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Alan Gilbert, Joshua Bell, Bernstein, Ives, and Rouse Premiere

This concert is now past.
Joshua Bell
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $41.00 - $123.00

Concert Duration

2 hours
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
The 2014-15 Season

Program (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. As New York magazine wrote, “The Philharmonic and its music director Alan Gilbert have turned themselves into a force of permanent revolution.”

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 2014–15 season by Christopher Rouse and violinist Lisa Batiashvili, respectively, as well as the new position of Artist-in-Association, inaugurated by Inon Barnatan this season; an annual festival, which this season is Dohnányi / Dvořák; 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 inaugurated in spring 2014.

In the 2014–15 season Alan Gilbert conducts the U.S. Premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Clarinet Concerto, a Philharmonic co-commission, alongside Mahler’s First Symphony; La Dolce Vita: The Music of Italian Cinema with Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, and Josh Groban; Verdi’s Requiem; a staging of Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake featuring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard; World Premieres by John Adams, Peter Eötvös, and Christopher Rouse; works by contemporary Nordic composers during CONTACT!; and the Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma’s 15th-anniversary celebration. He concludes 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 presides over the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour with stops including London, featuring Giants Are Small’s theatrical reimagining of Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka as part of the Orchestra’s second International Associate residency at the Barbican Centre; Cologne, where he leads the World Premiere of Peter Eötvös’s Senza sangue, a Philharmonic co-commission; and returns to Dublin and Paris.

Last season’s highlights included the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL; Mozart’s three final symphonies; 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; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film was screened; the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour; and a staged production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. High points of Mr. Gilbert’s first four Philharmonic seasons included 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 Ballets by Stravinsky (2013, and later presented in movie theaters internationally). Other highlights included 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; six tours to Europe; and the Asia Horizons tour.

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, Berlin Philharmonic, 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. In 2014–15 he conducts the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra’s season-opening concerts and on tour in Lucerne, Berlin, and London; Mozart’s Don Giovanni at The Metropolitan Opera; and The Philadelphia, Munich Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and NDR Symphony orchestras.

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.

Visit Alan Gilbert's Official Website

Learn more about Alan Gilbert



Joshua Bell by Bill Phelps

In his more than 30-year career as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, conductor, and outspoken advocate for classical music and music education in schools, Joshua Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs which have garnered Mercury, Grammy, Gramophone, and Echo Klassik awards. His releases include Musical Gifts from Joshua Bell and Friends, French Impressions with pianist Jeremy Denk, and At Home with Friends; Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Defiance sound track, John Corigliano’s The Red Violin Concerto and the Oscar-winning sound track to The Red Violin; Voice of the Violin; and Romance of the Violin (named Billboard’s 2004 Classical CD of the Year and earning Mr. Bell Billboard’s Classical Artist of the Year award).

Recently named the music director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Joshua Bell is the first to hold this post since Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. The ensemble’s first recording under Mr. Bell’s leadership, Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 on Sony Classical, made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Classical chart. Mr. Bell’s recording of the Bach violin concertos will be released September 29, 2014, to coincide with the airing of the HBO documentary special Joshua Bell: A YoungArts MasterClass. 

Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Joshua 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 in his debut with Riccardo Muti and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and at age 17 he made his Carnegie Hall debut. He performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius. Joshua Bell made his New York Philharmonic debut in April 1990 performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, led by Charles Dutoit; he most recently appeared with the Orchestra in December 2013 in a special appearance at the New Year’s Eve concert with Igudesman & Joo.

Learn more about Joshua Bell


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.

Learn more about Members of the New York Choral Consortium



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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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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