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What’s New

Benjamin Grosvenor Receives Inaugural Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize

This just in: the New York Philharmonic has announced the creation of the Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize at the New York Philharmonic.

The inaugural recipient: 24-year-old pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. (Check out his video message above.)

The Ackman Prize will be awarded every three years to an up-and-coming pianist or piano duo chosen by prominent pianists, Philharmonic leadership, and other musical figures. Prize winners receive $30,000 and will perform with the Philharmonic, play chamber music with Philharmonic musicians, and serve as classical music ambassadors, taking part in community engagement and education initiatives around New York City.

Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman backstage at David Geffen Hall

The Ackman Prize is made possible by a generous gift from Philharmonic Board Member Lawrence Ackman and his wife, Ronnie (at left). Ronnie Ackman is a pianist, and the Ackmans’ subscription, which originally belonged to Mr. Ackman’s grandmother, dates to 1942.

You can next hear Grosvenor with the Philharmonic April 4–7, 2018, his Philharmonic subscription debut and first collaboration with the Philharmonic in New York City. Program details and other activities will be announced at a later date.

Congratulations, Benjamin, and see you soon!

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Alan Gilbert Receives National Arts Club Medal of Honor

Music Director Alan Gilbert and National Arts Club President Linda Zagaria

The National Arts Club has bestowed Alan Gilbert with its Medal of Honor in Music as he begins his farewell season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. The honor recognizes Alan’s wide-ranging contributions to the Philharmonic and symphonic music in the 21st century, from creating new ways for audiences to experience the art form to music education, through his position as Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School. Past recipients include Plácido Domingo, James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Van Cliburn, Isaac Stern, and Emanuel Ax.

New York Philharmonic Artist-in-Association Inon Barnatan at the National Arts Club

The presentation was on October 13 at the Club’s Gramercy Park clubhouse. It included speeches by Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson and Juilliard School Provost and Dean Ara Guzelimian, as well as a piano performance by New York Philharmonic Artist-in-Association Inon Barnatan.

Congratulations, Alan!

(Photos: Shannon Nallan for the National Arts Club)

Esa-Pekka Salonen Starts New Season as Composer-in-Residence with Circle Map

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the New York Philharmonic

Esa-Pekka Salonen’s second season as The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence got off to a thrilling start last night when he conducted the Orchestra in Circle Map, a program of immersive spatial works by Finnish compatriot Kaija Saariaho presented by Park Avenue Armory. 

Salonen has expanded the role of Composer-in-Residence to fuse performance and curating with composition. He returns later this season as composer when the Orchestra performs the New York Premieres of his Wing on Wing and Cello Concerto, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist, and to conduct a U.S. Premiere by Tansy Davies with Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra.

Mr. Salonen’s frequent collaborator, Saariaho is known for her mastery of spectralism, which uses computers to analyze and explore the nature of sound and for its full realization requires a massive open space allowing sound to surround the audience. The Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall (remember Philharmonic 360?) was more than adequate!

The program includes the New York Premieres of Lumière et Pesanteur; D’OM LE VRAI SENS, for Clarinet and Orchestra, with Kari Kriikku as soloist; and Circle Map, as well as Lonh, for soprano and electronics, featuring soprano Jennifer Zetlan. Director Pierre Audi has created an immersive presentation that continually shifts the relationship between performers and audience. The staging places the Philharmonic at the center of the hall, with audience members in a half-round seating arrangement and performances taking place throughout. Longtime Kaija Saariaho collaborator Jean-Baptiste Barrière translates the composer’s soundscapes into projections that include interpretations of literary and visual artworks that inspired specific compositions.

(Photos: Chris Lee)

On the Cover: Frank Huang

“It’s not every day that you get to take a selfie with Oprah.”

Concertmaster Frank Huang, October’s On the Cover musician, is recalling highlights from last season, his first in the chair. Another was the very next night, when he mastered R. Strauss’s daunting solos in Ein Heldenleben. The most meaningful? Having his family in the audience. It was the culmination of years of dedication — and the start of a new chapter.

Watch Frank reflect on his experience with the New York Philharmonic in the video above. Later this month, we’ll check in with Frank as he prepares for his solo performances of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, October 27–November 1, and as he navigates life with a brand-new baby girl.

Catch it all on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The second season of On the Cover will focus on six Philharmonic musicians who are ready for their close-ups. Next month it’s Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as she prepares for the New York Premiere of Julia Adolphe’s viola concerto, Unearth, Release, conducted by incoming Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Learn more about Concertmaster Frank Huang.

N.Y. Philharmonic and Oklahoma State University Form Residency Partnership

New York Philharmonic Residency Partnership with Oklahoma State University 

Well OK then! Oklahoma State University (OSU) is the newest on the growing list of New York Philharmonic educational partnerships throughout the U.S. and world, joining the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan and New York Philharmonic Global Academy partnerships with Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West, The Shepherd School at Rice University and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

OSU and the New York Philharmonic have announced a residency partnership marking the opening of the new McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at OSU in October 2019. The partnership is made possible in part by the $25 million programming gift to OSU by alumni Billie and Ross McKnight.

The Philharmonic, conducted by future New York Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden, will give multiple performances at the McKnight Center, along with educational opportunities for OSU students with Philharmonic musicians and management, such as masterclasses, audition workshops, and lectures.  

On Saturday the partnership was celebrated at a groundbreaking event featuring VanBesien, OSU President Burns Hargis, Billie and Ross McKnight, and student performers from the Department of Music. The halftime performance at the OSU football game featured a special tribute by The Cowboy Marching Band (see left). (OSU went on to beat Texas in the game. Go Cowboys!)

“While we often hear how residency partnerships benefit faculty, students and the regional community, I can say from experience that the musicians and management of the New York Philharmonic also benefit immensely from the creative energy stemming from academic and professional collaboration,” said New York Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien. “We very much look forward to performing at what promises to be a spectacular new performing arts center and to engaging with the university and the community in Stillwater.” 

Top Photo (left to right): New York Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien, OSU President Burns and Ann Hargis, consultant John Giovando, student Kevin Kamau, and donors Carl Thoma and Billie and Ross McKnight.

175th Anniversary Opening Gala Concert: Full Video

This past Wednesday launched the New York Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season, Music Director Alan Gilbert’s farewell season, and The New World Initiative — the Philharmonic’s season-long, city-wide project revolving around Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony and its theme of “home.” Alan Gilbert led works tied to the Philharmonic’s rich history of premieres by John Corigliano, Gershwin with Aaron Diehl as soloist, and Dvořák.

It was also the Orchestra’s first-ever live concert broadcast on Facebook. In case you missed it, here is the full video. This will be available until November 4, after which a video of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From the New World will be available indefinitely.

Alan Gilbert Conductor
Aaron Diehl Piano (New York Philharmonic debut)

John Corigliano STOMP for Orchestra
Gershwin Concerto in F


Dvořák Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From the New World

Host: Terrance McKnight
Director: Habib Azar

The 175th Anniversary Season Begins

Wednesday marked many milestones: the launch of the New York Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season, Music Director Alan Gilbert’s farewell season, and The New World Initiative — the Philharmonic’s season-long, city-wide project revolving around Dvořák’s New World Symphony and its theme of “home” — plus the Orchestra’s first-ever live concert broadcast on Facebook. The day began with a free dress rehearsal open to the 70+ ensembles performing the New World Symphony across the city as part of The New World Initiative. That night, Mozart in the Jungle cast members Bernadette Peters and Lola Kirke, Josh Groban, Ben Vereen, Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller, Bill Moyers, Itzhak Perlman, and more were among the friends and supporters who gathered for the Opening Gala cocktail reception, glamorous dinner, and the concert itself — featuring Alan Gilbert leading works tied to the Philharmonic’s rich history of premieres by John Corigliano, Gershwin with Aaron Diehl as soloist, and Dvořák. The Empire State Building shone Philharmonic red in celebration.

Empire State Building To Glow Red for 175th Anniversary Opening Gala Concert

Empire State Building New York Philharmonic

We’ll paint the town red.

Whether you join us tonight for our 175th Anniversary Opening Gala Concert, look up: for yet another year, the Empire State Building will glow Philharmonic Red in honor of our 175th season, which, appropriately enough, celebrates our hometown.

By the way, if you won’t be joining us, you can still watch the concert free on Facebook! Tune in a few minutes before 7:30.

(The Empire State Building image® is a registered trademark of ESRT Empire State Building, L.L.C. and is used with permission.)

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