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. As The New Yorker wrote, “Gilbert has made an indelible mark on the orchestra’s history and that of the city itself.”
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 2015–16 season by Esa-Pekka Salonen and bass-baritone Eric Owens, respectively — as well as Artist-in-Association, currently held by pianist Inon Barnatan, who inaugurated the role in the 2014–15 season; an annual festival, which this season is Rachmaninoff: A Philharmonic Festival, featuring pianist Daniil Trifonov; CONTACT!, the new-music series; and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers. During his tenure the Philharmonic launched the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, partnerships with cultural institutions to offer training of pre-professional musicians, often alongside performance residencies. 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.
In the 2015–16 season Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic in R. Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben to welcome newly appointed Concertmaster Frank Huang; Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala; premieres by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Magnus Lindberg, Franck Krawczyk, William Bolcom, and Marc Neikrug; Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde; works by Sibelius in celebration of his 150th anniversary; and an all-Mozart program. He also co-curates the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL — during which he conducts the World Premiere of Bolcom’s Trombone Concerto, a Philharmonic co-commission, as well as the U.S. Premiere of Symphony No. 8 by Per Nørgård, the second recipient of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic, an honor introduced during Alan Gilbert’s tenure. The Music Director performs on the violin alongside Philharmonic principals and Mr. Barnatan in Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur as part of the Philharmonic’s Messiaen Week. Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic launch a five-year partnership with the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan. Under the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, he will lead the Orchestra in its second performance residency through the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership and make his second appearance conducting the Academy Festival Orchestra as part of the partnership with Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West.
Last season’s highlights included a staging of Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake featuring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard; the U.S. Premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Clarinet Concerto, a Philharmonic co-commission, alongside Mahler’s First Symphony; the Verdi Requiem; three World Premieres; works by contemporary Nordic composers during CONTACT!; the Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma’s 15th-anniversary celebration; the conclusion of The Nielsen Project, the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer’s symphonies and concertos; and the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour. In August 2015 he led the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the U.S. Stage Premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, co-presented by the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center as part of the Lincoln Center–New York Philharmonic Opera Initiative. High points of Mr. Gilbert’s first five Philharmonic seasons include the critically celebrated productions of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (2010) and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (2011) — both cited as the top cultural events of their respective years — as well as Philharmonic 360 at Park Avenue Armory (2012), the acclaimed spatial music program featuring Stockhausen’s Gruppen, and A Dancer’s Dream: Two Works by Stravinsky (2013, and later presented in movie theaters internationally). Other highlights include the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL; a staged production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson that was broadcast on Live From Lincoln Center, earning Mr. Gilbert a 2015 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music Direction; World Premieres of works by Magnus Lindberg, Christopher Rouse, John Corigliano, John Adams, and composers featured on CONTACT!; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film was screened; 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; and nine tours around the world.
Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and former principal guest conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras nationally and internationally, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra della Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He has appeared at The Metropolitan, Los Angeles, Zurich, Royal Swedish, and Santa Fe opera companies. This season Mr. Gilbert makes debuts with four great European orchestras — Filarmonica della Scala, Dresden Staatskapelle, London Symphony, and Academy of St Martin in the Fields — and returns to The Cleveland Orchestra and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
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. He 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, and in 2015 he received a Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy and was named Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
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