“Perhaps the most ambitious and extensive contemporary-music festival yet overseen by an American orchestra.” — The New York Times

“By promising to repeat the experiment in 2016, the Philharmonic and its music director Alan Gilbert have turned themselves into a force of permanent revolution.” — New York Magazine

The second NY PHIL BIENNIAL is just around the corner, with more composers and more cutting-edge music!

From Oscar Wilde in opera to Shared Madness (violin showpieces for our time) in Williamsburg, from the Met Museum uptown to the Whitney downtown, from electroacoustic music to a marimba concerto, the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL promises to be even more exciting in its embrace of new music and the city.

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  • Partners
    National Sawdust

    Located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the non-profit National Sawdust is a dynamic home for artists and new music of all kinds. It is a place for exploration and discovery — where emerging and established artists can share their music with serious music fans and casual listeners alike. In a city teeming with venues, National Sawdust is a singular space founded with an expansive vision: to provide composers and musicians across genres with a setting in which they can flourish, and a place where they are given unprecedented support and critical resources essential to create, and then share, their work.
    A diversity of world-class artists, arts organizations, and institutions are collaborating with National Sawdust’s creative and executive director, the composer Paola Prestini, as curators. In addition to hosting rehearsals, performances, recordings, and broadcasts in state-of-the art facilities, National Sawdust commissions new works and arranges workshops and residencies. It aims to be a resource not only for the community of musicians, but also for audiences in search of remarkable musical experiences at accessible ticket prices.
    For the local community, National Sawdust creates progressive public programs and educational initiatives. Other offerings include talks, publications, and mentorship programs for composers and musicians, and for related fields. Designed by Brooklyn’s Bureau V, National Sawdust is constructed within the existing shell of a century-old sawdust factory, preserving the authenticity of Williamsburg’s industrial past while providing a refined and intimate setting for the exploration of new music. At the venue’s core is a flexible chamber hall, acoustically designed by the renowned engineering firm Arup to provide the highest-quality experience of both unamplified and amplified music.


    92nd Street Y

    92nd Street Y is a center for the arts and innovation, a convener of ideas, an incubator for creativity. Founded in 1874, it seeks to create, provide, and disseminate programs of distinction that foster the physical and mental growth of people throughout their lives. From its New York headquarters, 92Y offers thousands of programs, including talks with leaders in every field; outstanding performing, visual, and literary arts presentations and classes; fitness and sports programs; and activities for children and families.
    Through these programs, 92Y creates community far beyond its four walls, bringing people from all over the world together through innovations like the award-winning #GivingTuesday and the Social Good Summit. Along with live webcasts and a growing online archive of free talks and performances, it is transforming the way people share ideas and translate them into action all over the world.
    Since the launch of its Concerts Series in 1936, 92Y has enjoyed international renown for its music presentations. The program now encompasses chamber music, solo recitals, the annual Jazz in July festival, Lyrics & Lyricists™, The Art of the Guitar, contemporary music, and family concerts. It promotes new music through commissions, and nurtures artists at all stages of their careers.
    All of 92Y’s programming is built on a foundation of Jewish values: the capacity of civil dialogue to change minds; the potential of education and the arts to change lives; and a commitment to welcoming and serving people of all ages, races, religions, and ethnicities.


    Aspen Music Festival and School

    The Aspen Music Festival and School is the United States’ premier classical music festival, presenting more than 400 events during its eight-week summer season. The institution draws top classical musicians from around the world to this Colorado mountain retreat for an unparalleled combination of performances and music education. Many events are free and seating on the David Karetsky Music Lawn is always free.
    More than 630 top music students from more than 40 countries come each summer to play in five orchestras, sing, conduct, compose, and study with renowned artist-faculty members.
    Renowned alumni include violinists Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Cho-Liang Lin, Robert McDuffie, Midori, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and Gil Shaham; pianists Ingrid Fliter, Orli Shaham, Conrad Tao, Yuja Wang, Wu Han, and Joyce Yang; conductors Marin Alsop, James Conlon, James Levine, Leonard Slatkin, and Joshua Weilerstein; composers William Bolcom, Philip Glass, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Bright Sheng, and Joan Tower; vocalists Jamie Barton, Danielle de Niese, Sasha Cooke, Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, and Tamara Wilson; cellists Lynn Harrell and Alisa Weilerstein; guitarist Sharon Isbin; performer Peter Schickele; and bassist Edgar Meyer.
    Since 1949 Aspen has had a proud history of commitment to new American music and it is a pleasure to partner with the New York Philharmonic on its visionary NY PHIL BIENNIAL. The two AMFS programs, with each work a New York Premiere, feature pieces by Aspen students, artist faculty, and alumni, with a special place for the great Steven Stucky.


    Interlochen Arts Academy

    Created in 1964, Interlochen Arts Academy is one part of the nationally recognized nonprofit Interlochen Center for the Arts. Since its inception, the Academy has been committed to excellence in the arts and academics, creating an atmosphere of support in which students can achieve the highest possible artistic, intellectual, and ethical standards as individuals and as responsible members of a diverse community.
    Situated on a 1,200-acre campus in northwestern Michigan, Interlochen Arts Academy is the nation’s first fine arts boarding high school, uniting 500 talented and motivated young artists each year who study music, theatre, comparative arts, dance, visual arts, creative writing, motion picture arts, and challenging academics in a college-like setting. Dedicated to providing university-level academic instruction combined with arts instruction from accomplished professionals, the Academy is a fast-paced environment that challenges students, focuses talents, and develops creativity. The 82 outstanding artists and educators who make up the Interlochen Arts Academy faculty instruct a curriculum that prepares students to take prominent roles in any professional endeavor.
    Thanks to a collaborative effort between New York Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien, himself an alumnus of Interlochen Arts Camp, and Interlochen President Jeffrey Kimpton, the Academy Orchestra will perform in Young Americans as part of the NY PHIL BIENNIAL. This is a tremendous opportunity for the students and a milestone for the Academy, which is the only high school invited to participate in the biennial.


    League of Composers/ISCM

    The League of Composers / ISCM is the nation’s oldest organization devoted to contemporary music. Dating back to 1923, it merged with the U.S. section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) in 1954. Its concerts draw on a remarkably rich heritage, and include such groundbreaking premieres as Arnold Schönberg’s Die glückliche Hand, Béla Bartók’s Village Scenes, Samuel Barber’s Piano Sonata, and Anton Webern’s Symphony. The organization more recently presented the American premieres of György Ligeti’s Horn Trio, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Harlequin, and Elliott Carter’s On Conversing with Paradise. The League’s mission is to engage audiences by presenting performances of new music of the highest caliber written by both emerging and established living composers, with an emphasis on American composition.
    The Orchestra of the League of Composers was established in 2009 by ISCM President David Gordon, composer / conductor Louis Karchin, and flutist Sue Ann Kahn. It presented its debut concert at Miller Theatre on June 10, 2009, in a program of music by Elliott Carter, Christopher Dietz, Julia Wolfe, Charles Wuorinen, and Alvin Singleton. Since its founding, it has commissioned ten new works and presented 23 New York or World Premieres. It has collaborated with soloists such as cellist Fred Sherry, baritone Evan Hughes, soprano Kate Lindsay, Philharmonic Principal Oboe Liang Wang, and violist Paul Neubauer. The New York Times and other publications have praised the orchestra for its ‘boundary-erasing spirit,’ ‘stylistically omnivorous programming,’ and its ‘polished’ performances. The orchestra is honored to participate in the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.


    Lincoln Center's Great Performers

    Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Lincoln Center’s Great Performers offers classical and contemporary music performances from the world’s outstanding symphony orchestras, vocalists, chamber ensembles, and recitalists. Since its initiation in 1965, the series, presented by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. (LCPA), has expanded to include significant emerging artists and premieres of groundbreaking productions, with offerings from October through June in Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and other performance spaces around New York City. LCPA maintains a strong commitment to contemporary programming, including composer commissions and residencies. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers 15 programs, series, and festivals, which also include American Songbook, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and White Light Festival, as well as the Emmy Award–winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS.



    LUCERNE FESTIVAL encompasses a series of internationally leading festivals in the realm of classical music. Each year three distinct festivals take place: the Easter Festival, the Summer Festival, and the Piano Festival. LUCERNE FESTIVAL was founded in 1938 and Michael Haefliger has been its executive and artistic director since 1999. Each year the most acclaimed symphony orchestras come to Lucerne to perform: these include such ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. The LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA, which was founded in 2004 by Claudio Abbado and Michael Haefliger, brings internationally acclaimed orchestral musicians to Lucerne each summer for a two-week period. Starting in 2016 Riccardo Chailly will be the orchestra’s new music director. Along with cultivating the traditional repertoire, contemporary music plays an essential role at LUCERNE FESTIVAL in terms of programming and education. Equally important is the development of emerging talent in the areas known as LUCERNE FESTIVAL YOUNG and the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY. The Academy, which was founded by Pierre Boulez and Michael Haefliger, will be under a new directorship starting in 2016, with artistic director Wolfgang Rihm and principal conductor Matthias Pintscher. As LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI, participants of the Academy continue to have an impact in Lucerne and around the world through first-class concert projects. The KKL Luzern, a complex designed by Jean Nouvel and celebrated for its outstanding acoustics and its architecture alike, serves as the central venue for LUCERNE FESTIVAL.



    The groundbreaking live arts series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art explores contemporary performance through the lens of the Museum’s exhibitions and unparalleled gallery spaces with singular performances and talks. MetLiveArts invites artists, performers, curators, and thoughtleaders to explore and collaborate within The Met, leading with new commissions, World Premieres, and site-specific durational performances that have been named some of the most “Memorable” and “Best of” performances in New York City by the The New York Times, New Yorker, and Broadway World.

    About The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    The Met presents more than 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in three iconic sites in New York City — the main building on Fifth Avenue, at The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online.
    Since it was founded in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.


    New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival

    The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF) is dedicated to showcasing the best electroacoustic music and video art from all over the world in New York City, through a multi-day festival in different venues throughout the city. The festivals include electroacoustic music recorded alone in up to eight channels, works involving live electronics, works combining musical instruments or voices with recorded or live electronics, video and multimedia works, and audio and video installations.
    The festival solicits works from electroacoustic music composers not just from New York or the United States, but internationally. It uses a peer-reviewed selection process to ensure the best works are presented. The festival presents not just audio, but also video and multimedia works, as well as installations that offer the most innovative new-music programming.


    Q2 Music

    Q2 Music — WQXR’s online platform dedicated to contemporary classical composers, innovative ensembles, and musical discovery — is proud to partner with the NY PHIL BIENNIAL and its mission to serve audiences for 21st-century classical music. Its programming includes immersive festivals, insightful commentary from hosts such as composer Phil Kline and vocalist Helga Davis, full-length album streams, live webcasts, and exclusive concert audio from local and national venues, as well as special events in front of live audiences at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WQXR. Q2 Music produces Meet the Composer with host Nadia Sirota, a Peabody Award–winning interview podcast that mines the brains of today’s leading composers, as well as LPR Live, a podcast that shares dynamic new-music performances from Greenwich Village’s Le Poisson Rouge. Q2 Music is streamed live, 24 / 7, at www.wqxr.org/q2music and is also available via the free WQXR App.


    Whitney Museum of American Art

    The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942), houses the foremost collection of American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today. The Whitney also has a rich history that dates back to the 1960s of presenting performance in relation to visual art, which has continued to evolve at the Museum’s new building on 99 Gansevoort Street. As part of the Museum’s commitment to presenting work by contemporary composers, the Whitney is delighted to host the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Museum as part of the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.


    Yale School of Music

    Established in 1894, the Yale School of Music continues a position of international leadership in the training of performers and composers. A professional graduate school and the only school of music in the Ivy League, the Yale School of Music maintains a highly selective admissions process, admitting approximately 200 students who come to study with a distinguished faculty. The School of Music has a high international profile: approximately 40 percent of students come from countries outside the United States, and the School engages globally in partnerships with leading conservatories, festivals, and opera companies.
    Alumni of the Yale School of Music hold major positions throughout the music world. Yale graduates perform with and conduct preeminent American and international orchestras, and voice alumni earn renown in professional opera companies. Reflecting the School’s strong chamber music program, many graduates have founded or joined prominent chamber ensembles. Yale composition alumni enjoy noted success, with continual premieres of new music. Along with artistic accomplishment, Yale School of Music graduates provide strong leadership in guiding the course of numerous academic and cultural institutions.
    Our program for the NY PHIL BIENNIAL represents the Yale School of Music composition program — its past, present, and future. It begins with songs by our historically most distinguished student, Charles Ives, and concludes with a song by a very promising student (and fellow New Englander) Hilary Purrington. In between, we offer a set of New York Premieres by the School’s composition faculty: Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Hannah Lash, and Christopher Theofanidis.


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The NY PHIL BIENNIAL, launched in 2014, is a flagship project of the New York Philharmonic exploring the music of today by bringing together a wide-ranging array of composers, partners, performers, and curatorial voices for concerts presented both on the Lincoln Center campus and in venues throughout the city.

Major support for the NY PHIL BIENNIAL is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and The Francis Goelet Fund.

Additional funding is provided by Honey M. Kurtz.