National Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, a student and disciple of the late Leonard Bernstein, continues to thrill audiences with inspiring performances of great music. His large and varied repertoire, most of it conducted without a score, amazes critics and audiences alike. In The Washington Post he has been hailed as an “immensely talented and insightful conductor, whose standards, taste and sensitivity are impeccable.” A critic from The Buffalo News observed, “His courtly, conservative movements matched the music’s mood. A flick of the 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.”
In addition to his work with the National Philharmonic, Gajewski has guest conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic, the South Florida Symphony, the Annapolis Symphony and in Europe, England’s Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Karlovy Vary Symphony in the Czech Republic, and most of the major orchestras in his native Poland, including the Warsaw, Kraków, and Wrocław philharmonics. From 2013 to 2017 he served as principal guest conductor of the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice; prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, he continued to appear frequently with that orchestra, as well as with the Białystok Philharmonic and Warsaw’s Sinfonia Iuventus. Gajewski also regularly collaborates with contemporary composers, and has conducted numerous important world premieres, most recently, the setting of T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by Henry Dehlinger and A Knee on The Neck by Adolphus Hailstork, with text by Herbert Martin.
Committed to the development of young talent, Gajewski has served on the faculties of The American University, The George Washington University, and The Catholic University of America’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. Since 2007, he has served three times on the jury of Poland’s Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Young Conductors.
At the National Philharmonic, Gajewski launched the groundbreaking “All Kids, All Free, All the Time” initiative, and created summer institutes for young string players and singers as well as masterclasses with esteemed visiting artists. Working with the local school system, Gajewski established the National Philharmonic’s program of annual orchestra concerts for all second-grade students in Maryland’s Montgomery County—more than 13,000 each year.
Gajewski began studying piano at age four. After immigrating to the United States, he continued his studies in the Preparatory Division of Boston’s New England Conservatory, at Carleton College in Minnesota, and at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in orchestral conducting. His conducting mentors, in addition to Bernstein—with whom he studied at Tanglewood Music Center on a Leonard Bernstein Conducting Fellowship—include such luminaries as Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Gunther Schuller, and Maurice Abravanel.
Maestro Gajewski’s many honors include the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit, bestowed on him by the former president of Poland, and a prize at New York’s Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition.
A true Renaissance man, Gajewski continues to play competitive soccer, holds a law degree and a license to practice law in two states, and from 2007 to 2011 served on the City Council in his hometown of Rockville, Maryland.
Piotr Gajewski is represented worldwide by Sciolino Artist Management, samnyc.us.
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