Gil Shaham joins the National Philharmonic and conductor Piotr Gajewski for Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No.3. 

Also featured are the Symphony No.1 by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de St. Georges, and Louise Farrenc’s Symphony No.3.  

Thursday, October 20, 7:30 at Capital One Hall,Tysons 

Saturday, October 22, 8:00 at Strathmore 

Gil Shaham
Chris Lee

Back in the early 90’s I had a job at Olsson’s Books and Records in Bethesda, and I remember my manager being very excited when we received a shipment of CDs by a 20-something violinist. “You gotta hear this guy!’” he told me, tearing open one of the new recordings and putting it in the store’s stereo system.  “Listen to his tone. It’s extraordinary.” 

Years later, the extraordinary Gil Shaham is still getting raves. After his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the NSO at Wolf Trap last summer, The Washington Post wrote: “One of the most expressive I have ever heard’s so easy to get wrapped up in the virtuosic fireworks...but Shaham’s hands are more than capable—they're human.”  

That humanity comes through in Shaham’s playing and musicianship. National Philharmonic concertmaster (and co-founder of the Boulanger Initiative) Laura Colgate remembers meeting Gil Shaham as a youngster:  

When I was in fifth grade Gil Shaham visited my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee and he gave a masterclass.  I was so excited.  I was really inspired by his philosophies on making music.  During the masterclass, he let me play his Stradivarius.  I was lucky, especially being that young.  That was a huge deal for me—just getting to work with him.  He was probably one of the biggest influences of my younger years.

Laura Colgate in a Gil Shaham masterclass
Laura Colgate as a child in a masterclass with Gil Shaham

And later, sharing the stage with him, she explains:

It was really inspiring to play the Beethoven with Gil Shaham this past season.  The way that he listens to everybody, it makes everybody else listen on a higher level as well and try to reach that level of deep listening.  And it’s really exciting to be able to play with him again this season.

Laura Colgate
Laura Colgate with Gil Shaham and Music Director and Conductor of the National Philharmonic, Piotr Gajewski

I know exactly what she means.  When he’s on stage, Shaham is deeply involved in every note of the work. He doesn’t just wait to do his star turn, he’s a part of the ensemble, cheering on his fellow musicians. His generosity shines through. Here’s what he says about the National Philharmonic:  

The thrilling idealism and inherent mastery to their music-making makes it a particular honor and joy for me to be a part of these special performances.  Come join us for a powerful, touching and fulfilling program of French masterworks including new discoveries and old friends.

Vive la France! Vive Gil Shaham! 

More about Louise Farrenc's Symphony No. 3

Learn more about the violin and the role of the concertmaster on Classical Breakdown!

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