The New York Philharmonic

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Concerts in the Parks - Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
This concert is now past.
Location: Van Cortlandt Park  (Directions)
 
Tue, Jul, 16, 2013
8:00 PM
Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer
Major Corporate Support by Time Warner Inc.
Major Foundation Support by The Ford Foundation


Enter the park from Broadway, near West 251st Street. Concert site is north of the baseball fields
Van Cortlandt Park

Program

  (Click the red play button to listen)

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
Cello Concerto (1895)  
        

Dvořák composed this romantic Concerto during his period of residency in America. Intense, passionate, charged with emotion, and of symphonic proportions, it is considered by many the greatest ever composed for the instrument. After a long orchestral introduction, the cello finally makes its grand entrance. In the Adagio, a memorial to his beloved sister-in-law Josefina Kaunitzová (who died shortly after he returned to Bohemia), he quotes one of her favorite songs: “Let me wander alone with my dreams.” Dvořák reprised that theme in the cello’s most ethereal range. He wrote: “The Finale closes gradually diminuendo, like a sigh — with reminiscences of the first and second movements — the solo dies down to pianissimo — then swells up again and the last bars are taken up by the orchestra and the whole concludes in a stormy mood.”

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Symphony No. 5 (1888)

Guilt about his homosexuality and the brief, disastrous marriage he had embarked on to hide it had already found expression in Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. Eleven years later, he confessed to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck: “Now I shall work my hardest. I am exceedingly anxious to prove to myself, as to others, that I am not played out as a composer. … Have I told you that I intend to write a symphony?” Ever the fragile, self-doubting composer, Tchaikovsky saw himself as a plaything of fate, struggling for happiness. While sketching ideas for the Fifth he noted: “Introduction. Complete submission before Fate — or, what is the same thing, the inscrutable designs of Providence. Allegro. Murmurs, doubts, laments, reproaches against ... XXX [which some feel is Tchaikovsky’s code for his homosexuality].” Even after this symphony’s successful St. Petersburg premiere and the orchestra’s triple fanfare in his honor, Tchaikovsky wrote, “I have come to the conclusion that [the Fifth Symphony] is a failure. The applause and ovations referred not to this but to other works of mine, and the Symphony itself will never please the public.” He couldn’t have been more wrong. To this day the glorious melodies of his emotionally-charged, “heart-on-sleeve” music never cease to thrill audiences, no matter what the composer himself feared or what unkind critics said. Throughout the work, Tchaikovsky employs a motive that is usually taken to symbolize “Fate” or “Providence,” presented in a variety of guises — from subdued to ominous to exultant — as the symphony unfolds. It appears that he has triumphed over fate, as thunderous brass and timpani bring this masterpiece home.

Artists

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

Carter Brey

Carter Brey was appointed Principal Cello, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Chair, of the New York Philharmonic in 1996. He made his official subscription debut with the Orchestra in May 1997 performing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations under the direction of then Music Director Kurt Masur, and has since performed as soloist each season.

From the time of Mr. Brey’s New York and Kennedy Center debuts in 1982, he has been regularly hailed by audiences and critics for his virtuosity, flawless technique, and complete musicianship. He rose to international attention in 1981 as a prizewinner in the Rostropovich International Cello Competition. The winner of the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Prize, Avery Fisher Career Grant, Young Concert Artists’ Michaels Award, and other honors, he also was the first musician to win the Arts Council of America’s Performing Arts Prize.

Mr. Brey has appeared as soloist with virtually all the major orchestras in the United States, and performed under the batons of prominent conductors including Claudio Abbado, Semyon Bychkov, Sergiu Comissiona, and Christoph von Dohnányi. His chamber music career is equally distinguished; he has made regular appearances with the Tokyo and Emerson string quartets as well as The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at festivals such as Spoleto (both in the United States and Italy), and the Santa Fe and La Jolla Chamber Music festivals. He presents an ongoing series of duo recitals with pianist Christopher O’Riley; together they recorded Le Grand Tango: Music of Latin America, a disc of compositions from South America and Mexico released on Helicon Records. On another CD he collaborated with violinist Pamela Frank and violist Paul Neubauer in Aaron Jay Kernis’s Still Movement with Hymn (on Decca’s Argo label). He also recorded all of Chopin’s works for cello and piano with pianist Garrick Ohlssen (currently available on Hyperion).

Mr. Brey was educated at the Peabody Institute, where he studied with Laurence Lesser and Stephen Kates, and at Yale University, where he studied with Aldo Parisot and was a Wardwell Fellow and a Houpt Scholar. His violoncello is a rare J. B. Guadagnini made in Milan in 1754.

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Special Thanks

The New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks and the Free Indoor Concert are presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer.

Major corporate support is provided by Time Warner Inc. Major foundation support is provided by the Ford Foundation.

Support is also provided by The City of New York, through the Department of Cultural Affairs, Kate D. Levin, Commissioner.

Additional support provided by the Herman Goldman Foundation, The Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, The Marc Haas Foundation, and other generous donors. The Concerts in the Parks are presented in cooperation with the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, Michael Bloomberg, Mayor; Veronica M. White, Commissioner; the Borough Presidents; and the City Council of New York.

Fireworks by Bay Fireworks in Central Park, Prospect Park, and Van Cortlandt Park.

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