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Religious or Not, 'Bach Makes You Believe in Something,' Lisa Batiashvili Says in Preview of Apr. 8–11 Concerts

Lisa Batiashvili The New York Times NY Philharmonic

"People are religious or not, but Bach makes you believe in something, and for sure," Artist-in-Residence Lisa Batiashvili told The New York Times.

She only recently recorded Bach — "after a long period of awe-struck distance." That's one reason her concerts on April 8–11, her final ones as Artist-in-Residence, will be special, because she will play Bach's sublime Concerto for Violin and Oboe. Another reason? The oboist is her husband, the "marvelous" François Leleux. They will also perform a new concerto, inspired by and quoting Bach's, by the French composer Thierry Escaich. Alan Gilbert conducts the concert, which closes with Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony.

Lisa's New York recital debut was last night, at Alice Tully Hall. Her partner was pianist Paul Lewis, who made his Philharmonic subscription debut last season. 

The New York Times wrote that the recital showed they were "perfectly matched .... Neither has a willful musical ego that needs to be tempered in a duo. Neither takes great liberties. Each has a subtle eloquence that never devolves into monotony or showmanship."

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Trumpeting Bach's Praises

Gottfried Reiche and Matthew Muckey 

Bach’s cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen opens tonight’s concert culminating in Mozart’s Requiem (the program is repeated tomorrow and Saturday). It puts soprano and trumpet in the spotlight with seriously demanding parts that, when performed well, convey the joy and praise in the text. As Program Annotator James M. Keller’s program note points out,

It seems likely that Bach’s accustomed trumpeter, Gottfried Reiche, played the obbligato part. He would have been 63 years old when the piece was unveiled, but he was still active at that (for then) advancing age.

Associate Principal Trumpet Matthew Muckey makes his Philharmonic subscription debut as a soloist in the trumpet part. He joined us in 2006, on his 22nd birthday, having just graduated from Northwestern. In a Q&A for Playbill last March, Muckey said the most difficult thing about the trumpet was that “it’s a very athletic and dangerous instrument because everyone hears it. I practice almost every day. If not, I have to re-step. It’s an instrument you have to take on vacation with you.”

Alan's "Legacy of Change"

Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic

With the last of our Concerts in the Parks last night, we have brought our 2012–13 New York season to a close, and the critics have looked back, not only on this year, but on the first four with Alan Gilbert as Music Director. On Tuesday The New York Times raved about his commitment to a vibrant range of activities, from the Parks Concerts and educational activities to new-music initiatives such as CONTACT! and next season’s inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL, and concluded, “he is building a legacy that matters and is helping to change the template for what an American orchestra can be.”

This, on the heels of New York Magazine’s June 30 assessment, titled “The Invisible Revolution,” which declared that “Alan Gilbert’s unflashy radicalism is re-creating the Philharmonic,” and noted highlights such as his “powerful case for wresting [Bach’s B-minor Mass] back from specialists and performing it with an anachronistic but rich and supple ensemble” and the “searing violence” of his interpretation of Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero, in which “there was not a perfunctory second.” After musing on how the Music Director “travels through a musical landscape with a naturalist’s vigilance, alert to moments of drama even before they happen, knowing that a distant, barely audible murmur portends a calamitous event nearby,” the critic concluded, “It’s a good thing he’s game for adventures.”

We couldn’t agree more!

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