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Oh, the Places They’re Going!

Shanghai Orchestra Academy New York Philharmonic Global Academy 

The first class of instrumentalists in the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) graduated in July, and all of them have found jobs at important orchestras and opera companies.

The class of 2014 (the year they entered) successes include violinist Jing Wang and violist Yaorong Huang, who have joined the Shanghai Opera House orchestra; bassist Siyuan Qu and bassoonist Min Cheng, who have become members of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (the latter as associate principal bassoon); and Tianhao Yao, who was appointed principal trumpet of the Hangzhou Philharmonic.

What's more, half of the class that entered in 2015 have already won positions: oboist Difan Yang has joined the Shanghai Opera House orchestra; trumpet player Yuchi Gao joined the Shanghai Symphony, and trombonist Yishan Xie and tuba player Xianguan Mu have joined the Ningbo Symphony Orchestra.

The SOA was established as part of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership — a joint endeavor of the Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Shanghai Conservatory of Music, presented by Starr International Foundation — which was established to cultivate the next generation of orchestra musicians, with instruction from Philharmonic musicians and others.

Congratulations, all!

(Photo: Chris Lee)

New World Symphony Manuscript Parts Now Available in Digital Archives

NY Philharmonic Dvorak

On December 16, 1893, the New York Philharmonic gave the World Premiere of Dvořák's New World Symphony.

Here's another first: for the first time ever, you can see the manuscript parts used at the premiere, a 1917 recording of the Largo, an early first-edition marked score, the program from the premiere, and business documents relating to the premiere and Dvořák. They're just a click away, in the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives

It's all part of the Philharmonic's Dohnányi / Dvořák: A Philharmonic Festival, December 4–13, 2014, which culminates in performances of the New World Symphony, December 11–13, led by legendary conductor and Dvořák interpreter Christoph von Dohnányi.  

The notes and markings — in different colored pencils, some erased but legible — illuminate the rehearsal and revision process leading up to the World Premiere. The Philharmonic used the parts in subsequent performances until 1931, and markings reflect interpretive decisions from these performances as well.

The New York Times did a cool slideshow. Check it out:

 

Louis Andriessen Receives Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic

The audience at last night’s concert witnessed an exciting announcement from the stage: Louis Andriessen has been awarded The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic, one of the world's largest new-music prizes, which recognizes a composer for extraordinary artistic endeavor in the field of new music. President Matthew VanBesien presented the award (see above). He is the third recipient, after Henri Dutilleux and Per Nørgård.

The Dutch composer and influential teacher — whose influences and subjects span visual art, medieval poetic visions, shipbuilding, atomic theory, mortality, music and politics, and time and velocity — receives $200,000 plus a commission to write a work for the Philharmonic, which the Orchestra will premiere in the 2018–19 season, led by Jaap van Zweden, who will then be in his first season as Philharmonic Music Director.

“It is an immense honor to receive The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, and I send my deep and solemn feelings of gratitude,” Mr. Andriessen said. “My father, the composer Hendrik Andriessen, used to say: ‘We are not important; the music is important, and we have the duty to write as well as we can.’ It is in this spirit that I will write for the New York Philharmonic.”

 
 

 

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Jaap van Zweden Conducts: A Glimpse of the Future

Philharmonic audiences got a glimpse of the future when Jaap van Zweden (who will become Music Director in the 2018–19 season, after serving as Music Director Designate 2017–18), led the New York Premiere–Philharmonic Co-Commission of 28-year-old Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release, with Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as soloist, plus Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin.

The crowd and the critics went wild. Here are some highlights:

“Mr. van Zweden drew sensitive, confident and colorful playing from the Philharmonic. ... he drew out the shifting strands of the music with striking clarity and a clear sense of direction. … He balanced poignancy and gravity in his rich-textured account of [Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release].” — The New York Times

“His rapport with the players is already keenly palpable and, in the Tchaikovsky warhorse on the program’s second half, positively electrifying. … an epic journey, precision engineered to underscore the vitality of Tchaikovsky’s vision.” — Musical America

“A superb technician with crystalline intentions, van Zweden seemed most at home laying down a covering barrage of brass or catapulting into a big crescendo. But the New York premiere of Julia Adolphe’s viola concerto Unearth, Release also proved that he’s no slouch with a glimmering pianissimo or a complex new score. … In Wagner’s Lohengrin overture, he coaxed the strings to unspool the endless melody as in a single, ten-minute exhalation.” — Vulture

“An intelligent but emotional, sonically rich performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony” — New York Classical Review

“Both musicians and audience seemed galvanized by his presence throughout all three pieces.” — Bachtrack

New York Philharmonic Launches Young People’s Concerts Play!

New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts

The New York Philharmonic is bringing its famed Young People’s Concerts (YPCs) into the 21st century and around the world. Today we announced the launch of Young People’s Concerts Play!, a new online learning platform making YPCs available for on-demand streaming, enhanced by interactive lessons. Check out the first releases — YPCs focusing on Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream — for free at nyphil.org/ypcplay.

Coming up in the spring of 2017: a YPC focusing on Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World, recorded from YPCs for Schools performances taking place in January 2017. The program is part of The New World Initiative, the Philharmonic’s season-long, citywide project revolving around Dvořák’s New World Symphony and its theme of “home” on the occasion of the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season.

Young People’s Concerts Play! also features composition games designed by New York University’s MusEdWorks, Inc.; teaching videos about themes of the central musical works; and “Build Your Own Orchestra,” an interactive audio-visual experience created by Musicjelly and commissioned in partnership with London’s Barbican Centre that allows students to explore and deconstruct an orchestral piece with Philharmonic players. Philharmonic Teaching Artists will visit schools in underserved neighborhoods to demonstrate the platform in-person.

Young People’s Concerts Play! continues the Philharmonic’s tradition of sharing YPCs as widely as possible. The Philharmonic presented its first of the current YPC series in 1924, and the series was televised from 1958 to 1972, conducted and hosted by Philharmonic Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Check out The New York Times story here.

(Photo: Michael DiVito)

New York Philharmonic To Perform at United Nations on December 14

New York Philharmonic to Perform at United Nations

Today, as the world celebrates United Nations Day, the UN and the New York Philharmonic jointly announced that Music Director Alan Gilbert will lead the Orchestra in a concert at the UN paying special tribute to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he prepares to conclude his 10-year term at the helm of the world body at the end of December. The concert will also be an opportunity for a musical welcome to his successor, António Guterres, who will take office on January 1, 2017.

The program will include Beethoven’s Egmont Overture; Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, with Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill as soloist; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. These powerful pieces will carry a message from United Nations Headquarters in New York City to the world, saluting the power of culture and the Secretary-General’s contributions to the work and mission of the United Nations.

“I am extremely grateful to Mr. Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for offering a concert in celebration of the work of the United Nations over the past decade,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We look forward to welcoming this globally renowned orchestra for this very special event which underscores the power of music to inspire and unite.”

“All of us at the New York Philharmonic believe that music has the potential to champion peace, understanding, and cooperation,” said Alan Gilbert. “I am honored to be able to perform at the United Nations in continuation of a long tradition, and to honor Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his many accomplishments. I also want to thank Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson for his support of this event and his similar belief that music can help make the world a better place.”

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)

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