National Philharmonic Fosters Young Musicians

North Bethesda, MD, July 8, 2010:  From July 19 to August 13, 2010, the National Philharmonic will engage some of the area's most promising young musicians through its Summer Strings and Choral Institutes.

The Institutes, for middle and high school string players and high school vocal performers, nurture young talent and teach musical skills and techniques while preparing the participants for a performance. "Nurturing the next generation of audiences and performers is at the heart of our mission in the community," said National Philharmonic's Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski.

The Summer Choral Institute (July 19-23, 2010) offers young singers an intensive, weeklong immersion in voice building, musical interpretation, and performance techniques. The Institute, produced through a partnership between the National Philharmonic and Montgomery College Institute, is led by Dr. Stan Engebretson, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Chorale, and Dr. Molly Donnelly, Professor of Music at Montgomery College. The week culminates in a free public concert at Richard Montgomery High School, 250 Richard Montgomery Drive, Rockville, MD on Friday, July 23, 2010, at 7:30 pm.

The Summer String Institutes (High School String Institute August 2-6; Middle School String Institute August 9-13) immerse talented and aspiring middle school and high school string musicians in an intensive week of mentoring, chamber music coaching, individual lessons, and rehearsals led by Maestro Piotr Gajewski, National Philharmonic Assistant Conductor, and String Institutes Director Victoria Gau, musicians of the Philharmonic, and other recognized music pedagogues. Gau is also the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Capital City Symphony (DC) and is an opera coach/conductor at George Mason University. She is a familiar face in the Washington area, having conducted such groups as the Washington Savoyards, the IN-Series, the Other Opera Company (which she co-founded), and the Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra. She holds degrees in Viola Performance and Conducting from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she received the Phi Kappa Lambda Prize for Musicianship.

This year marks the thirteenth anniversary of the High School String Institute and the twelfth year of the Middle School String Institute. The High School String Institute will culminate in a free public performance at the Bethesda Presbyterian Church, 7611 Clarendon Rd, Bethesda, MD, on Friday, August 6, at 7:30 pm and on Friday, August 13, at 7:30 pm for the middle school session. For more information on the Summer String and Choral Institutes, visit

Deborah Birnbaum, Marketing Manager

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa