National Philharmonic Kicks Off Spring Concert Season With Grammy & Sphinx Winner Violinist Melissa White
The National Philharmonic celebrates the genius of Johannes Brahms at Strathmore with a performance by Grammy and Sphinx Competition award winner, American violinist Melissa White, in "Spirited Brahms." White will perform Brahms' Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 under the baton of Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski. Also on the program is Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98, which is stored in its original condition in the U.S. Library of Congress.
White is a founding member of the highly acclaimed New York-based Harlem Quartet and a first-prize laureate in the Sphinx Competition, which encourages, develops, and recognizes classical music talent in the Black and Latino communities. She performed on the CD Hot House, that won Grammy Awards in 2013 as well as performing for the Obama's in the White House. The concert will take place Saturday, March 17, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 18, at 3 p.m., at Strathmore's Concert Hall.
Audiences will enjoy a members-only encore question-and-answer, and a kids "Meet the Instruments" session that will take place in the orchestra lobby on Sunday from 2-2:30 p.m., allowing young concertgoers a chance to interact with Philharmonic musicians and explore orchestral instruments from different families (string, wood, brass, and percussion).Ticket prices are $23-$76 and are free for young people age 7-17. Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301.581.5100.
White has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. Nationally, she has performed as soloist with some of America's leading orchestras, including Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Colorado, and the Boston Pops. Internationally, she has appeared as soloist with the Colombian Youth Orchestra in South America, the Filharmonia Dolnoslaska in Poland, and in recital in Baku, Azerbaijan. White's passion for chamber music has recently expanded to sharing the stage as a guest with the Grammy-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and serving as interim concertmaster with the Louisville Orchestra. Together with the Harlem Quartet, White has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavafian, Misha Dichter, Paul Katz, and Anthony McGill, and in the country's most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and in a special performance for former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. The Harlem Quartet has collaborated with leading jazz musicians including Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Gary Burton. Their recording, "Mozart Goes Dancing" won three Grammy Awards, including the Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 2013.
White's performances have been hailed for their "panache" by The New York Times and as "bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent" by The Cincinnati Enquirer. She holds performance degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music. White's current instrument, "Matilda," was commissioned as part of a Sphinx MPower Artist Grant in 2014 by the American violin maker Ryan Soltis.
Brahms (1833-1897) is one of the greatest German composers and pianists of the Romantic era, producing symphonies, choral compositions, chamber music, and more than 200 songs. His music was more traditional in rhythm and movement than his Romantic contemporaries, aligning him with Classical musicians Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77, occupies a central position in Brahms' orchestral music. It was inspired by the artistry and virtuosity of the Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim, a longtime friend of Brahms. In composing his Violin Concerto, Brahms set out to emulate the grandeur of Beethoven's magisterial work in this genre, which was also one of Joachim's favorites. Brahms' Violin
Concerto was soon enshrined as one of the towering pieces in the violin repertoire, and it remains one of the most popular concertos for the instrument.
The Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98, is regarded as Brahms' masterpiece in this genre, and probably the pinnacle of his orchestral music. The Symphony No. 4 includes some of Brahms' boldest and most successful attempts to synthesize the historical classical tradition and modern techniques, displaying the hallmarks of Brahms's mature style: a balance between passionate outburst and formal control, and a reliance on variation to carry the musical discourse forward.
Maestro Gajewski is one of a select group of American conductors equally at home in nearly all musical genres. He is the music director and conductor of The National Philharmonic at the Music Center at Strathmore, and a sought-after guest conductor. He was a student and disciple of the late Leonard Bernstein, and is described by The Washington Post as an "immensely talented and insightful conductor, whose standards, taste and sensitivity are impeccable."
With one foot in the United States and the other in Europe, as Principal Guest Conductor of the Silesian Philharmonic (Katowice, Poland) and frequent guest at other orchestras, the jet-set maestro's seemingly limitless repertoire, most conducted without a score, amazes critics and audiences alike.
Led by Maestro Piotr Gajewski, The National Philharmonic is known for performances that are "powerful," "impeccable," and "thrilling" (The Washington Post). In July 2003, the National Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks Chorus merged to create The National Philharmonic, an ensemble with more than 50 years of combined history, bringing high caliber musical performances to the Washington area. The National Philharmonic took up residence at the state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore upon its opening in February 2005. Now, more than 250 performances later, and with far-reaching educational programming, The National Philharmonic is the largest and most active professional orchestra based in Montgomery County.
The National Philharmonic boasts a long-standing tradition of reasonably priced tickets and free admission to all young people age 7-17, assuring its place as an accessible and enriching component in Montgomery County and the greater Washington, D.C.area.
As the Music Center at Strathmore's orchestra-in-residence, The National Philharmonic showcases world-renowned guest artists in time-honored symphonic masterpieces conducted by Maestro Gajewski, with additional conducting by Associate Conductor Victoria Gau, and monumental choral masterworks under National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan Engebretson.
To purchase tickets for the performances and for a complete schedule, please visit www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore Ticket Office at 301.581.5100. Tickets are $23-$76; young people 7-17 are free through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program. ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone. Complimentary parking is available.