At the center of the concert and the series will be Peter Lieberson's new composition Remembering JFK: An American Elegy. The work will be performed by National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, and feature narration by Morgan Freeman. The piece was commissioned by the Kennedy Center and includes text taken from President Kennedy's speeches and writings. The work will be subsequently performed January 22-24 and paired with Leonard Bernstein's Fanfare for the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy.
Other events in the anniversary celebration will be three evening-length performances of mixed repertory by American Ballet Theatre which includes favorite works of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; and tributes to historic performances given at the White House by Pablo Casals and Grace Bumbry performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Denyce Graves, respectively. The event will also feature a new theater work solicited by colleges and universities around the country that exemplifies President Kennedy's legacy; and a newly commissioned play for young audiences and their families based on two collections of poetry selected by Caroline Kennedy titled American Scrapbook: A Celebration of Verse.