North Bethesda, MD (March 2) — Hear two iconic works of Mozart, Requiem and Clarinet Concerto, as Piotr Gajewski conducts the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale. Special guests include Jon Manasse, clarinet along with Suzanne Karpov, soprano; Magdalena Wór, mezzo-soprano; Norman Shankle, tenor; and Kevin Deas, bass on Saturday, March 21, at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Manasse will perform the solo in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major, which will be followed by the performance of Requiem in D Minor. The genius of Mozart found its last expressions in two works of transcendent beauty and power, each of them an iconic masterpiece in its genre: The Clarinet Concerto (Mozart’s last completed instrumental work) and the Requiem (which remained unfinished at his death). The New York Times calls Manasse, “an absolutely first-rate clarinet soloist.” There will be a members-only encore question-and-answer after the concert. Ticket prices are $29–$89, free for young people 7–17, and $10 for college students. There is a new 25% discount for military and veterans. Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301.581.5100.
Requiem remained unfinished at the time of Mozart’s death in 1791. The piece was commissioned by the eccentric Count Franz von Walsegg, an amateur composer who was in the habit of commissioning works from famous composers in order to pass them off as his own. It is one of Mozart’s most performed works. The Clarinet Concerto was Mozart’s last completed instrumental work, finished just two months before his death. While Requiem is somber, the Concerto is uplifting, the epitome of Classical elegance and refinement.
Jon Manasse Bio
Among the most distinguished classical artists of his generation, clarinetist Jon Manasse is internationally recognized for his inspiring artistry, uniquely glorious sound and charismatic performing style. Recent season highlights include return performances with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and debuts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Montana’s Missoula Symphony Orchestra. Manasse’s solo appearances include New York City performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Columbia University, 14 tours of Japan and Southeast Asia, debuts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Osaka, and concerto performances with Gerard Schwarz and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. With orchestra, he has been guest soloist with the Naples and National Philharmonics, the National Chamber Orchestra and many more. Manasse is an avid chamber musician, and is principal clarinetist of the American Ballet Theater Orchestra and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. He has performed commissioned works and world premieres, as well as six critically acclaimed CDs on the XLNT label.
Suzanne Karpov Bio
Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “elegant” soprano, both “incisive and tender,” Suzanne Karpov is quickly distinguishing herself as one of the country’s leading young sopranos. Karpov recently made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in Poulenc’s Gloria with DCINY. Past season oratorio highlights as soprano soloist include performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Washington Bach Consort, the American Bach Soloists, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and the Washington Opera Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, as well as soprano soloist in Haydn’s The Creation with the UC-Davis Symphony Orchestra. Operatic highlights include performances with Washington National Opera, Boston Early Music Festival,
and the New Hampshire Music Festival. In competition, Karpov has won numerous awards, including first place at the national NATS Competition in Chicago, first place in the 2018 Handel Aria Competition, and an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Magdalena Wór Bio
Of Magdalena Wór’s debut in Madama Butterfly with Virginia Opera, Anne Midgette of The Washington Post wrote, “Magdalena Wór almost stole the show as a well-defined and well-sung Suzuki.” In 2016, Wór debuted with the Seattle Symphony as a soloist for their performances of Handel’s Messiah. She portrayed Maddalena in Opera Birmingham’s Rigoletto and performed with the National Philharmonic in Bach’s Mass in B minor and Handel’s Messiah. In 2011-2012, Wór performed in Carmen for Lyric Opera of Virginia, Handel’s Messiah with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Alabama Symphony Orchestra, was a soloist for Leoš Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass with the Cathedral Choral Society of the Washington National Cathedral, Bach’s Magnificat with the National Philharmonic, and gave recitals at the Polish and Hungarian Embassies in Washington, D.C. Wór is winner of the Heinz Rehfuss Vocal Competition, a Metropolitan Opera Competition National finalist, and an alumna of the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Summer Opera Program and Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera.
Norman Shankle Bio
The Boston Globe has called tenor Norman Shankle “a real find, a singer of elegance, grace and conviction,” and the San Francisco Chronicle praised him equally as “clearly a singer to watch.” This season, Shankle sang Nick in La Fanciulla del West with Opera Colorado, and returned to the Phoenix Symphony for Handel’s Messiah. He also joined the Pittsburgh Opera as Elder Barber/Gus Greenlee in The Summer King, and performed the role of Lindoro in L’Italiana in Algeri with Piedmont Opera. Shankle began his career with the San Francisco Opera (SFO) in the Merola Opera Program and as an Adler Fellow. He officially made his company début as Valletto in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and subsequently appeared in SFO’s productions of Tristan und Isolde, Don Carlo, Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery,
Louise, Lucia di Lammermoor, Idomeneo, and Don Giovanni. In 2001, Shankle was selected as a winner of the distinguished ARIA award. Other awards include a 1999 Richard Tucker Career Grant and the 1998 McAllister Award.
Kevin Deas Bio
American bass Kevin Deas is especially celebrated for his riveting portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess with the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco, Atlanta, San Diego, Utah, Houston, Baltimore and Montreal Symphonies and at the Ravinia and Saratoga Festivals. His recent recordings include Die Meistersingerwith the Chicago Symphony under the late Sir Georg Solti and Varèse’s Ecuatorial with the ASKO Ensemble under Ricardo Chailly, both on Decca/London. Other releases include Bach’s B minor Mass and Handel’s Acis & Galatea on Vox Classics and Dave Brubeck’s To Hope! with the Cathedral Choral Society on the Telarc label.
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 2019, review in The Washington Post by 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.
National Philharmonic recently announced its “Thank You for Serving Program” for all active duty military, reservists, and veterans and their families. Military personnel may buy tickets for any National Philharmonic performance for themselves and their family and receive 25% off using promo code THX25. Tickets must be picked up at the box office with Military ID. Other restrictions apply.
To purchase tickets for the performances and for information about the Philharmonic’s upcoming season, please visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore Ticket Office at 301.581.5100.