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Acclaim

The National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, is easily one of the most beloved symphony orchestras in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area...It cannot be stressed enough that it’s one thing to hear a piece performed to perfection live, but it’s another thing entirely to watch highly trained orchestral musicians who actually enjoy performing. 

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Brittney Allen, mdtheatreguide.com
Gajewski’s National Philharmonic in first-rate shape at 2017-18 season opener

In the Washington Post on October 15, 2017, Joe Banno writes, “The performance of Beethoven’s ‘Egmont’ overture by the National Philharmonic under music director Piotr Gajewski, at its season-opening concert at Strathmore on Saturday, revealed a second-tier orchestra in first-rate shape. If their playing sounded somewhat cautious, and if winds and brass lacked that last ounce of personality you find in upper-echelon ensembles, their discipline, tight execution and elegant string tone would be the envy of any regional orchestra.” The concert’s featured soloists were violinist Sarah Chang and cellist Zuill Bailey.

Joe Banno, Washington Post

Interviewed for an article published June 1, 2017 in Washington FAMILY magazine, National Philharmonic Music Director Piotr Gajewski stresses the critical importance of childhood music training, early exposure to live music, and the Philharmonic’s “All Kids, All Free, All the Time” program, an initiative he launched twenty years ago at the Philharmonic.

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Beth Roessner, Washington FAMILY

National Philharmonic’s performance of Pictures at an Exhibition was exquisite. Musical director and conductor Piotr Gajewski demonstrated expert command of the orchestra and created an atmospheric sound that, without question, stayed true to Mussorgsky’s musical intentions.

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Brittney Allen, mdtheatreguide.com

Returning after an immensely successful appearance at last year’s [Northwest Bach Festival] was conductor Piotr Gajewski to conduct four works for chamber orchestra ... From the opening bars of the concert, [he] displayed the same mix of artistic virtues that made such a strong impression at his last appearance here, most notably his uncanny ability to find and maintain not only an appropriate tempo, but the perfect tempo for every part of every piece he conducts.

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Larry Lapidus, The Spokesman-Review

Ganz and Gajewski make a perfect pair. Separately they are such passionate performers, together they are infectious – filling the space with their energy and pure love for music. The entire performance was beautiful, energetic, and incredibly inspiring – a fantastic way to kick-off the season.

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Vanessa Berben, DC Metro Theater Arts

In both, a cello section of just four players produced impassioned expanses of gorgeous color while the upper strings, sounding clean and transparent, floated above them. Piotr Gajewski’s conducting style encourages this. He rarely uses a baton, leading instead in generalized sweeps that outline large phrases and dynamics that pretty much leave the details to the players.

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Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post

The National Philharmonic displays commitment, elegance and precision that add up to some of the most gorgeous orchestral playing this listener has heard lately, from ensembles resident or visiting. Gajewski’s impeccable technique sets him apart from most of the local competition.

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Patrick Rucker, The Washington Post

Gajewski’s appearance was notable not only for the outstanding musicianship he demonstrated, but also because [Northwest Bach Fesitval Director Zuill] Bailey is hoping to see him become a vital part in future festivals.

 

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Larry Lapidus, Spokesman-Review

"The orchestra was in good shape, well balanced and alert. Conductor Piotr Gajewski presided over a sympathetic ensemble with Bailey in the concerto and an elegantly shaped and graceful performance of the Mozart “Prague” Symphony No. 38 to end the evening."

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Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post

"In the Tchaikovsky, the Fourth Symphony, the entire orchestra played with an extra degree of precision, in part due to Mr. Gajewski’s crisp conducting; this was a considerable accomplishment..."

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HARRY SCHROEDER, Konk Life
There is intricate Mozart, dramatic Mozart and even bombastic Mozart (think Don Giovanni’s descent into hell), but the Mozart that Piotr Gajewski and his National Philharmonic — or a chamber-size subset thereof — brought to Strathmore on Saturday was Mozart at his sunniest, full of grace and youthful spirits. Read More...
Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post
At a time when a lot of orchestras are thumping their chests by airing new pieces in almost every program, it takes courage to do what the National Philharmonic’s excellent conductor, Piotr Gajewski, has chosen to do this year, which is to devise a season that celebrates the 19th-century greats ... with a little Bach, Handel and Vivaldi thrown in. Read More...
Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post
Gajewski and the Philharmonic were in their element. The first two movements came off as both lovely and mysterious, while the scherzo was direct and even rambunctious in spots. Those final variations can be tricky to pull off, but the conductor kept the work tightly under control. Read More...
David Cannon, MoCoVox News
Those who attended this concert made the right choice. Read More...
Alina Ert-Eberdt, Twoja Muza
The National Philharmonic certainly did it justice, with their lyrical yet powerful interpretation, under Gajewski’s able baton. The emotion of the piece shone through and kept the audience in rapt attention. Read More...
Tiffany Draut, DC Metro Theater Arts
Brahms's Symphony No. 3, Op. 90, was a highly charged affair, each orchestral section managing passages of lustrous tone quality and tight ensemble. The players were at their best in the final two movements, bringing moments of serene delicacy in the allegretto and incisive drama marking the final allegro.

All in all, a worthy crowd-pleaser.

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Cecelia Porter, Washington Post
It was not by chance that Gajewski programmed an all Tchaikovsky concert. He knew what the mood would be once Trifonov played, and being aware that no composer does more to push the envelope of emotion and love than Tchaikovsky, he made some very good programming choices. Read More...
Jane Coyne, MD Theatre Guide
Gajewski, wearing tails and conducting without a score or a baton, was part of the show. His courtly, conservative movements matched the music’s mood. A flick of his finger, and a fanfare sounded. He held up his palm, and the musicians quieted. It was like watching a race car in the hands of a good driver. Read More...
Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News
[Amy] Beach's Grand Mass in E-flat, Op. 25... overflows with lyricism and passion, qualities that Gajewski underscored.
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Cecelia Porter, The Washington Post
Gajewski leads National Philharmonic while pianist Lipkin sparkles
His reading [of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony] borrowed from period-instrument practice, with fleet tempos, lithe phrasing, transparent textures and reduced orchestra...The phrasing was also graceful and disciplined in Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto, where veteran pianist Seymour Lipkin gave a sparkling, classically poised rendition of the solo part.
Joe Banno, The Washington Post
Piotr Gajewski
Forget the designation "regional." On Saturday night at Strathmore, the National Philharmonic's performance easily rivaled the NBC Symphony's benchmark recordings of Dvorák. Read More...
Alfred Thigpen, The Washington Post
"An astonished and delighted audience saluted the performers with a rousing, spirited, and-it must be said, well-deserved-ovation, cognizant of the fact that they are no longer listening to just another regional orchestra". Read More...
Terry Ponick, The Washington Times
For the finale, Gajewski plunged heartily into Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, the "Pathetique," underscoring its emotional sweep as broad as the Russian steppes. Read More...
Ceclia Porter, The Washington Post
There was plenty of lustiness in Gajewski's approach to the Mahler, and it made the performance come alive... Read More...
Anne Midgette, The Washington Post
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