New Year's Eve: Hampson, Gershwin, Copland & Broadway

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New Year's Eve: Hampson, Gershwin, Copland & Broadway

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Conductor

Alan Gilbert

Alan Gilbert, former Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, launches his tenure as chief conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in September 2019. The Grammy Award–winning conductor previously served as principal guest conductor of the orchestra (then known as NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg) for more than a decade, and began serving as chief conductor designate in 2017, shortly after the opening of the orchestra’s already iconic new home. This position follows his truly transformative eight-year tenure as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, during which, through such key initiatives as the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, he succeeded in making the Orchestra a leader on the cultural landscape. Alan Gilbert is also conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the founder and president of Musicians for Unity. With the endorsement and guidance of the United Nations, this new organization will bring together musicians from around the world to perform in support of peace, development, and human rights.

Alan Gilbert makes regular guest appearances with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He has led operatic productions for Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Zurich Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, where he was the inaugural music director.

His discography includes The Nielsen Project, a box set recorded with the New York Philharmonic, and John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, captured on DVD at The Metropolitan Opera, for which he won a Grammy Award. He received Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Music Direction in PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts of two star-studded New York Philharmonic productions: of Sweeney Todd and Sinatra: Voice for a Century.

Alan Gilbert has received Honorary Doctor of Music degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College, as well as Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award. He is a member of The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and was named an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. At The Juilliard School, he is the first holder of the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies and serves as Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies. After giving the annual Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture on Orchestras in the 21st Century: A New Paradigm during the New York Philharmonic’s EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour, he received a 2015 Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy.

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Baritone

Thomas Hampson

Baritone Thomas Hampson hails from Spokane, Washington. He combined the role of The Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence with that of The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic in the 2009–10 season. He has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. Comprising more than 150 albums, his discography includes Grammy Award winners, five Edison Awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. In 2010 he received a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he holds the title of Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Mr. Hampson was made honorary professor at the faculty of philosophy of the University of Heidelberg and holds honorary doctorates from the Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, as well as being an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna Staatsoper and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences. Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist, and “ambassador of song,” maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach, and technology. Recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Hampson has won worldwide recognition for thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs as well as recordings that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods. Through the Hampsong Foundation, which he founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.

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Appalachian Spring Suite

 

Old American Songs

Songs

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An American in Paris

GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898–1937)
An American in Paris (1928)


Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic this delightful ballet started life while Gershwin was enjoying the heady atmosphere of 1920s Paris; he completed it in New York. He had come a long way from his Russian immigrant roots. His parents changed young George’s life when they bought him an upright piano and lessons to go with it. At age 16 he sought his fortune in Tin Pan Alley, and burst onto the scene in 1920 with the song “Swanee,” recorded by Al Jolson. He taught himself orchestration and collaborated with his older brother Ira on many famous American songs. The composer also went on to create several beloved American concert hall classics: Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, and the present An American in Paris. Gershwin wrote at length about his delightful “rhapsodic ballet,” which was choreographed and danced memorably by Gene Kelly in the 1951 movie of the same name. He said, “My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere.” When the piece kicks into a bluesy style, the composer continues, “our American friend ... has succumbed to a spasm of homesickness.” But ultimately, the American visitor “once again is an alert spectator of Parisian life.” Listen for the characteristic French car horns as you imagine yourself ambling along Parisian boulevards.
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