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Alan Gilbert Conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 1

This concert is now past.
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $30.00 - $129.00
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Tue, Sep, 23, 2014
7:30 PM
Fri, Sep, 26, 2014
11:00 AM
Sat, Sep, 27, 2014
8:00 PM
Tue, Sep, 30, 2014
7:30 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


Clarinet Concerto (U.S. Premiere–New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra)

UNSUK CHIN (b. 1961)
Clarinet Concerto (2004)

Unsuk Chin has said, “My music is a reflection of my dreams. I try to render into music the visions of immense light and of an incredible magnificence of colors that I see in all my dreams, a play of light and colors floating through the room and at the same time forming a fluid sound sculpture. Its beauty is very abstract and remote, but it is for these very qualities that it addresses the emotions and can communicate joy and warmth.” The Guardian writes that she has “a formidable ear for sonority and for mining the expressive potential of the slightest nuances of pitch and pulse,” and her publisher calls her work “modern in language, but lyrical and non-doctrinaire in communicative power.” Winner of the 2004 Grawemeyer Award, Unsuk Chin composed this Clarinet Concerto for Finnish clarinetist Kari Kriikku, who is the soloist in these concerts. (After a previous appearance with the Philharmonic, The New Yorker wrote, “Kari Kriikku gave a transcendent virtuoso performance, raucous and rhapsodic by turns.”)


Symphony No. 1

GUSTAV MAHLER (1860–1911)
Symphony No. 1 (1887–88)

Although Mahler provided a “program” for this heart-stopping masterpiece, he later rejected the notion of words being necessary to understand his music. In the published score, the description above the first line was reduced to the words “like a sound of nature.” Things to listen for on this epic symphonic journey include the mysterious awakening of nature; quotations from Mahler’s song cycle Songs of a Wayfarer; and the tune we know as “Frère Jacques,” parodied as an eerie funeral march in the minor mode and played in the upper register of a solo string bass, with steady timpani accompaniment. Mahler created a remarkable work, one so big that it requires augmented orchestral forces. Watch for the seven horn players — bells turned up on their instruments — who proclaim the breathtaking, jubilant finale.



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



Kari Kriikku

Kari Kriikku performed the World Premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Clarinet Concerto with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano in the spring of 2014. He will also perform the concerto throughout the 2014–15 season, including with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. An award-winning interpreter of contemporary music, Mr. Kriikku collaborated with director Peter Sellars on Kaija Saariaho’s award-winning D’OM LE VRAI SENS, a work written for Mr. Kriikku, who  gave its premiere with the Finnish Radio Symphony, conducted by Sakari Oramo (the recording of which earned the Jury Award at the 2013 BBC Music Magazine Awards), and performed it with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by David Robertson; Swedish Radio Symphony and Orquestra Nacional do Porto, both with John Storgårds; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, with Esa-Pekka Salonen; and the Vienna Symphony Radio Orchestra, led by Cornelius Meister. Mr. Kriikku gave the work’s U.S. Premiere with the New World Symphony, led by Susanna Mälkki, and further performed it with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, led by Vladimir Jurowski; Bergen Philharmonic, led by Juanjo Mena; and Tampere Orchestra, led by Santtu-Matias Rouvali. Additionally, Kari Kriikku has premiered Kimmo Hakola’s Clarinet Concerto with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, both led by Semyon Bychkov, and Magnus Lindberg’s Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, also led by Semyon Bychkov, at the 2007 Proms. Mr. Kriikku recorded all of these works for the Ondine label. He is also artistic director of Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, and in June 2009 he received the Nordic Council Music Prize.

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