAM, with a libretto by Ann Carson, re-told the Trojan War with a much happier ending, as the Greeks and Trojans sat down and had a jam session, instead of fighting to the death.  Mike Rowe, of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, narrated.   

Susan Kander’s vivid ability to tell a story through music was previously seen in DC at the premiere in 2007 of another family-oriented work:  The Donkey, the Goat, and the Little Dog, commissioned for the Kennedy String Quartet, all of whom are NSO members.

An hour before each NSO Family Concert, young concertgoers will have the opportunity to see and hold the kinds of instruments they'll see played on the stage – from violins, trumpets, and oboes to trombones and percussion – in the Kennedy Center Atrium.  The Musical Instrument "Petting Zoo" is a project of the Women's Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra.

Authors Cheryl and Peter Barnes will sign copies of their book, Maestro Mouse and the Mystery of the Missing Baton in the Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer outside the Concert Hall at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.

At both locations look for Maestro Mouse, as he saunters by to see that everyone is having a good time.  After the 3 p.m. concert, audiences are invited to stay for “Kids’ Chat,” a free post-concert discussion in children can ask questions and hear engaging stories from the concert artists.

Washington Gas is the principal sponsor of the NSO Family Concerts.  In addition, the NSO Family Concerts are supported through a generous endowment from the Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation.

For more information, visit the Kennedy Center website at

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