DC-area donations save National Philharmonic from disaster

Play it again, Sam.

After raising more than $500,000, the National Philharmonic will hit the strings once more for the 2019-2020 season at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland.

The Philharmonic board raised more than $200,000 while an independent group led by violinist and interim president Jim Kelly raised more than $300,000, according to a news release.

The group had been facing significant financial struggles and was not guaranteed to even play this year.

New leadership appears to have turned things around.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as National Philharmonic’s Interim President,” Kelly said. “The game-changer that underpins the way forward is that now we have money to invest wisely in our future.”

Kelly praised outgoing president Leanne Ferfolia, but said, “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.”

Maestro Piotr Gajewski commented on Ferfolia’s vision in a news release.

“Her understanding of the concert experience was to be more than the music on the stage,” Gajewski said.

“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.”

Subscriptions for the 2019-2020 season are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale Thursday.

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