National Philharmonic (NatPhil) presents its annual Messiah performances, conducted by Music Director Piotr Gajewski for the first time at Strathmore and Capital One Hall. The holiday program features four outstanding singers—soprano Aundi Marie Moore, mezzo soprano Lucia Bradford, tenor Norman Shankle, and baritone Jorell Williams—and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, all of whom are returning to share the stage with the NatPhil Orchestra. Continuing a tradition established last year, a portion of the proceeds from the performances at Strathmore will be donated to the 2nd Century Project to aid in the restoration of the neighboring Scotland African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church.
NatPhil’s Messiah takes place on Saturday, December 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 17 at 3:00 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and on Wednesday, December 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Hall in Tysons, Virginia. Tickets are currently on sale at nationalphilharmonic.org.
While Messiah has been a holiday tradition at NatPhil for many seasons, this year’s performances are being reimagined by Maestro Gajewski. The novel rendering envisioned by him will include simple staging in which the soloists move about freely in front of the orchestra and interact with the audience as they tell stories contained within the oratorio.
NatPhil’s Messiah performances will again feature educational and community engagement activities. The Scotland A.M.E. Zion Mass Choir and its director Michael Terry return to perform pre-concert sets on December 16 and 17. These sets are free to enjoy and will begin one hour prior to the Messiah performances in Strathmore’s lobby area. Also in the lobby, patrons will find a learning table with resources from the Library of Congress to continue discussions and reflection around Handel’s link to the slave economy.
In the spirit of the season, NatPhil is committed to using the success of this program to give back. As such, the Scotland A.M.E. Zion Church in Potomac, Maryland will receive a portion of the proceeds from the two performances at Strathmore. The historic church, which has been a center of community for Black congregants since 1924, was nearly destroyed by a flood in 2019 and victim of a burglary in 2022. Several partners in Montgomery County, including NatPhil, are supporting ongoing efforts to repair and safeguard the building.
Full Concert Details:
Saturday, December 16, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, December 17, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore
Wednesday, December 20, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. at Capital One Hall
Piotr Gajewski, conductor
with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Aundi Marie Moore, soprano
Lucia Bradford, mezzo soprano
Norman Shankle, tenor
Jorell Williams, baritone
National Philharmonic presents a new and novel semi-staged dramatic rendering of Handel’s Messiah, reimagined by Maestro Piotr Gajewski to usher in the start of your holiday season. From the triumphant “Hallelujah” chorus to the hauntingly beautiful “He Shall Feed His Flock,” this timeless oratorio has captivated audiences for over 250 years.
This season, NatPhil reenvisions Handel’s masterpiece, drawing on the storytelling of all-star soloists soprano Aundi Marie Moore, mezzo soprano Lucia Bradford, tenor Norman Shankle, and baritone Jorell Williams, under the direction of Maestro Piotr Gajewski, who takes over conducting duties for this annual NatPhil presentation. The four outstanding soloists will move about freely in front of the orchestra and interact with the audience as they tell the story of the Messiah.
NatPhil acknowledges the recent discovery of Handel’s involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and is dedicated to continuing the conversation around the performance of his works. A portion of ticket sales revenue will be dedicated to benefiting African American charities in our community.
George Frideric Handel, Messiah, HWV 56 (with intermission)
Tickets ($19–$109) are available online at nationalphilharmonic.org. Kids 17 and under can attend National Philharmonic performances for free through the All Kids. All Free. All the Time. initiative.