Pardon their French! The renowned National Philharmonic kicks off its exciting fall season this week with a pair of concerts under the banner theme, “Vive La France.”
“It’s great to bring the music to the people,” music director Piotr Gajewski told WTOP. “It’s nice to play on the two sides of the river, so you can come to our concerts and never have to go over the Potomac. Obviously Strathmore is a world-class concert hall and Capital One Hall is brand new with all the greatest technology.”
One of the main reasons to attend the concerts is to witness the widely acclaimed violinist Gil Shaham.
“He’s one of the best living violinists today and we’re thrilled to have him,” Gajewski said. “For people who have heard him before, they know what I’m talking about, they want to come and hear him again, and for those who haven’t, you absolutely must hear him.”
The program begins with “Symphony No. 1 in G Major” by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who was born into slavery and became the violinist in Paris after his white father took him to Paris to learn under the same roof as Mozart.
The second classical piece is “Violin Concerto No. 3 in B Minor” by Camille Saint-Saëns, “one of the greatest violin concertos of the repertoire right up there with Beethoven and Sibelius,” Gajewski said. “Camille Saint-Saëns of course lived in Paris all his life.”
After a brief intermission, you’ll hear “Symphony No. 3, Op.36 in G minor” by Louise Farrenc, who was a “fantastic composer largely forgotten because she was a woman, but the quality of the music is phenomenal. She also taught at the Paris Conservatory and successfully argued to be paid at the same level as the men that taught there.”
Tickets start at $19, and kids get in free.