David Del Tredici took his first musical trip "down the rabbit hole" in 1968, and didn't emerge fully again for another 27 years, only after composing eight substantial pieces based on Lewis Carroll's enduring classic of inspired nonsense, Alice in Wonderland. It would be hard to find a more "curiouser" case in music history.
It's not that Del Tredici didn't produce other things over that time span, or since -- among the 71-year-old composer's recent works is Rip Van Winkle, premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in 2005. But his compulsive, obsessive interest in all things Alice will always play a large part in defining him.
If you go The National Symphony Orchestra performs at 8 tonight at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. Northwest, Washington. Tickets are $45-$80. Call 800-444-1324 or go to kennedy-center.org.