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National Philharmonic Kicks Off the Season with the Eroica Trio

National Philharmonic Kicks Off the Season with the Eroica Trio

The National Philharmonic nearly didn't have a 2019-2020 season after its closure due to financial difficulties was announced earlier this summer. Now, however, thanks to the support of its fans, The National Philharmonic is set to debut in September with the first concert of a full season of 11 performances.

The 2019-2020 season kicks off with a tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven on the eve of his 250th birthday with the Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio in "Eroica and Beethoven" on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. The Eroica Trio will join Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski and The National Philharmonic in performing Beethoven's unique Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major, Op. 56(Triple Concerto). Triple Concertois a hybrid of two well-established classical genres: chamber music and orchestral music. It is the only concerto Beethoven ever wrote for a trio. After intermission, Gajewski will lead The National Philharmonic in Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (Eroica), one of Beethoven's most celebrated works and one of the most majestic pieces in the symphonic repertoire. There will be a members-only encore question-and-answer after the concerts on Saturday and Sunday, and a Meet the Musicians (Instrument Petting Zoo) for young concert-goers and their families on Sunday from 2-2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $29-$79, and young people 7-17 are free. Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 301.581.5100.

Eroica Trio is acknowledged as the most sought-after classical trio in the world and features Erika Nickrenz, piano; Sara Parkins, violin; and Sara Sant'Ambrogio, cello. The New York Timeshas written of Eroica Trio, "There is an edge of the seat intensity to every note they produce." The three women met as childhood friends in various musical programs, later forming Eroica Trio while together at The Juilliard School. The Eroica Trio performs the Beethoven Triple Concertomore frequently than any other trio in the world, having appeared with renowned symphonies including Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Seattle.

The Eroica Trio's recording of the Beethoven Triplewith the Prague Chamber Orchestra was so successful it landed on Billboard's Top 20 for the first time in recording history. The Trio won the prestigious Naumburg Award, resulting in a highly successful Lincoln Center debut, and has since toured the United States, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia. While maintaining their demanding concert schedule, the Eroica Trio has released eight critically lauded recordings for Angel/EMI classics Records, garnering them multiple Grammy nominations.

The Eroica Trio has appeared on numerous television shows, including CNN's Showbiz Today, CBS and ABC News, the CBS Morning Show, A&E's Breakfast with the Arts, Bloomberg TV, and Fox's The Crier Report. The group has been featured in such magazines as Elle, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Entrée,Bon Appétit, Piano, and Chamber Music. In addition, the musicians have graced the covers of magazines as diverse as Fanfareand Cigar.The appearance of the Eroica Trio is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Ms. Jane Liu & Mr. Edward Brinker.

Perhaps the greatest composer who ever lived, German-born Beethoven (1770-1827) is one of the most important composers of Classical and Romantic music. The Triple Concertowas originally composed for Archduke Rudolf of Austria, one of Beethoven's most devoted patrons, who also studied with Beethoven and became an accomplished pianist. The Concerto'sunique composition created some issues, which were ultimately solved by allowing the three soloists to perform as a trio. Beethoven also opted for short thematic motives, rather than long and elaborate melodies. In its performance of the work, Eroicamaintains a classical undertone but employs aspects of Romanticism, as seen in its thematic material and emotional and cultural content. The four-movement work is twice as long as any symphony by Haydn or Mozart.

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 as well as 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 former 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.

The National Philharmonic under Gajewski 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. It is also the only classical music organization in the Washington-Metro area that offers free tickets for children ages 7-17. The National Philharmonic recognizes this young audience as the classical music lovers of the future, and hopes to encourage future generations of concertgoers through this free-ticket program.

A February 24, 2019, review in The Washington Postby Patrick Rucker notes The National Philharmonic's "distinctive personality," adding, "The vibe in the audience is that everybody onstage is happy, and maybe a little proud to be there, and the music sounds that way." In fact, National Philharmonic's "distinctive personality" is part and parcel of the world-class acoustics of the Music Center at Strathmore. The concert hall, orchestra and chorale together create this world-class sound. The National Philharmonic's Strathmore Concert Hall home is an integral component of its artistic success. In fact, it is because of this success that the Philharmonic was recently recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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, and monumental choral masterworks under National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan Engebretson.

To purchase tickets for the performances and for information about the Philharmonic's upcoming season, please visit or call the Strathmore Ticket Office at 301.581.5100.

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