National Philharmonic Kicks Off New Season

The National Philharmonic's 2010-2011 season at the Music Center at Strathmore kicks off with Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony.

North Bethesda, MD, August 24, 2010 - Maestro Piotr Gajewski will lead the National Philharmonic in its first concert of the 2010-2011 season at the Music Center at Strathmore on Saturday, October 9, 2010, at 8 pm. The concert will feature one of Gustav Mahler's most renowned works, the Symphony No. 2 in C minor, known as the "Resurrection," and showcase soprano Iwona Sobotka, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wór, and the National Philharmonic's nearly 200-voice, all-volunteer chorale.

Composed during the years 1888-1894, Mahler's Resurrection Symphony premiered in 1895 and went on to become one of the composer's most recognized and successful works during his lifetime. It is his first major work that expressed his lifelong view of the beauty of afterlife and resurrection. Mahler devised a narrative program for the work, in which the first movement represents a funeral and asks questions such as "Is there life after death?"; the second is a remembrance of happy times in the deceased's life; the third presents a view of life as meaningless; the fourth is a wish for release from life without meaning; and the fifth ends with hope for everlasting, transcendent renewal.

Soprano Iwona Sobotka achieved instant international acclaim as the Grand Prix winner of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium in 2004. Other awards include first prizes at the East and West Artists International Auditions in New York, the Warsaw Polish Art Song Competition, and in the Bydgoszcz Paderewski Competition.

She has performed all over Europe, in the Americas and Japan, in such prestigious venues as the Wiener Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall, the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.

Ms. Sobotka has worked with such distinguished conductors as Sir Colin Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Sylvain Cambreling, Thomas Hengelbrock, Walter Proost, Jerzy Maksymiuk and Antoni Wit.  She has performed with the Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Orchestra della Fondazione Arturo Toscanini, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Staatskapelle Weimar, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and with all the major Polish orchestras.

Ms. Sobotka has performed at various music festivals, such as Musical Olympus in St. Petersburg, Kraków's Festival of Polish Music, the MDR Music Summer festival in Saxony and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. She is also regularly invited to the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Music Festival where she was awarded the 2007 audience prize.

She graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and continued her studies with renowned artist and pedagogue Tom Krause at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid.

Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wór was the first-place winner of the Heinz Rehfuss Vocal Competition (2005), a Metropolitan Opera Competition national finalist (2002), a winner of the Mozart Society of Atlanta Competition, an alumna of the San Francisco Opera's Merola Summer Opera Program and Chautauqua Music Institution's Marlena Malas Voice Program, and St. Louis Opera Theatre's Gerdine Young Artist Program. Ms. Wór was a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera from 2006-2008. She has appeared with the Metropolita Opera, National Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, and New Trinity Baroque. A polish native, Wór has lived in the United States since 1991.  She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in vocal performance from Georgia State University.

The program will also include Andreas Makris' Aegean Festival Overture, the composer's reflections on his Greek origins, and Mieczysaw Karowicz's A Sorrowful Tale, a symphonic tone poem.

A free pre-concert lecture will be offered at 7 p.m. in the Education Center at the Music Center at Strathmore. To purchase tickets to National Philharmonic's concert on October 9, 2010 at 8p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, please visit nationalphilharmonic.org, or call the Strathmore ticket office at (301) 581-5100. Tickets are $32-$79; kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program (sponsored by The Gazette).

National Philharmonic PR
JJP

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

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.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

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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. --John J. Puccio

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa