Posted on the Washington Post's "Classical Beat" blog by Anne Midgette on March 7, 2012.
The National Symphony Orchestra wasn't the only orchestra in town to reveal its 2012-13 season this week; the National Philharmonic also got a piece of the season-announcement action. Strathmore's resident orchestra has established itself as a solid purveyor of the classics with a commendable sprinkling of quality soloists and a few twists, and this season bears out its pattern: you can hear all-Beethoven, all-Brahms, and all-Bach programs, but you can also hear the Lutoslawski cello concerto and the violin concerto by the late Andreas Makris, a former composer-in-residence and violinist with the NSO.
The National Philharmonic is also doing something that the Kennedy Center is not, at least in the first part of 2013: acknowledging the bicentennial of the birth of Richard Wagner with an all-Wagner concert in June. Another less-known anniversary is that of Witold Lutoslawski, who will be commemorated in a concert in January on a program with plenty of Tchaikovsky to counterbalance the 20th-century fare.
The Philharmonic's season opens in October with an all-Beethoven program conducted by Piotr Gajewski called "The Power of Three:" the third Leonore overture, the third piano concerto (with Orli Shaham), and the third symphony. Next up is an all-Prokofiev program, led by Victoria Gau, featuring suites from "Lieutenant Kije" and "Alexander Nevsky," as well as the pianist Brian Ganz as soloist in the third concerto; Ganz returns later in the year to continue his ongoing project of performing all of Chopin's piano music live over the course of a decade. The all-Brahms concerts in May feature Denyce Graves in "Alto Rhapsody," as well as the "Schicksalslied" and the Fourth Symphony; the all-Bach concert, the first and fifth Brandenburg Concertos and the cantata "Wachet Auf."
In addition to the all-one-composer profiles there are a couple of theme concerts: one focusing on the viola, with a concerto by Telemann, Mendelssohn's String Symphony no. 9, and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, with Victoria Chiang on viola and Stefan Jackiw on violin; and one focusing on American violin works, with Elena Urioste playing the Makris concerto and Bernstein's serenade, as well as the world premiere of a piece by Steven Gerber.