The New York Philharmonic plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world.

This season the Philharmonic will connect with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in New York City and on its worldwide tours and residencies; digital recording series; international broadcasts on television, radio, and online; and as a resource through its varied education programs. Alan Gilbert began his tenure as Music Director in September 2009, succeeding musical giants including Lorin Maazel (2002–09); Kurt Masur (Music Director 1991–2002; named Music Director Emeritus in 2002); Zubin Mehta (1978–91); Pierre Boulez (1971–77); Leonard Bernstein (appointed Music Director in 1958; named Laureate Conductor in 1969); Arturo Toscanini (1928–36); and Gustav Mahler (1909–11). 

Ureli Corelli Hill
American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, founder and first Conductor of the New York Philharmonic

Today, the Orchestra’s performances are enriched by collaborations among today’s leading artists, a philosophy behind the creations of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, a position currently held by Esa-Pekka Salonen; The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, now held by bass-baritone Eric Owens; and Artist-in-Association, who is now pianist Inon Barnatan. The Philharmonic works with institutional partners on groundbreaking initiatives, including critically acclaimed staged productions; the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, which will return in 2016; and the Lincoln Center–New York Philharmonic Opera Initiative.

A champion of the new music of its time, the Philharmonic has commissioned and/or premiered works by leading composers from every era since its founding — Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; Gershwin’s Concerto in F; and Berio’s Sinfonia, in addition to the U.S. premieres of works such as Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 8 and 9 and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4. This pioneering tradition has continued to the present day, with works of major contemporary composers regularly scheduled each season, including John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize– and Grammy Award–winning On the Transmigration of Souls, dedicated to the victims of 9/11, and Scheherazade.2 — Dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra; Christopher Rouse’s Symphony No. 4 and Thunderstuck; Melinda Wagner’s Trombone Concerto; Wynton Marsalis’s Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3); Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2; John Corigliano’s One Sweet Morning, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra; and, by the end of the 2014–15 season, the World Premieres of 21 works in CONTACT!, the new-music series.

Central Park concert
Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic in Central Park during the 2014 Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer

A resource for its community and the world, the New York Philharmonic complements annual free concerts across the city — including the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, which celebrated 50 years in the summer of 2015 — with Philharmonic Free Fridays, which offers free tickets to young people ages 13 to 26, and a wide range of education programs. The Orchestra has continued its famed Young People’s Concerts (ages 6–12), which began in 1924, and developed Very Young People’s Concerts (ages 3–6) and Young People’s Concerts for Schools (grades 3–12). The Philharmonic reaches thousands of students through the immersive classroom program Philharmonic Schools, spearheaded by the Philharmonic’s Teaching Artists; Very Young Composers, which enables students to express themselves through original works, often performed by Philharmonic musicians; and the award-winning, interactive website Kidzone. The Philharmonic offers Pre-Concert Insights, in which scholars and composers introduce each evening’s program, and Insights at the Atrium, free discussions delving into the themes of the season.

Committed to developing tomorrow’s leading orchestral musicians, the Philharmonic has established the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, customized collaborations with partners worldwide that offer intensive training of pre-professional musicians by New York Philharmonic members, often alongside regular performance residencies by the full Orchestra. These include the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership and collaborations with Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West and The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Global Academy activities in 2015–16 include Philharmonic musicians traveling to Shanghai and Santa Barbara to train students; select students from the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, Music Academy of the West, and The Shepherd School of Music traveling to New York City to train and play with Philharmonic musicians as Zarin Mehta Fellows; the full Orchestra returning to Shanghai in summer 2016 for its second annual performance residency; and Alan Gilbert making his second appearance conducting the Academy Festival Orchestra. In addition, in 2015–16 the Philharmonic will launch its five-year residency partnership with the University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan with three performances.

Long a leader in American musical life, the Philharmonic has become renowned around the globe, having appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries on five continents. In October 2009 the Orchestra, led by Music Director Alan Gilbert, made its debut in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the Hanoi Opera House. In February 2008 the musicians, led by then Music Director Lorin Maazel, gave a historic performance in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the first visit there by an American orchestra and an event that was watched around the world, and for which the Philharmonic received the 2008 Common Ground Award for Cultural Diplomacy. Other historic tours have included the groundbreaking 1930 tour to Europe, the first European tour with Toscanini; the first tour of South America and Latin America, in 1958; the first tour to the USSR, in 1959 with Leonard Bernstein; the 1984 Asia Tour, including the first tour of India with Zubin Mehta; the 1998 Asia Tour, with the first performances in mainland China with Kurt Masur; and the 75th Anniversary European Tour in 2005 with Lorin Maazel. In 2012 the Orchestra became an International Associate of London’s Barbican Centre, with an extended residency comprising four concerts, including a London edition of the Young People’s Concerts; at its second International Associates residency at the Barbican Centre in 2015, the Philharmonic presented several signature projects including Giants Are Small’s dramatization of Stravinsky’s Petrushka, a Young People’s Concert, Very Young Composers of New York and London, and a CONTACT! concert. Music Director Alan Gilbert led the Orchestra in debut performances in Hanoi and Abu Dhabi in 2009, and in 2013 he conducted the Orchestra in Lindberg’s Kraft and Rouse’s Prospero’s Rooms at Dresden’s Volkswagen Transparent Factory, an event that was shared internationally through a live webcast.

The New York Philharmonic, a longtime media pioneer, began radio broadcasts in 1922 and is currently represented by The New York Philharmonic This Week — syndicated nationally 52 weeks per year and available on On television, in the 1950s and ’60s, the Orchestra inspired a generation through Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts on CBS. Its television presence has continued with annual appearances on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS, and in 2003 it made history as the first orchestra ever to make a solo appearance on the Grammy awards, one of the most-watched television events worldwide. Since 1917 the Philharmonic has made almost 2,000 recordings, with more than 500 currently available. In 2004 the New York Philharmonic was the first major American orchestra to offer downloadable concerts, recorded live. Following on this innovation, in 2009 the Orchestra announced the first-ever subscription download series: Alan Gilbert: The Inaugural Season, available exclusively on iTunes, produced and distributed by the New York Philharmonic, and comprising more than 50 works performed during the 2009–10 season. The Philharmonic’s self-produced digital recording series continues with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic: 2015–16 Season. The Orchestra also shares its treasure trove of music history online through the ever-expanding New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, which currently makes available every printed program since 1842; by the end of 2018 more than three million pages of documents from the Archives, one of the world’s most important orchestral research collections, will be available for free.

Founded in 1842 by local musicians led by American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. The roster of composers and conductors who have led the Philharmonic includes such historic figures as Theodore Thomas, Antonín Dvořák, Gustav Mahler (Music Director, 1909–11), Otto Klemperer, Richard Strauss, Willem Mengelberg (Music Director, 1922–30), Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini (Music Director, 1928–36), Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Bruno Walter (Music Advisor, 1947–49), Dimitri Mitropoulos (Music Director, 1949–58), Klaus Tennstedt, George Szell (Music Advisor, 1969–70), and Erich Leinsdorf.