Sasha Cooke and the NSO perform "Passage" by Mason Bates
A world premiere work from Mason Bates unites the iconic American voices of President John F. Kennedy and poet Walt Whitman in this concert celebration of JFK's monumental legacy. Led by conductor Joshua Weilerstein in his National Symphony Orchestra debut, this concert celebration of John F. Kennedy's monumental legacy features a world premiere from Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates. Passage examines the theme of American exploration through the visionary words of Walt Whitman and John F. Kennedy. Composed for renowned mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and the NSO, the work imaginatively sets Whitman's "Passage to India" alongside recorded fragments of JFK's moonshot speech. Two iconic American voices—that of poet and President—come together on a journey to the ever-expanding human frontier. This event is part of JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy, inspired by five enduring ideals often ascribed to JFK: Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude. Learn more about this event's connection to the celebration.