The New York Philharmonic plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world.

Each season the Orchestra connects with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in New York and around the world; international broadcasts on television, radio, and online; Decca Gold albums and digital recordings; and education programs. In 2018–19 Jaap van Zweden begins his tenure as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, and the Orchestra expands its connection to New York City. Maestro van Zweden leads five World Premieres — by Ashley Fure, Conrad Tao, Louis Andriessen, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang — and core symphonic masterworks; presides over season pillars — Music of Conscience, New York Stories: Threads of Our City, and The Art of Andriessen — that contextualize music through programs complemented by citywide collaborations; and welcomes New Yorkers to the Annual Free Memorial Day Concert at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, and Phil the Hall, concerts for community and service professionals. Jaap van Zweden succeeds musical leaders including Alan Gilbert (2009–17); 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).

Ureli Corelli Hill
American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, founder and first Conductor of the New York Philharmonic

As 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. Highlights include the World Premieres of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Gershwin’s Concerto in F, and Berio’s Sinfonia, as well as the US Premieres of Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9 and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4. Recent premieres / commissions include John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize– and Grammy Award–winning On the Transmigration of Souls, dedicated to the victims of 9/11, and Scheherazade.2 — Dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto; Wynton Marsalis’s The Jungle (Symphony No. 4); and Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos. In the 2018–19 season the Philharmonic introduces two new-music series, both hosted by Nadia Sirota in the newly created role of Kravis Creative Partner: the Kravis Nightcap series — late-night, cabaret-style concerts curated by composers of today at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse — and the GRoW @ Annenberg Sound ON series — afternoon chamber concerts of contemporary repertoire at The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center.

A resource for its community and the world, the New York Philharmonic complements annual free concerts across the city — including the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, which celebrated 50 years in the summer of 2015 — with Philharmonic Free Fridays, which offers free tickets to young people ages 13 to 26. The Orchestra has continued its famed Young People’s Concerts (ages 6–12), which began in 1924, and subsequently 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 annually through Philharmonic Schools — the immersive classroom program spearheaded by Philharmonic Teaching Artists — and Very Young Composers — which enables students to express themselves through original works often performed by Philharmonic musicians, and has inspired affiliates throughout the world. The Philharmonic also offers Insights at the Atrium, free discussions delving into the themes of the season. Committed to developing tomorrow’s leading orchestral musicians, the Philharmonic established Philharmonic Academy Jr., which supports promising young ensembles through coachings with Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists; the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Partnership; and a multiyear residency partnership with the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan.

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 then 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 of Europe, led by Toscanini; the first tour of South America and Latin America, in 1958; the first tour of the USSR, in 1959 with Leonard Bernstein; the 1984 Asia Tour, including the first tour of India, with Zubin Mehta; and the 1998 Asia Tour, with the first performances in mainland China, with Kurt Masur. In 2012 the Orchestra became an International Associate of London’s Barbican Centre; extended residencies in 2012, 2015, and 2017 featured signature Philharmonic projects, including London editions of Young People’s Concerts and Very Young Composers. The Orchestra’s first tour conducted by Jaap van Zweden featured eight performances in Beijing, Kyoto, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Taipei.

The New York Philharmonic, a longtime media pioneer, began radio broadcasts in 1922 and is currently represented by The New York Philharmonic This Week — the award-winning series syndicated nationally 52 weeks per year and available on 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 more than 2,000 recordings, with more than 500 currently available. In 2006 the New York Philharmonic was the first major American orchestra to offer downloadable concerts, recorded live, and followed this with a self-produced digital recording series. In September 2016 the Philharmonic, which has the most Facebook fans of any American orchestra, produced its first-ever Facebook Live concert broadcast, and reached more than one million online viewers through three broadcasts that season alone. The Philharmonic launched its partnership with Decca Gold, Universal Music Group’s newly established US classical music label, in February 2018 with the release of Jaap van Zweden and the Philharmonic’s performances of Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7, on CD and for streaming and download.

The Orchestra also shares its trove of music history free online through the ever-expanding New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, which comprises approximately three million pages of documents, including every printed program since 1842 and scores and parts marked by Philharmonic musicians and Music Directors such as Gustav Mahler and Leonard Bernstein. One of the world’s most important orchestral research collections, the New York Philharmonic Archives also presents exhibits in David Geffen Hall for concertgoers to enjoy. A new interactive, permanent exhibit is being introduced in 2018–19 and will feature video clips of Music Directors and guest conductors, stories of pioneering women in Philharmonic history, recordings, backstories of music that the Philharmonic has premiered, a behind-the-scenes look at planning tours around the world, and Orchestra members’ immigration stories. Audience members can also see Bernstein’s composing pencils, batons and scores used by notable conductors, Philharmonic records, and a Grammy Award.

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 Dvořák, 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.