Press Releases

National Philharmonic Presents Berlioz Requiem

October 27, 2022

National Philharmonic



Stan Engebretson, conductor

with the National Philharmonic Chorale

 November 12 at Strathmore

(NORTH BETHESDA, MD) — National Philharmonic (NatPhil) presents the 2022-2023 debut of the National Philharmonic Chorale in Louis-Hector Berlioz’s Requiem. The program also celebrates conductor Stan Engebretson’s storied tenure as Artistic Director of the Chorale. Berlioz Requiem is being presented for one night only at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 12 at Strathmore. Single tickets are currently on sale at

“I am thrilled to lead the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale in what is one of the most unique works in the choral-orchestral repertoire,” said Engebretson. “NatPhil will share the stage with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, guest artist Norman Shankle, and our full orchestra, including four antiphonal brass choirs to create massive sound. Berlioz’s Requiem is a tremendous celebration of life and, as such, the perfect piece to mark my time with this outstanding organization. While it won’t be my last performance with NatPhil this season, it will offer a special moment to commemorate our work together over the years.”

One of Berlioz’s best-known works, Requiem, Op.5 was composed in 1837 and it boasts a masterful orchestration for a very large orchestra—remarkably showcasing woodwinds and brass—and chorus. The 90-minute colossal piece, also referred to as “Grande messe des morts” (Great Mass for the Dead), derives its text from the Requiem Mass in Latin, historically offered “for the repose of soul or souls of one or more deceased persons.” NatPhil’s performance features tenor Norman Shankle as soloist (most recently seen in the world premiere of A Knee on The Neck, March 2022) and the Baltimore Chorale Arts Society, bringing the count to 200 voices to present this magnificent and massive work.

As one of Engebretson’s favorite pieces, Berlioz’s Requiem makes for a fitting tribute to his tenure at the National Philharmonic Chorale and the legacy he has built over the course of three decades. He first took helm of the Chorale in the 1992-1993 season (then known as the Masterworks Chorale) and subsequently became part of the NatPhil family when the Chorale merged with the National Philharmonic in the 2003-2004 season. In his role as Artistic Director, Engebretson leads weekly choir rehearsals, conducts four classical concerts each season, and prepares the choral mass for other season performances. Personal highlights of his tenure include conducting Rosephanye Powell’s The Cry of Jeremiah (November 2021) and the annual Messiah, a staple of the holiday season.

Engebretson will retire from his position with the National Philharmonic Chorale after this season’s Messiah performances (December 17, 18, and 23). NatPhil Assistant Conductor Rebecca Novak Bryant will take over choir rehearsals and preparation for the rest of the season and Music Director Piotr Gajewski will conduct the remaining choral-orchestral programs, including Bach’s Mass in B Minor (March 18) and Carmina Burana (June 4).

Full Concert Details:

Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore

Berlioz Requiem

Stan Engebretson, conductor

Norman Shankle, tenor

with the National Philharmonic Chorale & Baltimore Choral Arts Society

Stan Engebretson, artistic director of the National Philharmonic Chorale, celebrates his storied tenure with the ensemble with Berlioz’s visionary and masterfully orchestrated Requiem. Engebretson brings Berlioz’s bombastic Opus No. 5, also known as “The Grand Messe des Morts,” to life with the power of the NatPhil Chorale and soloist Norman Shankle, a tenor who has risen to worldwide prominence through acclaimed performances with the Metropolitan and San Francisco Operas, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Dresden Semperoper in Germany.

Come see why Berlioz said, “If I were threatened with the destruction of the whole of my works save one, I should crave mercy for the Messe des Morts.”


Hector Berlioz, Requiem, Op. 5 (Grande Messe des Morts)


Ticket Information

Tickets ($19–$99) are available online at Kids 17 and under can attend National Philharmonic performances for free through the All Kids. All Free. All the Time. initiative.


Health and Safety Protocols

Patrons are no longer asked to show proof of vaccination to enter our venues, but we encourage everyone to stay up to date on their COVID vaccinations and boosters.

At this time, patrons are encouraged to wear masks in the venue and through the duration of NatPhil performances. The mask policy may vary by performance. For the safety of our NatPhil family, please stay home if you feel sick or present any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

For the latest safety protocols, please visit

 About Stan Engebretson

Stan Engebretson has served as the Artistic Director of the National Philharmonic Chorale since its inception. In addition to the Chorale at Strathmore, Engebretson has appeared on concert stages throughout the United States and in Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has studied with great masters of choral music including Robert Shaw, Gregg Smith, Roger Wagner and Eric Ericson, Conductor Emeritus of the world-renowned Swedish Radio Choir in Stockholm, Sweden.

A Midwest native, Engebretson began his early training singing in the Scandinavian choral tradition. He earned Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Piano and Voice from the University of North Dakota, and then went on for his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from Stanford University. He held faculty positions within the University of Texas system and at the University of Minnesota. In addition, he served as the Artistic Director of the Midland-Odessa Symphony Chorale and was the Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Chorale.

In Washington, D.C. since 1990, Dr. Engebretson is a professor of music at George Mason University and is the Director of Music at the historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Beginning in 1992, Engebretson lectured for the Smithsonian Institution including the Bach Festival in Carmel, CA; the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, CO; and the Spoleto-USA Festival in Charleston, SC. In 2009, he served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Iceland. Abroad in recent seasons he performed in Europa Cantat and AMJ (Arbeitskreis Musik in der Jugend) events plus others in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland, China, South Korea, and Australia. In 2018, he co-edited a new book for Carus publishers, “Hallelujah! Spirituals and Gospels for EuropeanChoirs.” He has received the J. Reilly Lewis Ovation award for Outstanding Contributions to Choral Music. Presented by Choralis, this prestigious honor marks his almost three decades of choral leadership in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.


About the Guest Artists

Norman Shankle, tenor

Baltimore Choral Arts Society

About the National Philharmonic

Celebrated for showcasing world-renowned guest artists in time-honored symphonic masterpieces, National Philharmonic continuously strives to create remarkable educational opportunities in the community while promoting diversity and representation in classical music.

National Philharmonic is an accessible, enriching component in the Greater Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area, believing that music has the power to spark imagination and shape the world around us. As the only organization with a united orchestra and chorus in the region, over the years National Philharmonic has expanded its footprint beyond its home at Strathmore, with year-round masterclasses along with Summer String and Summer Chorale Institutes for youth, armed services programs, and partnerships with community organizations. In addition to these programs, National Philharmonic fosters a love of music in young people across the region by offering free admission to all children between the ages 7 to 17 years old.

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Media Contact:

Camille Cintrón Devlin

(571) 317-9317

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