The New York Philharmonic

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Open Rehearsal

This concert is now past.
Gil Shaham
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $18.00
Thu, Nov, 29, 2012
9:45 AM
All Open Rehearsals are “working” rehearsals and therefore the program may not be played in its entirety. Additionally, we cannot guarantee the appearance of any soloist at an Open Rehearsal.
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)

Symphony (New York Premiere-New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Los Angeles Philharmonic)


Violin Concerto

Violin Concerto (1939)

Soap magnate Samuel Fels (as in Fels Naptha laundry soap) commissioned Samuel Barber to write a violin concerto for his adopted son, Iso Briselli. The latter was not satisfied with the work’s final movement and declined to premiere the piece. In fact, because of its stylistic contrast from the earlier movements, this finale is still considered controversial, but that has not kept the work from being one of the most frequently performed of the 20th century. The concerto begins without orchestral introduction — with the violin immediately stepping into the spotlight — and establishes a soaring, lyrical serenity. A lush middle movement opens with an extended oboe solo that also encompasses melancholy and dark passages. But the mood does change in the final Presto in moto perpetuo (“in perpetual motion”), whose angularity and shifting accents demand extraordinary virtuosity from the soloist. Seen and Hear International stated that the Philharmonic’s 2014–15 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Lisa Batiashvili’s performance of the Barber was “without doubt the highlight of the concert.”


Symphonic Dances

Symphonic Dances (1940)

"In my own composition, no conscious effort has been made to be original, or Romantic, or Nationalist, or anything else. I write down on paper the music I hear within me, as naturally as say simply and directly what is in my heart..." So said Sergei Rachmaninoff. And he dedicated his last — and for many Rach fans his greatest — orchestral work, Symphonic Dances, to Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra who premiered it in 1941. Though many years had elapsed since the composer and his family were forced to flee Russia in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the trauma of that experience marked him forever as a melancholy man. He eventually settled in the United States, but having to support his family as a professional pianist left him unable to compose as much as he wanted. Rachmaninoff was a latter-day Romantic who stuck to his harmonic language, including in his Symphonic Dances, while the winds of modernism swirled around him. In the three-part first dance, a falling motif of three notes, varied and passed around the orchestra, is the source from which the movement evolves; in the middle section an alto saxophone plays a haunting, lyrical theme; and pulsating percussion lends an exciting urgency to the music. Listen also for the sound of a glockenspiel in the coda. The second dance, with its marking of Tempo di valse, brings to mind a Tchaikovskian rather than a Straussian waltz, but also the darker, more eerie harmonies of Ravel's La valse. And in the last movement Rachmaninoff evokes Russian Orthodox chants, his own astonishing choral work, Vespers, and the Dies irae from the Mass for the Dead, and includes the mysterious sound of tubular bells. After he completed Symphonic Dances he told a friend: "I don't know how it happened. It must have been my last spark." And at the end of the score he wrote: "I thank thee, Lord."


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



Gil Shaham by Christian Steiner

Violinist Gil Shaham is sought after as a concerto, recital, and ensemble artist by the world's leading orchestras, venues, and festivals. In the 2011–12 season he continues his long-term exploration of violin concertos of the 1930s with the New York Philharmonic, New World and Virginia Symphonies, Atlanta and London Symphony Orchestras, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Other season highlights include Brahms's Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and appearances with the orchestras of San Francisco, Boston, and Delaware. This fall he is exploring Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin on a U.S. recital tour.

Mr. Shaham has released more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs, including bestsellers that have appeared on record charts in the U.S. and abroad, winning him multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or, and Gramophone Editor's Choice. His recent recordings are produced on the Canary Classics label, which he founded in 2004; they include Haydn violin concertos and Mendelssohn's Octet with the Sejong Soloists; Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works; Elgar's Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; The Butterfly Lovers and Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto; Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio in A major with pianist Yefim Bronfman and cellist Truls Mørk; The Prokofiev Album; The Fauré Album; Mozart in Paris; and works by Haydn and Mendelssohn.

Gil Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Award. He plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius.

Learn more about Gil Shaham


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