Based in Washington’s suburb North Bethesda, Maryland, the National Philharmonic announced plans to close permanently. “It is with great sadness that I must report that the National Philharmonic has to shut its doors,” said the orchestra’s president Leanne Ferfolia in a press release.

“We have been an important and integral part of the community and a service to Montgomery County residents, especially the thousands of young people who were able to attend our concerts with their families for free.”

The part-time orchestra says that it can no longer square its shrinking government funding with increased operating costs. Unless it would be able to meet a budget shortfall of $150,000, a request rejected by the Montgomery County government, it will cease operations and lay off all its musicians and staff.

The ensemble’s history reaches back to the mid-1980s. A judicious merging of the National Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks Chorus in 2003 created the National Philharmonic. 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.

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