The New York Philharmonic continues to play a leading
cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world.
This season the Philharmonic will connect with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in New York City and on its worldwide tours; digital downloads; international broadcasts on television, radio, and online; and as a resource through its varied education programs. Alan Gilbert began his tenure as Music Director in September 2009, succeeding musical giants including Lorin Maazel (2002–09); Kurt Masur (Music Director 1991–2002; named Music Director Emeritus in 2002); Zubin Mehta (1978–91); Pierre Boulez (1971–77); Leonard Bernstein (appointed Music Director in 1958; named Laureate Conductor in 1969); Arturo Toscanini (1928–36); and Gustav Mahler (1909–11).
American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, founder and first Conductor of the New York Philharmonic
A champion of the new music of its time, the Philharmonic has commissioned and/or premiered works by leading composers from every era since its founding — Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; Gershwin’s Concerto in F; and Copland’s Connotations, in addition to the U.S. premieres of works such as Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 8 and 9 and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4. This pioneering tradition has continued to the present day, with works of major contemporary composers regularly scheduled each season, including John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize– and Grammy Award–winning On the Transmigration of Souls, dedicated to the victims of 9/11; Christopher Rouse’s Symphony No. 4; Melinda Wagner’s Trombone Concerto; Wynton Marsalis’s Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3); Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2; John Corigliano’s One Sweet Morning, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra; and, by the end of the 2013–14 season, the world premieres of 20 works in CONTACT!, the new-music series. In the spring of 2014 the Philharmonic and Music Director Alan Gilbert inaugurated the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music.
A resource for its community and the world, the New York Philharmonic complements annual free concerts across the city with a wide range of education programs. The Orchestra has continued its famed Young People’s Concerts (ages 6–12), which began in 1924, and developed Very Young People’s Concerts (ages 3–6) and Young People’s Concerts for Schools (grades 3–12). The Philharmonic reaches thousands of students through the immersive classroom program Philharmonic Schools, spearheaded by the Philharmonic’s Teaching Artists; Very Young Composers, which enables students to express themselves through original works, often performed by Philharmonic musicians; and the award-winning, interactive website Kidzone. The Philharmonic offers Pre-Concert Insights, in which scholars and composers introduce each evening’s program, and Insights Series at the Atrium, free discussions delving into the themes of the season. Committed to developing tomorrow’s leading orchestral musicians, the Philharmonic has partnered with cultural institutions at home and abroad to create projects that combine performance with intensive training by Philharmonic musicians. These include four-year collaborations with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Shanghai Conservatory of Music, as well as Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West.
Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic in Central Park during the 2014 Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer
Long a leader in American musical life, the Philharmonic has become renowned around the globe, having appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries on five continents. In October 2009 the Orchestra, led by Music Director Alan Gilbert, made its debut in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the Hanoi Opera House. In February 2008 the musicians, led by then Music Director Lorin Maazel, gave a historic performance in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the first visit there by an American orchestra and an event that was watched around the world, and for which the Philharmonic received the 2008 Common Ground Award for Cultural Diplomacy. Other historic tours have included the groundbreaking 1930 tour to Europe, the first European tour with Toscanini; the first tour of South America and Latin America, in 1958; the first tour to the USSR, in 1959 with Leonard Bernstein; the 1984 Asia Tour, including the first tour of India with Zubin Mehta; the 1998 Asia Tour, with the first performances in mainland China with Kurt Masur; and the 75th Anniversary European Tour in 2005 with Lorin Maazel. In 2012 the Orchestra became an International Associate of London’s Barbican Centre, with an extended residency comprising four concerts, including a London edition of the Young People’s Concerts. Music Director Alan Gilbert led the Orchestra in debut performances in Hanoi and Abu Dhabi in 2009, and in 2013 he conducted the Orchestra in Lindberg’s Kraft and Rouse’s Prospero’s Rooms at Dresden’s Volkswagen Transparent Factory, an event that was shared internationally through a live webcast. The EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour includes stops in London, featuring Giants Are Small’s dramatization of Stravinsky’s Petrushka during the Orchestra’s second International Associate residency at the Barbican Centre; Cologne, with the World Premiere of Peter Eötvös’s Senza sangue; and returns to Dublin and Paris.
The New York Philharmonic, a longtime media pioneer, began radio broadcasts in 1922 and is currently represented by The New York Philharmonic This Week — syndicated nationally 52 weeks per year and available on nyphil.org. On television, in the 1950s and ’60s, the Orchestra inspired a generation through Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts on CBS. Its television presence has continued with annual appearances on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS, and in 2003 it made history as the first orchestra ever to make a solo appearance on the Grammy awards, one of the most-watched television events worldwide. Since 1917 the Philharmonic has made almost 2,000 recordings, with more than 500 currently available. In 2004 the New York Philharmonic was the first major American orchestra to offer downloadable concerts, recorded live. Following on this innovation, in 2009 the Orchestra announced the first-ever subscription download series: Alan Gilbert: The Inaugural Season, available exclusively on iTunes, produced and distributed by the New York Philharmonic, and comprising more than 50 works performed during the 2009–10 season. The Philharmonic’s self-produced recordings continue with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic: 2014–15 Season. The Orchestra also shares its treasure trove of music history online through the ever-expanding New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, which currently makes available all material from 1943 to 1970 from the Archives, one of the world’s most important orchestral research collections.
Founded in 1842 by local musicians led by American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. The roster of composers and conductors who have led the Philharmonic includes such historic figures as Theodore Thomas, Antonín Dvorák, Gustav Mahler (Music Director, 1909–11), Otto Klemperer, Richard Strauss, Willem Mengelberg (Music Director, 1922–30), Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini (Music Director, 1928–36), Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Bruno Walter (Music Advisor, 1947–49), Dimitri Mitropoulos (Music Director, 1949–58), Klaus Tennstedt, George Szell (Music Advisor, 1969–70), and Erich Leinsdorf.