The New York Philharmonic

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Alan Gilbert, Joshua Bell, Bernstein, Ives, and Rouse Premiere
This concert is now past.
Location: Avery Fisher Hall  (Directions)
Price Range: $41.00 - $123.00
Wed, Apr, 17, 2013
7:30 PM
Thu, Apr, 18, 2013
7:30 PM
Fri, Apr, 19, 2013
8:00 PM
Sat, Apr, 20, 2013
8:00 PM
Joshua Bell


  (Click the red play button to listen)
Prospero's Rooms (World Premiere — New York Philharmonic Commission)
Serenade, (after Plato's "Symposium")
Serenade, (after Plato's "Symposium") (1954)

According to Leonard Bernstein: "There is no literal program for this Serenade. The music, like Plato's dialogue, is a series of related statements in praise of love. The 'relatedness' of the movements does not depend on common thematic material, but rather on a system whereby each movement evolves out of elements in the preceding one, a form I initiated in my Second Symphony." Still, for those who haven't ever read Plato — or haven't read it since their English 101 class in college, here's a quick refresher on the logistics of Plato's most famous symposium. It is a retelling of a philosophical dialogue on the subject of love that occurred in 416 BCE, related by Appolorodus, a friend of Socrates. Greek symposia began with an evening meal, followed by a discussion of a given topic. Alcohol was an essential part of the festivities, with wine flowing freely. Symposia were all-male events (women held an inferior place in Greek society), with female slaves serving the meal and being available as sexual partners if called upon. During dinner, guests would recline on couches arranged in a U-shape, with each couch accommodating two or three men. There would also be music, entertainment, and party games. After the meal, libations were poured to the gods, and the drinking and speeches would begin. The topic for that night: an encomium to the god of Love. Phaedrus, Aristophanes, Erixymathus, Agathon, Socrates, and Alcibiades all weigh in on the topic, and Bernstein's musical translation of what they have to say varies from classical sonata-allegro form, to charming or humorous, and, in the final section, to joyful celebration. About the last movement, Bernstein wrote: "If there is a hint of jazz in the celebration, I hope it will not be taken as anachronistic Greek party music, but rather the natural expression of a contemporary American composer imbued with the spirit of that timeless dinner party." The music of Serenade is as close as Bernstein ever got to a violin concerto, and we are the richer for it.
Symphony No. 4
CHARLES IVES (1874-1954)
Symphony No. 4 (1909-1916)

Charles Ives was an American icon, and more specifically, a New Englander, born and bred. He was also: the captain of several football and baseball teams, nicknamed "Dasher" at Yale, and a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and of Wolf's Head, a prestigious secret senior society; the composer of a campaign song for President William McKinley; a Pulitzer Prize winner who gave away the $500 in prize money, declaring that "prizes are the badges of mediocrity"; and the founder of a successful insurance company. Most people know that Ives created exciting collages of familiar hymns, parlor songs, marches, dances, and patriotic and popular songs from his youth, sometimes piling one on top of another simultaneously in a veritable "Name That Tune" free-for-all. The Symphony No. 4 is generally considered Ives's most complex symphonic work and his culminating masterpiece. So vast are the forces and their spatial deployment envisioned by Ives that at its 1965 premiere, half a century after it was completed, Leopold Stokowski called on two assistant conductors to wrangle the American Symphony Orchestra. (Catch a snippet on YouTube.) The concert even made the front page of The New York Times. Things to look and listen for in the four movements: a unison chorus in the Prelude, along with quotes from "Nearer My God to Thee"; a carnival of complex textures and fragments of everything from "Yankee Doodle" to "Jesus, Lover of my Soul" in the Allegretto. The Fugue (actually a double fugue) includes a fragment of "Joy to the World" in this relatively less complicated, vigorous third movement. In the concluding Largo maestoso, layered sounds comprised of a small group of musicians (violins, harp, percussion) in distanza play softly, constantly, independently, while the larger ensemble builds to a climax, and gradually fades away. Please note: Maestro Alan Gilbert will have one conductor assisting him at these Philharmonic performances.


Alan Gilbert

New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009. The first native New Yorker to hold the post, he has sought to make the Orchestra a point of pride for the city and country. “He is building a legacy that matters and is helping to change the template for what an American orchestra can be,” The New York Times praised.

Mr. Gilbert and the Philharmonic have forged artistic partnerships, introducing the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, held in the 2013–14 season by Christopher Rouse and pianist Yefim Bronfman, respectively; an annual festival, which this season is The Beethoven Piano Concertos; CONTACT!, the new-music series, extending its reach this season with more concerts in new venues across the city; and, beginning in the spring of 2014, the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers.

In the 2013–14 season Alan Gilbert conducts Mozart’s three final symphonies; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film is screened, as part of THE ART OF THE SCORE: Film Week at the Philharmonic; the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Frieze coupled with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; world premieres; an all-Britten program celebrating the composer’s centennial; and a staged production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. He also continues The Nielsen Project, the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer’s symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by The New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012. The Music Director will preside over the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour, with stops including Tokyo and Seoul, featuring Artist-in-Residence Yefim Bronfman performing Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse’s Rapture, and Alan Gilbert narrating Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra in Japanese at a Young People’s Concert in Tokyo.

Last season’s highlights included Bach’s B-minor Mass and Ives’s Fourth Symphony, and, during the EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour, participating in the Vienna Konzerthaus’s centennial and performing Lindberg’s Kraft and Rouse’s Prospero’s Rooms at the Volkswagen Transparent Factory. The season concluded with A Dancer’s Dream, a multidisciplinary reimagining of Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss and Petrushka, created by Giants Are Small and starring New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns.

High points of Mr. Gilbert’s first three Philharmonic seasons included the critically celebrated productions of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (2010) and Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen (2011) — both cited as the top cultural events of their respective years — and Philharmonic 360 (2012), the acclaimed spatial music program featuring Stockhausen’s Gruppen.  Other highlights include World Premieres of works by Magnus Lindberg, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, and composers featured on CONTACT!; Mahler’s Second Symphony, Resurrection, on A Concert for New York on September 10; Mr. Gilbert’s Philharmonic debut as violin soloist in J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins; five concerts at Carnegie Hall; five tours to Europe; and the Asia Horizons tour.

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. Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras nationally and internationally, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic. His 2013–14 season engagements include appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Juilliard Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and Orchestre National de Lyon.

Alan Gilbert made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008 leading John Adams’s Doctor Atomic; the DVD and Blu-ray of this production received the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Renée Fleming’s recent Decca recording Poèmes, on which he conducted, received a 2013 Grammy Award. Earlier releases garnered Grammy Award nominations and top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine.

Mr. Gilbert studied at Harvard University, The Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard and was assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra (1995–97). In May 2010 he received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Curtis, and in December 2011 he received Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award for his “exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music.” In 2014 he was elected to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Visit Alan Gilbert's Official Website

Joshua Bell by Bill Phelps

Violinist Joshua Bell is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra leader. In the 2013–14 season he will tour with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields (ASMF), where he was recently named music director — the first person to hold this post since Sir Neville Mariner formed the orchestra in 1958.

Highlights of his 2013–14 season include a European and U.S. tour with the ASMF, performances with the Houston Symphony and Dallas and St. Louis symphony orchestras, and an appearance at Carnegie Hall with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Bell performs the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic, led by Paavo Järvi, and Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. The season also includes a U.S. recital tour and a Kennedy Center appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra.

As a soloist, chamber musician, and conductor, Mr. Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs, garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone, and Echo Klassik Awards. Recent releases include French Impressions with pianist Jeremy Denk, At Home With Friends, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the ASMF, and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic. His discography encompasses the major violin repertoire in addition to John Corigliano’s Oscar-winning soundtrack for The Red Violin.

Joshua Bell’s 2007 incognito subway station performance in Washington, D.C., resulted in a provocative Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning story examining art and context. The conversation continues with the new Annick Press illustrated children’s book, The Man with the Violin.

Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Mr. Bell received his first violin at age four, and at 12 began studying with Josef Gingold at Indiana University. Two years later he came to national attention with Riccardo Muti and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and at age 17, made his Carnegie Hall debut. Mr. Bell, who plays the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius, is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, and recently received the New York Recording Academy Honors, among other accolades.


The New York Choral Consortium, comprised of fifty of the metropolitan area’s performing ensembles, advocates for the visibility and viability of choral music throughout the five boroughs and beyond. The Consortium’s membership includes church choirs, professional choruses, and independent avocational choruses who share a common mission in the value of choral singing to American culture. The group incorporated in 2010 after several years of informal information-sharing and mutual support, and sponsors an opt-in newsletter and choral performance calendar; member workshops and events; and the annual Sing New York festival of choral performances from mid-April into June. The festival culminates in the Big Sing, a massed-choir event to be held this year on June 10.

Kent Tritle is organist of the New York Philharmonic and director of cathedral music and organist at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City. The 2011–12 season marked his seventh as music director of the Oratorio Society of New York, and his fifth season as music director of Musica Sacra, the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York City. He is the founder of Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, the acclaimed concert series now entering its 23rd season at New York’s Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. Mr. Tritle is director of choral activities at the Manhattan School of Music and a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. He is the host of the weekly hour-long radio show The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle on WQXR. From 1996 to 2004 Mr. Tritle was music director of the Emmy-nominated Dessoff Choirs. Under his direction the ensemble performed with The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Czech Philharmonic, as well as on a national Live From Lincoln Center telecast of Mozart’s Requiem. Mr. Tritle has made more than a dozen recordings on the Telarc, AMDG, Epiphany, Gothic, VAI, and MSR Classics labels. His recent CDs with the choir of St. Ignatius Loyola include Ginastera’s The Lamentations of Jeremiah, Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir, and Wondrous Love, featuring music from 1,000 years of sacred repertoire. All have won praise from Gramophone, American Record Guide, and The Choral Journal

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Concert Duration

2 hours

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Special Thanks

These performances are generously supported by The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc. Christopher Rouse is The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence.

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