Alan Gilbert Conducts Dvořák and a Corigliano World Premiere

The New York Philharmonic

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Alan Gilbert Conducts Dvořák and a Corigliano World Premiere

Recorded September 30, 2011

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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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Mezzo-Soprano

Stephanie Blythe

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe has appeared at The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Paris Opéra. She has performed the title roles in Bizet’s Carmen, Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Dalilah, Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse, Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, and Handel’s Julius Caesar in Egypt. Her other roles have included Isabella in Rossini’s The Italian Girl in Algiers; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in Puccini’s The Triptych; Fricka in Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Die Walküre; and the Verdi roles of Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera, and Mistress Quickly in Falstaff.

An accomplished concert singer, Ms. Blythe has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Met Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, as well as at the Tanglewood, Mostly Mozart, and Ravinia festivals and the BBC Proms. She has been presented in recital at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Alice Tully Hall, 92nd Street Y, Town Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vocal Arts Society in Washington, D.C., Cleveland Art Song Festival, University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Shriver Hall in Baltimore. Ms. Blythe starred in The Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcasts of Orpheus and Eurydice, The Triptych, Handel’s Rodelinda, and Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle. Her recordings of works by Mahler, Brahms, and Wagner and of arias by Handel and Bach are available on the Virgin Classics label.

This season, Ms. Blythe returns to The Metropolitan Opera for the new production of Un ballo in maschera, Il Trovatore, and the complete Ring Cycle, and she tours the U.S. with two of her highly acclaimed programs — We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith and an all-American song program — culminating in a recital in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium.

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Essay No. 1 for Orchestra

One Sweet Morning

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Symphony No. 7

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841–1904)
Symphony No. 7 (1885)

When Dvořák was commissioned to compose a new symphony, he wrote to a friend, “My new symphony must be such as to make a stir in the world,” a goal that the Seventh fulfilled magnificently. Many consider this to be Dvořák’s most perfect symphony — a work of beauty, drama, turbulence, and melodic riches. Although pressured to abandon his musical allegiance to his native Bohemia to be viewed more favorably in Vienna, Dvořák defended the nationalism in his works. in fact, it may be that his response this pressure to forsake his musical roots infused the Seventh Symphony with both a melancholy and decidedly Czech spirit. While he did not quote any folk songs verbatim, their rhythms and cadences are there. In the third movement, listen for the exciting sounds of the furiant, an aptly named Czech dance. And when, at the end, D major triumphs over D minor, it feels like being embraced by sunlight.

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