Piotr Gajewski is Music Director and Conductor of the National Philharmonic, in residence at the Music Center at Strathmore outside Washington, D.C. Gajewski is widely credited with building the Philharmonic into one of the Washington metropolitan area's most respected ensembles and bringing it national recognition. He has been hailed by The Washington Post as an "immensely talented and insightful conductor, whose standards, taste and sensitivity are impeccable."
Under Gajewski's leadership the Philharmonic has also become a major force in education through its "all kids, all free, all the time" initiative; summer institutes for young string players and singers; master classes with visiting artists; and a concerto competition for high-school students. Each year more than 20,000 primary-school children attend the Philharmonic's specially designed youth concerts led by Maestro Gajewski.
In addition to his work with the National Philharmonic, Gajewski is much in demand as a guest conductor, having recently conducted orchestras that include the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Warsaw Philharmonic and most other major orchestras in his native Poland. About his debut in Buffalo, the Buffalo News reported: "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." Gajewski's credits also include opera engagements.
In 2007 Maestro Gajewski was the only American on the jury of Poland's 8th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors. He returned for the 9th Fitelberg Competition in 2012.
He has conducted many important world premieres, including works by Steven Gerber, Joel Hoffman, Andreas Makris, Gerhard Samuel, and Peter Ware. His recording on the Koch International label of Steven Gerber's Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, and Serenade for String Orchestra with the National Chamber Orchestra garnered enthusiastic reviews.
Born in Poland, Gajewski began studying piano at age four. After immigrating to the United States in 1969, he continued his studies at the Preparatory Division of New England Conservatory; at Carleton College in Minnesota; and at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he earned B.M. and M.M. degrees in orchestral conducting. He refined his conducting skills as a Leonard Bernstein Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center in 1983. His teachers there included Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier, and Maurice Abravanel. Gajewski's many honors include a prize at New York's prestigious Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition.
A true renaissance man, when away from music Gajewski continues to play competitive soccer; holds a law degree and a license to practice law in two states; and from 2007-2011 served on his hometown (Rockville, Maryland) City Council.
Piotr Gajewski is managed by Sciolino Artists Management