New York Philharmonic: What's New: Latest News and Stories About The New York Philharmonic

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What’s New

Shanghai Orchestra Academy Fellows Experience Immersion with New York Philharmonic

This week, the New York Philharmonic is hosting five Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) students selected by audition for the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program — a week-long immersion in the life of an orchestral musician. The students, known as Zarin Mehta Fellows, are taking lessons with Philharmonic musicians, and rehearsing and performing alongside them in the Orchestra’s free Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer. Read More...

Audra McDonald with N.Y. Philharmonic CD Released

Buy ev’ry CD, / It's really good...

Don't believe us? Watch the video!

Sing Happy, the recording of Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award winner Audra McDonald’s 2018 New York Philharmonic Spring Gala performance, is now available on CD — and it's the number-one classical recording on Amazon! It was released for download and streaming on May 11.

Recorded live at our Spring Gala on May 1, the recording represents McDonald’s first collaboration with Decca Gold, as well as her first solo recording with full orchestra. The concert was conducted by Andy Einhorn.

Learn more and buy here.

New York Philharmonic Receives Two NEA Grants

We are pleased and grateful that the New York Philharmonic has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grants for 2018–19 activities. The programs receiving grants are Philharmonic Schools and our radio program, The New York Philharmonic This Week.

The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Here’s to another year in the Philharmonic’s long history of spreading the joy of music through education and audio broadcasts!

PHOTOS: 2018 Spring Gala

The New York Philharmonic’s 2018 Spring Gala celebrated two leading ladies: six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald — who performed songs both canonic and lesser-known, from South Pacific to “Facebook Song” — and Board Member Daisy Soros — who was honored for her decades of generosity and dedication to the Philharmonic.

On the Cover: Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin

“Playing trumpet in an orchestra is 80% waiting around and 20% terror.” — Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin

If you watched the New York Philharmonic’s Facebook Live broadcast from last September’s Opening Gala Concert, you probably caught a glimpse of this month’s On the Cover musician, Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin. Mahler’s Fifth Symphony is swept into motion by 12 measures of solo trumpet. Twelve measures, totally alone. For many trumpet players, this famous solo falls squarely into the 20% terror category.

In a new Q & A video above, Chris talks about playing Mahler’s Fifth under the baton of Music Director Designate Jaap van Zweden, and about being the successor of his childhood idol, former Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Philip Smith. (For even more about this excerpt and the Philharmonic’s historic trumpet section, listen to Philip Smith in the Philharmonic’s podcast, Listening Through Time.)

In May and June you can find Chris on the cover of Playbill and featured on the Philharmonic’s social media channels. Chris plans to chronicle a day in his life on Instagram and answer questions from fans on Facebook! Follow us to keep up with Chris: FacebookTwitterInstagramSnapchat, and Tumblr.

Learn more about Christopher Martin

2018 Zarin Mehta Fellows from Shanghai Orchestra Academy Named

This past week, students at the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) auditioned for the New York Philharmonic Global Academy Fellowship Program, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train and play among Philharmonic musicians, learning about the life of an orchestra musician from the inside.

Five lucky students — violinist Renchao Yu, violist Kuan Liu, flutist Fangyu Huang, clarinetist Yanru Chiu, and bassoonist Sihong Zhao — will travel to New York in June for a week of immersive activities in all aspects of an orchestral player’s life.

It’s all part of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership, a joint endeavor of the New York Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra that included the establishment of the SOA in partnership with the Shanghai Conservatory.

Congrats and see you this summer!

(Photo courtesy of Shanghai Orchestra Academy)

Ackman Piano Prize Winner Benjamin Grosvenor Triumphs in Subscription Debut

This week’s concerts feature two thrilling firsts for young artists the Philharmonic is championing: the World Premiere of Kravis Emerging Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Philharmonic commission, plus the subscription debut of Benjamin Grosvenor, inaugural recipient of The Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize at the New York Philharmonic.
 
Mr. Grosvenor performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, conducted by The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Esa-Pekka Salonen.
 
The New York Times wrote of Wednesday’s concert: “The brilliant British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor ... played a demanding part with crisp articulation, beautiful shadings, keen attention to inner voices and tremendous imagination.”

“The scorching chromatic piano scales leading to the theme’s return were a marvel, and the athletic exuberance of the Più mosso coda capped a knockout debut for the young pianist,” wrote New York Classical Review.
 
The Ackman Prize is made possible by a generous gift from Philharmonic Board Member Lawrence Ackman and his wife, Ronnie (at left, with Mr. Grosvenor and President and CEO Deborah Borda). Ronnie Ackman is a pianist, and the Ackmans’ subscription, which originally belonged to Mr. Ackman’s grandmother, dates to 1942.
 
A few tickets remain for the performance tonight. In addition, on April 10 Mr. Grosvenor will perform chamber music (Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 1 and Schubert’s Piano Quintet, Trout) with Philharmonic musicians in a concert co-presented by the Philharmonic and 92Y.

 
(Photos: Chris Lee)

On the Cover: Elizabeth Zeltser

Violinist Elizabeth Zeltser, fresh off her solo turn in the U.S. Premiere of Andy Akiho’s Ricochet, is our On the Cover musician for April.

Read Elizabeth’s Q & A below to learn about her musical foundations, most memorable performances, and what she considers a perfect day.

You’ll see her on the cover of Playbill all month, and for even more about Elizabeth, follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramSnapchat, and Tumblr.

What are your earliest memories playing violin? What was it like growing up in your musical family?

I started playing the violin at age three. Both my parents are pianists, my grandmother is an opera singer, and my great-grandfather is a violinist and conductor who was a pupil of Leopold Auer and a classmate of Jascha Heifetz. From the day I was born, I spent every day listening to my father practice the entire piano repertoire at home. So, it was a surprise to my parents when I picked the violin over the piano, but my father found a tiny 1/16 violin for me on his way back from his concert tour in Japan.

My mother enrolled me at School for Strings, where I began my studies in NYC. My mother tells the story that I attended most of my father’s rehearsals as a small child, and she let me explore all the instruments in the orchestra, but I was always most fascinated by the violin. My mother spent most of my early childhood accompanying me during concerts.

I remember performing, at five years old, the A minor Vivaldi concerto with an orchestra at Mannes College. Several years later, I was invited to perform at the United Nations with my father. At age 11, I was accepted to the Juilliard School to study with the famed Dorothy DeLay. The same year, I won the Juilliard Concerto Competition and, as a result, made my Lincoln Center debut.

All the while I continued to love listening to my father rehearse at home, especially with another pianist while preparing a concerto performance with orchestra. I learned a great deal about musicality from listening to him, but as a small child I always called him after a concert, wherever in the world he might be, to ask if he had made any mistakes!

As the repertoire I studied became more elaborate, I began to play more and more for him. He taught me how to perform as a soloist and the importance of a musical and moving interpretation. One recording of his that I was especially in love with was Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic, where my father, Yo-Yo Ma, and Anne-Sophie Mutter were soloists. I’ve been so fortunate to share the stage with him both in recitals and symphonic programs, where I would perform a concerto in one half and he in the other. My greatest memory was when he and I performed Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto. He has been my biggest inspiration and mentor. I even followed him to the Moscow Conservatory where, at age 13, he was the youngest student to have been accepted. His stories of friendship, mischief, and competition at the conservatory with such musicians as Vladimir Spivakov, David Oistrakh, Jacqueline Du Pré, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sviatoslav Richter, Leonid Kogan, and many others enthralled me and inspired me to earn my bachelor’s and master’s degrees there too.

What was it like studying with Dorothy DeLay?

I was very fortunate to study with the legendary Dorothy DeLay, among whose students were Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, for eight years. She was brilliant in that she had a personalized approach to each and every student so that she could connect with them. She not only taught me how to perform at the highest level but also took a very close interest in my appearance. My shoes were to match the color of my dress, and the dress should “swoosh” while walking on and off stage. 

You are a New Yorker through and through. Did you come to Philharmonic concerts as a child or while you were studying at Juilliard? What do you remember about the Orchestra then?

I always attended concerts at the Philharmonic. At first, I particularly loved listening to great soloists perform the concertos I was studying at the time. Later, as I began to get acquainted with the orchestral repertoire, I was drawn by the powerful and lush sound of the Philharmonic. I was so captivated by each performance that I couldn’t wait to return! It is a dream come true for me to share the stage now with such inspiring and talented musicians.

Can you tell me about your preparation for performances? Do you have a routine or system to keep on top of all the music you are responsible for knowing?

I make sure to practice all the technically challenging spots earlier in the week. I also find it very helpful to play solo Bach sonatas and partitas to polish and refine my violin sound. When I’m done practicing, I find the best preparation before a concert is a good Pilates workout. It may not be obvious to the audience, but playing a violin in a gown while seated for hours at time takes a serious toll on the spine. Pilates is key for my keeping the alignment in my spine.

Tell me a story about a Philharmonic performance that was particularly memorable for you.

Performing the solo violin part with the Philharmonic in Andy Akiho’s Ricochet, Concerto for Ping Pong, Violin, Percussion, and Orchestra, last month on the Lunar Lunar Year concert was a dream come true. In fact, it was doubly special. First and foremost, it was deeply humbling to share the stage as soloist with my amazing colleagues. Secondly, on a personal note, my father had performed with the New York Philharmonic when I was just a toddler, so while I never got a chance to see him with this Orchestra, he was in the audience watching me.

Tell me about your family — I know one of your sons is a pianist.

I have two sons, Lucas and Alexander. Lucas, who is eight, has been studying the piano since he was three. He enjoys performing recitals several times a year at Mannes College, where he is enrolled. Alexander, who is four, has also started studying the piano earlier this year and is already showing great promise. They both have many other interests. Lucas fences and plays chess, and Alexander takes acting classes, which suit his personality quite well. They both attend a French immersion school and speak Russian fluently. Although my husband is a lawyer, when he isn’t pounding on his laptop’s keyboard he is doing the same on his drum set. When time permits, the whole family loves to jam. 

What would be a perfect free day for you?

Taking a bike ride with my family in Central Park or taking a ferry to Jacob Riis Park for a day at the beach.

Learn more about Elizabeth Zeltser

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