A judicious merging of the National Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks Chorus on July 1, 2003 created the National Philharmonic, an ensemble with a 55-year combined history of high caliber musical performances in the local area. Masterworks was originally founded in Montgomery County, MD in 1975, with Roger Ames as the first Music Director. Its main performing group consisted of a volunteer chorus of about 100 voices that showcased classical and concert hall choral works. In 1993, Stan Engebretson, currently National Philharmonic’s Chorale Artistic Director, was appointed Masterworks’ Music Director.
The National Philharmonic performed at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre in Rockville, Maryland until Feb. 2005, when it became the Music Center at Strathmore’s ensemble-in-residence. Since then, the Philharmonic has performed more than 100 concerts in the Concert Hall at Strathmore, showcasing world-renowned guest artists in time-honored symphonic masterpieces conducted by Maestro Piotr Gajewski and monumental choral masterworks under National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan Engebretson.
In February 2005, the National Philharmonic took up residence at the state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD. With annual performances numbering over 30 and far-reaching educational programming, it is the largest and most active locally-based professional ensemble based in Montgomery County.
In addition to its commitment to critically acclaimed concert presentations, the National Philharmonic continuously strives to create remarkable and significant educational opportunities in the community. With its long-standing history of reasonably priced concert tickets and free admission to all young people age 7-17, the National Philharmonic is an accessible, enriching component in the Greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.