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The somewhat imperious name adopted by the National Philharmonic in 2003 disguises its true identity. It’s not a national but rather a very good regional orchestra, one that might be overlooked were it to call itself, say, the Grosvenor–North Bethesda Philharmonic. Led by music director (and Rockville city council member) Piotr Gajewski, the Philharmonic is the orchestra-in-residence at Strathmore, and it makes a point to keep its performances affordable (and free for those ages 7-17). On Saturday, accomplished pianist Brian Ganz teams up with the orchestra for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20. The program also features Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, the comic opera that was nearly banned in Austria for its lampooning of the nobility, in particular its practice of raping serfs on their wedding nights. Fortunately the opera was saved by Emperor Joseph II, who did not find this portrayal of him particularly unfair.
THE NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC PERFORMS AT 8 P.M. AT THE STRATHMORE MUSIC CENTER, 5301 TUCKERMAN LANE, NORTH BETHESDA. $29–$79. (301) 581-5100.