French drawing room at Hillwood


Enjoy enriching and educational programming year-round.

Jazz in the Gardens: A Salute to Duke Ellington

Roaring Twenties exhibition logo with illustration of a woman in a flapper-style dressDue to forecast inclement weather, this performance has been rescheduled for Thursday, September 9.

Enjoy an outdoor evening concert featuring the incredible music of D.C. native Duke Ellington, performed by D.C.’s own Marshall Keys Quintet, inspired by the exhibition Roaring Twenties: The Life and Style of Marjorie Merriweather Post. Delight in hearing Ellington standards, and listen to him talk about his life “in his own words” collected from Ellington’s personal archives, presented by executive producer Donna Limerick.

Pack up your picnics or stop by Merriweather To Go for sandwiches, light snacks and beverages to enjoy during the performance. Beer, wine, and champagne are available by the glass or the bottle. Please note that our liquor license does not permit outside alcohol to be brought in.


5:30-6:30 p.m.     Picnic on the Lunar Lawn and explore Hillwood

6:30-7:30 p.m.    Concert on the Lunar Lawn

  • Please bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair with you

8:30 p.m.            Hillwood closes


  • This program takes place outdoors, with limited capacity.
  • Picnicking on the Lunar Lawn is welcome at this program. 
    • Food and drinks, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase from Merriweather To Go.
  • Attendees must bring their own lawn chairs or picnic blankets.
  • See our visitor guidelines for information about how we are following the latest local and national guidance. 


If inclement weather impacts the rescheduled event, registered participants will be notified by 3 p.m. and provided further information.  


Close, black & white image of Marshall Keys playing saxaphoneMarshall Keys plays the saxophone with a sense of grace and emotion that is wholly without cliché. He is a versatile musician with an expansive range, known for having a solid, soulful tone and for improvisations that begin simply before developing into elaborate, smartly constructed melodies. Keys received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and was commissioned by the Smithsonian to perform the music of Wayne Shorter. He was guest performer and lecturer at the Romare Bearden Exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. He has toured Africa and Central and South America for the State Department as a Jazz Ambassador and has played jazz festivals in the US, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Mexico, Panama, and Indonesia. Keys’s recent endeavors include playing in the Washington National Cathedral Band and collaborating with saxophonist Paul Carr in the Carr/Keys project. He has worked with many of the world’s fine musicians, but finds the vibrant jazz community in Washington DC to be a continuing source of inspiration and motivation.

Photo of Donna Limerick wearing a hat adorned with black feathersDonna Limerick, executive producer, is an award-winning documentary producer, with over 25 years’ experience producing programs for National Public Radio. As President and Executive Producer of North Star Communications, a radio syndication company she has partnered on projects with Ken Burns and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Her television and radio productions include Quincy Jones, Nancy Wilson, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, and other jazz masters. 

She was the Concert Producer for “Evolution of the Blues,” written by vocalist Jon Hendricks. It debuted at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1996 and then on to a worldwide tour featuring Jon Hendricks, Joe Williams, Diane Reeves, Abbey Lincoln, Kevin Mahogany, and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. 

She is currently a Lecturer/Consultant with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for an exhibit about her mother Mae Reeves (1912-2016) hat designer and entrepreneur. Her clients included Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, and Marion Anderson.

Statue of a satyr playing pipes, located by Hillwood's Japanese-style garden
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, photographed by Tony Powell