National Philharmonic Returns Due to Financial Generosity
The National Philharmonic announced today that thanks to the incredible generosity from the residents of Montgomery County and Washington Area, the Philharmonic, which performs at The Music Center at Strathmore, has raised sufficient funds to stabilize its finances, and plans not only to present its complete 2019-2020 season as announced, but also to continue its programs for years to come. The 2019-2020 Season Subscriptions are on sale now! Single tickets go on sale August 15. "We look forward to welcoming the concert-going public at Strathmore for our all-Beethoven season opener, featuring the Eroica Trio performing the Triple Concerto, followed by the great Eroica Symphony," announced NP Music Director Piotr Gajewski.
The National Philharmonic Board and President raised more than $200,000 and an independent group led by musician Jim Kelly raised more than $300,000. Combining forces, the impact of the two efforts stands at over half a million dollars. The new way forward starts from an existing base built over the years and now enters a new chapter.
Businessman/philanthropist Jim Kelly assumes the role as Interim President, while the current President Leanne Ferfolia continues as Senior Consultant to the President. Kelly is a violist with The National Philharmonic, Co-Owner of Potter Violins, and an experienced orchestra administrator both with the Philharmonic and other classical music organizations.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as National Philharmonic's Interim President," said Kelly. "The game-changer that underpins the way forward is that now we have money to invest wisely in our future." Praising Ferfolia's long standing contribution to the organization, Kelly commented: "Ferfolia's management as President of The National Philharmonic implemented the strategic plan the organization created with the assistance of leading orchestra industry consultants, County Council recommendations, musicians, chorale members, and other various stakeholders. She achieved significant successes in a short three-year period, temporarily relieving the Philharmonic of its debt pressures. Unfortunately, the organization couldn't withstand a downturn in ticket sales or expand its donations quickly enough to counteract losses that ultimately surpassed its limited financial reserves."
"The National Philharmonic patrons and classical music community have given this organization an opportunity and new life. It will be the task of the new leadership to build a sustainable future," said Ferfolia. Maestro Piotr Gajewski commented on Ferfolia's vision, saying, "Her understanding of the concert experience was to be more than the music on the stage. Just look at the award-winning Cosmic Designs concerts she created with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Utilizing that partnership and bringing Lockheed Martin into it, she connected music, science, space and education into what has been a crowning achievement for The National Philharmonic. [The immediate task now is to fill Strathmore for our concerts on September 21 and 22, and to sell subscriptions for the remainder of the season that has something for everyone, including Mozart's Requiem, a concert featuring music by African-American pioneers, the music of ABBA and much more! We would love to see more sellouts as we had at our last season's finale. And a reminder: all kids ages 7 to 17 attend free!]"
"I wish The National Philharmonic continued success," added Todd Eskelsen, outgoing Board Chair. "Montgomery County is blessed to have such a wonderful home-grown orchestra and chorale ensemble that allows local residents access to the stage of the Music Center at Strathmore as participants in making great music. It has been an honor for the Board and for me, as Chair, to serve The National Philharmonic community and I encourage the community to continue their support."
New leadership will also include Board member Harris Miller, who will assume the role of Interim Board Chair, replacing Eskelsen. "It is thrilling to witness new enthusiasm that has emerged for the Philharmonic, its orchestra musicians and its singers," said Miller. "Todd leaves big shoes to fill, and I thank him for working so incredibly hard, along with Leanne, to bring The National Philharmonic back from the brink of disaster, not just this year but in previous years, too."
Miller is retired from a variegated career that included government service, starting and running several successful businesses, turning around two large business associations, and helping to raise money for various nonprofit causes. He and his wife Deborah Kahn co-commissioned, along with Carnegie Hall and the Atlanta Symphony, an oratorio, Zohar, by Jonathan Leshnoff, that was performed by The National Philharmonic after its initial performances in Atlanta and New York.
"Moving forward," concluded Miller, "the Board understands that raising money is Job #1, even with the windfall of the last few weeks. We will be able to build upon our successes to date, and together reach ever greater heights. Meanwhile, Jim Kelly has already demonstrated he is an excellent leader and a prodigious fundraiser. He is an exceptional person and NP is lucky to now have him at the helm."