“Alan Gilbert has made an indelible mark on the orchestra’s history and that of the city itself”Russell Platt, The New Yorker
New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009, and is the first native New Yorker to be appointed to that post. He simultaneously maintains a major international presence, making guest appearances with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Gilbert is Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, where he served as Music Director for eight years, and was Principal Guest Conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra (formerly known as NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg) for more than a decade. He has led operatic productions for the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Zurich Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, where he served as the first appointed Music Director and conducted repertoire including Carmen, Eugene Onegin, Falstaff, and Peter Grimes among other works. In August 2015 he led the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the U.S. stage premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin as part of the Lincoln Center–New York Philharmonic Opera Initiative.
In seven years as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Gilbert has succeeded in transforming the orchestra, already one of the nation’s most venerable arts institutions, into a leader on the cultural landscape. He initiated the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence (with Magnus Lindberg the first appointment, and Esa-Pekka Salonen this season), The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence (this season, violinist Leonidas Kavakos), and Artist-in-Association (this season, pianist Inon Barnatan). Staged productions of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen, Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake have been presented to critical acclaim and capacity audiences. Gilbert also oversaw the development of two series devoted to contemporary music: CONTACT!, introduced in 2009, and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers, which was inaugurated in 2014 and returned in 2016, to a fanfare of critical approval.
The eighth and final season of Gilbert’s tenure, which also marks the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season, not only honors their shared hometown, but also celebrates this extraordinary legacy. Highlights include the world premieres of Philharmonic-commissioned concertos by Lera Auerbach, HK Gruber, and New Yorker Wynton Marsalis; the New York premieres of John Corigliano’s Stomp for Orchestra and Salonen’s Cello Concerto, a Philharmonic co-commission, with soloist Yo-Yo Ma; a complete performance of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, anchored by Eric Owens and Jamie Barton; a tribute to John Adams at 70; a season-long focus on Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony, premiered by the Philharmonic in 1893, as part of The New World Initiative, a citywide celebration of the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary centered around Dvořák’s famous work and its theme of “home”; accounts of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony and Handel’s Messiah; a creative pairing of Beethoven’s Ninth with Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw; a screening of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, accompanied by the first live performance of its Gershwin soundtrack; a festive, star-studded celebration of the conductor’s own 50th birthday; and a season finale exploring how music can effect positive change in the world. Showcasing highlights of this rich lineup, the upcoming “EUROPE / SPRING 2017” tour takes Gilbert and the orchestra back to Luxembourg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Budapest, Vienna, Hamburg, and Copenhagen, crowned by their third residency at London’s Barbican.
Gilbert remains in high demand with the world’s foremost orchestras. This season, he returns to the podiums of the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, besides making his staged operatic debut at La Scala with a new production of Porgy and Bess. Having made his debut with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields last season, he reunites with the orchestra to complete their recording of Beethoven’s piano concertos with Inon Barnatan. Last season also saw Gilbert’s first appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, where his program included works by Carl Nielsen, a composer he has consistently and ardently championed. His recording of the Danish composer’s Third Symphony, made with the New York Philharmonic for their four-album box set as part of “The Nielsen Project” on Denmark’s Dacapo label, was chosen as Gramophone’s favorite recorded version of the work.
In September 2011 Alan Gilbert became Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at the Juilliard School, where he is also the first holder of Juilliard’s William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008, leading a production of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic that, when released on DVD, went on to win a Grammy Award. He also conducts on Renée Fleming’s Grammy Award-winning Decca release, Poèmes, and was nominated for the 2015 and 2016 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Music Direction in PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts of two New York Philharmonic productions: the orchestra’s celebrated staging of Sweeney Todd, and its 100th-birthday gala tribute to Frank Sinatra, which featured Christina Aguilera, Bernadette Peters, and Sting. Gilbert received Honorary Doctor of Music degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music (2010) and Westminster Choir College (2016), as well as Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award, which recognizes his “exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music,” in 2011. Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2014, he has now also been named an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He gave the 2015 lecture for London’s Royal Philharmonic Society, speaking on “Orchestras in the 21st Century – a new paradigm,” and received a 2015 Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy.
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