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Alan Gilbert Conducts Strauss and Rouse

This concert is now past.
Alan Gilbert
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $29.00 - $99.00

Concert Duration

1 hour 30 minutes
Thu, Nov, 14, 2013
7:30 PM
Fri, Nov, 15, 2013
2:00 PM
Sat, Nov, 16, 2013
8:00 PM
Tue, Nov, 19, 2013
7:30 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


Don Juan

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864 -1949)
Don Juan (1888)

The legend of the notorious lover, Don Juan, has been grist for literary and musical mills for centuries. But the brilliant score by the then-just-24-year-old Richard Strauss, already at the top of his game, shows us a Don who is different from most versions of him. Unlike Mozart’s more traditional image of the libertine in Don Giovanni, for example, Strauss’s depiction is based on an unfinished verse-play (written in 1844, published posthumously in 1851) by the dramatist/poet Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850), in which the world-weary hero tires of his search for the ideal of womanhood. In the brief span of around 16 or 17 minutes of intense music, Strauss depicts Don Juan’s character in a flurry of upward-rushing notes—as if he were setting out on yet another quest. Exquisitely beautiful music shows him in two sensuous love scenes. And in eerily scored, shuddering gestures he allows himself to be killed in a duel—an unceremonious demise for the iconic Don. Strauss always demands extraordinary virtuosity from orchestras, and players love to perform his works. The composer wrote to his father (himself a horn player) about the challenges of this tone poem for the Weimar orchestra, which “huffed and puffed…One of the horn players sat there, out of breath, sweat pouring from his brow, asking ‘Good God, in what have we sinned that you should send us this scourge!’…I was really sorry for the wretched brass. They were quite blue in the face; the whole affair was so strenuous.” Think of that, as you listen to Don Juan’s brilliant signature horn calls.

Oboe Concerto

CHRISTOPHER ROUSE (born in 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland)
Oboe Concerto (2004) (New York Premiere) 

Christopher Rouse has had an ongoing relationship with the New York Philharmonic for a number of years; in February 2009, the orchestra gave the world premiere of Odna Zhizn (A Life). This season, our principal oboist Liang Wang solos in the New York premiere of Rouse’s Oboe Concerto, commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra. The number of Rouse’s concertos is impressive—more than ten since 1985: violin, cello, flute, percussion, guitar, and clarinet, plus the Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto and Seeing, for pianist Emanuel Ax (both commissioned by the New York Philharmonic). In Rouse’s program notes about the present work he comments, “I have noticed that [my concerti] seem to fall into one of two categories: ‘somber’ (e.g., trombone, violoncello) and ‘genial’ (guitar, clarinet). My oboe concerto…is of the latter variety. (I used to employ the term ‘recreational’ to refer to works of this type until I realized that it would be wrong to create the impression that composing them was a form of recreation. It isn’t; it’s hard work!)” Rouse also explains the nature of the musical material and its demands on the soloist: “There is no overt program to this piece. It aims, of course, to explore the capabilities of the oboe, of which the first in everyone’s mind is its capacity to play long, lyrical lines.” But he did not want “to deny the instrument’s more virtuosic attributes, and so there are plenty of moments when the soloist is asked to play music requiring substantial agility”; as a result, the concerto represents a kind of interplay between those lyrical and virtuosic qualities. A five-note chord in the strings at the beginning is the source for much of the melodic and harmonic material that metamorphoses, by turns, into dreamy, meditative, sensuous, lyrical, and colorful music.

Also sprach Zarathustra

Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra) freely composed after Friedrich Nietzsche (1895-96)

When popular culture delves into classical music, even if it’s just a few measures of a composition, as was the case with Also sprach Zarathustra in the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the attendees for all the live concert performances of the work pale in comparison to the number of movie goers who have heard the soundtrack of the film. 2001 immortalized Richard Strauss’s composition, inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s 1885 philosophical poem of the same name, which in turn was based on the sixth century BCE Persian prophet Zoroaster. Strauss explained, “I did not intend to write philosophical music or portray Nietzsche’s work musically. I meant rather to convey in music an idea of the evolution of the human race from its origin, through the various phases of development, religious as well as scientific, up to Nietzsche’s idea of the Superman.” Tone poems draw inspiration from literary or other sources, and Strauss excelled at composing them. (Never someone to be everly modest, he once said: “I want to be able to depict in music a glass of beer so accurately that every listener can tell whether it is a Pilsner or a Kulmbacher!”) Strauss’s brilliant orchestral blockbuster “depicts” the opening of Nietzsche’s book—as the prophet apostrophizes the sun—with a majestic rising fanfare—with trumpets, full orchestra, and organ—that hails the primeval sunrise. Eight more sections follow, including “Of the Back-world Dwellers,” “Of the Great Longing,” “Of Joys and Passions,” and the finale, “Night Wanderer’s Song” with a bell that ominously tolls midnight and which, in the final tranquil moments, pits two opposing keys, C and B Major, against each other in an unresolved chord that suggests the mystery of life and the universe.



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



Liang Wang

Liang Wang joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2006 as Principal Oboe. Previously, he was principal oboe of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (2005–06), and principal oboe of the Santa Fe Opera in the 2004–05 season.

Born in Qing Dao, China, in 1980, Mr. Wang comes from a musical family. His mother was an amateur singer; his uncle was a professional oboist, and Mr. Wang began oboe studies with him at the age of seven. In 1993 he enrolled at the Beijing Central Conservatory, and two years later attended Idyllwild Arts Academy in California. During his time there he was the Jack Smith Award Winner at the Pasadena Instrumental Competition, a two-time winner of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Fellowship, and a winner at the Spotlight Competition of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Liang Wang made his Carnegie Hall debut in April 2011 performing Chen Qigang’s Extase, and he was invited by the Presidents of China and France to perform the work with the Orchestre Colonne de France at Versailles’s Royal Opera House in March 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of France-China diplomacy. Other recent appearances include Mozart’s Oboe Concerto with Les Violons du Roy, led by Bernard Labadie, in Quebec City; Mozart and Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concertos on tour with all of China’s major symphony orchestras; and J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Mr. Wang completed his bachelor’s degree in 2003 at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with Philadelphia Orchestra principal oboist Richard Woodhams. While at Curtis, he was a fellowship recipient at both the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he studied with John de Lancie, the former Principal Oboist of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Wang was a prize winner at the 2003 Fernard Gillet International Oboe Competition.

Since graduating from Curtis, Mr. Wang has served as principal oboe with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and associate principal oboe of the San Francisco Symphony; he was also a guest principal oboist with the Chicago and San Francisco symphony orchestras. An active chamber musician, he has appeared with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Angel Fire Music Festival, and he has appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra in Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto. He has given master classes at the Cincinnati Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Mannes, and The Curtis Institute of Music; was on the oboe faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, is currently on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and New York University, and is an honorary professor at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music and the Shanghai Conservatory.

Learn more about Liang Wang


Glenn Dicterow

Glenn Dicterow has established himself worldwide as one of the most prominent American concert artists of his generation. His extraordinary musical gifts became apparent when, at age 11, he made his solo debut in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (where his father, Harold Dicterow, served as principal of the second violin section for 52 years). In the following years, Mr. Dicterow became one of the most sought-after young artists, appearing as soloist from coast to coast.

Mr. Dicterow, who has won numerous awards and competitions, is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he was a student of Ivan Galamian. In 1967, at the age of 18, he performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Andre Kostelanetz in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. In 1980 he joined the Orchestra as Concertmaster, and has since performed as soloist every year, most recently in Brahms’s Double Concerto in November 2012, with cellist Alisa Weilerstein, conducted by Case Scaglione. Prior to joining the New York Philharmonic, he served as Associate Concertmaster and Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Mr. Dicterow, who frequently appears as a guest soloist with other orchestras, has made numerous recordings. His most recent CD is a solo recital for Cala Records entitled New York Legends, featuring John Corigliano’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing, the premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, and Martinů’s Three Madrigals for violin and viola, in collaboration with violist Karen Dreyfus and pianist Gerald Robbins. His recording of Bernstein’s Serenade, on Volume 2 of the American Celebration set, is available on the New York Philharmonic’s Website, Mr. Dicterow can also be heard in the violin solos of the film scores for The Turning Point, The Untouchables, Altered States, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Interview with the Vampire, among others. Glenn Dicterow is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, as well as a faculty artist at the Music Academy of the West, following three years of participation in Music Academy Summer Festivals. Beginning in the fall of 2013, he will become the first to hold the Robert Mann Chair in Strings and Chamber Music at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Learn about The Glenn Dicterow Fund.

Learn more about Glenn Dicterow

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Special Thanks

Christopher Rouse is The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence.

Additional support by The Francis Goelet Fund.


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