New York Philharmonic Announces Its 175th-Anniversary Season
The Alan Gilbert era of the New York Philharmonic will draw to a close next season with a blaze of new music (seven premieres), intriguing juxtapositions (Schoenberg’s shattering “A Survivor From Warsaw” and Beethoven’s Ninth) and several other nods to hallmarks of his tenure as music director, including one last semi-staged opera: Wagner’s “Das Rheingold.”
The season, which will mark the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary, was presented on Wednesday, a week after the orchestra announced that Mr. Gilbert would be succeeded by the Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden. Its broad outlines highlight many of the transformations that Mr. Gilbert has made since taking his post in 2009, which he said had been aimed at making the Philharmonic “a leader in the cultural landscape.”
“There were years where it wasn’t quite clear what the Philharmonic stood for,” Mr. Gilbert said in a telephone interview. “It’s always been a great orchestra, but probably the thing I’m most proud of is the central place in the musical dialogue that I think the New York Philharmonic is unquestionably occupying now.”
That is largely because of the emphasis Mr. Gilbert has placed on contemporary music. For his last season, he will conduct new works by Lera Auerbach, John Corigliano, H K Gruber, Wynton Marsalis and Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and several by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the orchestra’s composer in residence, including his Cello Concerto, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist.
Mr. Gilbert said that he had not performed more new music than his predecessors but that he had “tried to celebrate what we do and not slip it by.”
The season will include a three-week Tchaikovsky festival conducted by Semyon Bychkov and featuring the pianists Yefim Bronfman and Kirill Gerstein. The violinist Leonidas Kavakos will be the artist in residence, playing concertos by Bach, Ms. Auerbach and Brahms; giving a recital with the pianist Yuja Wang; and appearing in a Young People’s Concert.
And the orchestra will celebrate its 175th anniversary with a series of programs related to its history and its place in New York. A season-long program will explore Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, of which the orchestra gave the premiere in 1893 and which it will play at its Sept. 21 opening night gala, at a Young People’s Concert, and at the orchestra’s free summer concerts in the parks, coupled with educational offerings.
Mr. van Zweden, who will become music director in the 2018–19 season, will appear in November conducting the New York premiere of Julia Adolphe’s Viola Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and the prelude to the first act of Wagner’s “Lohengrin.”
The Art of the Score series, exploring movie soundtracks, will continue, with the orchestra playing along to several New York-centric films: the Gershwin of Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” conducted by Mr. Gilbert; Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” conducted by David Newman; and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” with its Henry Mancini score.
In June, Mr. Gilbert — whose innovative semi-staged productions of Ligeti’s “Le Grand Macabre,” “Sweeney Todd” and Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” have been highlights of his tenure — will lead “Das Rheingold,” featuring Eric Owens as Wotan and Jamie Barton, in her Philharmonic debut, as Fricka. Mr. Gilbert did not disclose details of the staging except to say, “We’re working on, hopefully, a plan that serves the piece well and is also worthy of the tradition that we have laid down for these opera productions.”
And his final subscription concerts, June 8 through 10? A bit of a mystery. The Philharmonic said only that it would explore “how music and musicians can effect positive change and harmony in the world.”
Source: New York Times
By MICHAEL COOPER