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There will be no late seating for this performance. Please allow enough time to arrive at the hall so that you are seated on time.

Emanuel Ax Plays Mozart and Alan Gilbert Conducts Bruckner

This concert is now past.
Emanuel Ax
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $41.00 - $139.00

Concert Duration

2 hours
Wed, Apr, 24, 2013
7:30 PM
Thu, Apr, 25, 2013
7:30 PM
Sat, Apr, 27, 2013
8:00 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


Piano Concerto No. 25

Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, K. 503 (1786)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's star was in decline when he was writing his 25th piano concerto. He had moved to the imperial city of Vienna in 1781 to make his fortune in the world's music capital, and had indeed been successful for a time. But interest in his works and concerts would soon wane (with the notable exception of continued acclaim for his operas). In an effort to raise money, he composed this 25th concerto in 1786 for a series of Advent concerts (though they apparently never took place). It was the last of twelve concertos he had written for his own use over an amazing three-year span of creativity. It was finally premiered in 1787. But with the exception of a performance in the mid-1930s by the eminent pianist Artur Schnabel and the Vienna Philharmonic, it lay essentially neglected for a century and a half until after World War II, when it entered the regular concert repertoire. Today it is appreciated for the masterpiece it is. In his commentary on Mozart's piano concertos the renowned music authority, H. C. Robbins Landon, was high in praise of K. 503, calling it "the grandest, most difficult and most symphonic of them all." It is a creation of stately proportions and classic elegance, with the accompanying orchestra, enhanced by trumpets and timpani, playing a greater role than in Mozart's earlier composition in the genre. Restrained nobility characterizes the opening movement, which then gives way to a certain calm in the lyrical Andante. Charles Rosen in his book The Classical Style refers to its "beautiful combination of simplicity and lavish decoration (with a great variety and contrast of rhythms)." The finale shifts between major and minor modes, passion and songful passages, tenderness and majesty — a satisfying way to end this splendid concerto.

Symphony No. 3 in D Minor

ANTON BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, "Wagner" (1873, plus many revisions)

In 1873, in hopes of finding a champion, the timid but determined Anton Bruckner showed up on the Bayreuth doorstep of his idol, composer Richard Wagner, and asked whether he might dedicate a symphony to him, and offering a choice between his Second and the as-yet-unfinished Third symphonies. Not known for his humility, Wagner selected the Third, which included quotations from his operas, Die Walküre and Tristan und Isolde, and which Bruckner therefore dubbed "Wagner Symphony." That dedication plunged the shy and not-worldly-wise Bruckner into the middle of the poisonous musical wars in full force in Vienna between the "avant-garde," pro-Wagner faction and the more traditional classical, pro-Brahms faction. And it meant that Bruckner would be asking for a scathing review from the influential, mean-spirited, pro-Brahms music critic, Eduard Hanslick. Bruckner hoped that the Vienna Philharmonic would schedule a performance of the Third Symphony, but they were understandably skeptical about its audience appeal without Hanslick's imprimatur. Bruckner revised and shortened the work and deleted the Wagner references, and was finally able to premiere it himself in 1877. Still, it was a failure. The Third Symphony exists in no fewer than nine versions, because Bruckner was all too ready to accept the tinkering of others who thought they could improve on the composer's works. After a variety of false starts and changes of minds, Hans Richter conducted the 1890 performance that garnered Bruckner 12 curtain calls. It is usually the 1889 version of the Symphony No. 3 that is performed today. The epic sweep and rich brass sonorities unfolding in all their majesty — hallmarks of Bruckner's unique sound — make the Third Symphony an exhilarating sonic experience.


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



Emanuel Ax

Internationally renowned pianist Emanuel Ax began his 2013–14 season with appearances at the Barbican Centre; with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink, at Avery Fisher Hall; and collaborations with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, led by Mariss Jansons, in Amsterdam, Bucharest, China, and Japan, as part of that orchestra’s world-wide centenary celebrations. The second half of the season sees the realization of a project that includes performances of works by Brahms along with new pieces from composers Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Brett Dean, and Anders Hillborg, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cal Performances Berkeley, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall, and featuring appearances by mezzo-soprano Anne-Sophie von Otter and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. At the conclusion of the season, Mr. Ax will travel to Hong Kong and Australia for a complete cycle of Beethoven concertos conducted by David Robertson in Sydney and with Sir Andrew Davis in Melbourne.

In conjunction with his role as the New York Philharmonic’s 2012–13 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, Sony Classical released his latest recital disc of works ranging from Haydn to Schumann to Copland, reflecting their different uses of the “variation” concept. In the spring of 2013 he joined the Orchestra on its European tour led by Music Director Alan Gilbert.

Mr. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987. His releases include Mendelssohn trios with cellist Yo-Yo- Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman; R. Strauss’s Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart; and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. In recent years Mr. Ax has premiered the music of 20th-century composers John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner. 

Born in Lvov, Poland, pianist Emanuel Ax studied at The Juilliard School, won a Young Concert Artists Award, and majored in French at Columbia University. In 1974 he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv, followed by the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, and the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. 

Learn more about Emanuel Ax

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Special Thanks

Emanuel Ax is The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence


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