The National Philharmonic’s 2016-2017 season at The Music Center at Strathmore continues with Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The concert, conducted by Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, will also feature celebrated Grammy award winner cellist Zuill Bailey performing Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, variations on themes of Jewish origin, and Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, the final work of this composer’s Jewish Cycle. The concert is part of Gajewski’s initiative titled, “Exploring Jewish Identity through Music.” Inspired by a visit to an art exhibition, Mussorgsky wrote Pictures at an Exhibition in 10 pieces, with each movement representing one of the drawings or artworks on display. Also an artistic exhibition in itself, Bailey’s cello, “Cello Bailey,” was made more than 300 years ago by the great Venetian cello maker Matteo Gofriller.
Gajewski was born and raised in Warsaw. The son of a Holocaust survivor, Gajewski’s family emigrated from Poland in 1969. “Exploring Jewish Identity through Music” also celebrates the many National Philharmonic musicians who are Jewish. In 2018 the orchestra will recognize American composer Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday.
“Exploring Jewish Identity through Music” celebrates music based on Jewish themes such as Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei. Bruch (1838-1920) was a famous German Romantic composer and violinist. Kol Nidre, written in 1881, is a virtuoso piece written for the cello. Traditionally, the Kol Nidre is a prayer sung in Jewish synagogues at the start of Yom Kippur.
The performance is on Saturday, April 22, at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m.