Maestro Piotr Gajewski and the US National Philharmonic are streaming their 2020/2021 concert season from their home in The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. Beginning with the “Beethoven @ 250 Birthday Bash” airing on October 25, 2020, all of the National Philharmonic’s concerts until early May 2021 will be broadcast free of charge on such platforms as YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook and also carried in Washington on WETA-TV.
Due to the pandemic-caused restrictions, the huge stage of the acoustically superb Strathmore Concert Hall can accommodate only a Classical-era orchestra, with musicians properly spaced and air filtration systems strategically placed all around. The 2000-seat theatre has to be empty during these performances, as no live patrons are allowed to attend. This is why the inaugural concert, featuring Beethoven’s Two Romances for Solo Violin and Orchestra and his Symphony No. 1, represented about the largest possible orchestral ensemble that could be safely positioned on the Strathmore stage.
Producing each concert video, according to Maestro Gajewski, proved a very complex process. Prior to the recording, the musicians’ unanimous consensus was that any remarks made by their Music Director and Conductor without a mask had to be taped on an empty stage with none of the performers being present. For the October 25 concert, several quick musical examples from Beethoven’s First four distinct movements performed by the orchestra were cleverly spliced into the video, so that Maestro Gajewski’s explanations and orchestral interludes illustrating his well-argued points were seamless. Excellent camera work and atmospheric lighting added much polish to the presentation. The entire concert concluded with a spirited performance of Beethoven’s Op. 21, a veritable masked ball of impressive musicianship!
The National Philharmonic concert broadcasts have been taking place every two weeks since last October, and the programs alternate between orchestral and chamber offerings. The full listing of the orchestra’s 2020/2021 Season is available on the Philharmonic’s website, with detailed descriptions and links to each concert as well as instructions how to enjoy this outstanding opportunity to hear great performances in these extraordinary times. For further information, please visit: nationalphilharmonic.org/education/bringing-you-the-music.
Bravo, Maestro Gajewski! Bravo to the great musicians and soloists of the National Philharmonic and many thanks for your beautiful music…