Press Releases

The National Philharmonic Releases Virtual Performance to Honor Frontline Workers

May 11, 2020

Video features home recordings by musicians of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” alongside photographs of medical staff fighting COVID-19

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Philharmonic has released an emotional new video in support of hospital workers currently fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The video features several National Philharmonic musicians playing multiple parts of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” alongside photographs of DC, Maryland and New York City hospital staff working inside COVID-19 units.

“The idea of the common man, the frontline workers, keeping all of us afloat during this time of pandemic, makes this fanfare a perfect fit for the tribute,” says National Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski. “It is my hope that this video reaches those doing this important work and offers them a bit of comfort and solace,” he continues.

The music was performed by National Philharmonic musicians Michael Hall (horn), Chris Gekker (trumpet), David Sciannella (trombone), Willie Clark (tuba) and Tom Maloy (percussion, timpani) at their respective homes and required the technical feat of recording multiple parts per person. Each part was recorded live with the musician’s own equipment and mostly filmed on their personal cell phones. The sound was mixed by Director of Artistic Operations, Kyle Schick and the video was produced by Patron Services Manager, Quinton Braswell.

Several of the photographs that accompany the music throughout the video were taken by photographer Sinna Nasseri. Nasseri’s photos of frontline workers at grocery stores and hospitals have been featured in Vogue Magazine and most recently in The New York Times.

Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” was originally composed in 1942 during the hardships of World War II. The piece was written for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and was inspired by a speech by then Vice President, Henry A. Wallace, titled, “Century of the Common Man.”


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