New York Philharmonic: What's New: Latest News and Stories About The New York Philharmonic
All concerts and events through June 13, 2021 are cancelled. Learn more about our response to COVID-19. Support the Philharmonic by donating your tickets.

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All concerts and events through June 13, 2021 are cancelled. Learn more about our response to COVID-19. Support the Philharmonic by donating your tickets.

Project 19 Returns, Online

One hundred years ago this year women finally secured the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and many of their voices could finally be heard. To mark the centennial of that achievement, in February 2020 the New York Philharmonic launched Project 19, the initiative commissioning new works by 19 women composers, and partnering with other New York and national organizations.

With this season’s concerts cancelled and, therefore, many Project 19 premieres postponed, we invite you to join our suffrage celebration online, November 9–12, beginning with Philharmonic performance audio and culminating in a video broadcast, all shared free with audiences worldwide:

Melinda Wagner and Joan Tower, an audio broadcast of past Philharmonic performances of earlier works by two Project 19 composers: Melinda Wagner’s Trombone Concerto, with Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi as soloist, conducted by Lorin Maazel (performed in 2007, broadcast courtesy of Bridge Records, Inc.), and Joan Tower’s Sequoia, conducted by Zubin Mehta (1982) — Nov 9

Now Is the Moment: Women’s Advancement in the Arts, Business, and Beyond, a panel discussion, co-presented with Project 19 partner Catalyst, exploring women’s experiences across sectors and how current events have shaped the conversation. The participants are Philharmonic President & CEO Deborah Borda; Catalyst President & CEO Lorraine Hariton; National Board Chair and President of Women in Sports and Events Kathleen Francis; Project 19 composer Sarah Kirkland Snider; and, as moderator, Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson, Vice President of News Programming at Nickelodeon and Executive Producer of Nick News — Nov 10

Women Pioneers of the NY Phil, an archival exhibit exploring some of the women who played pivotal roles in the New York Philharmonic’s history, presented in partnership with Google Arts & Culture — Nov 10

Poetry readings of some of the 19 poems co-commissioned by the Philharmonic and the Academy of American Poets as part of Project 19, received by the poets themselves — Mahogany L. Browne, Marilyn Chin, Natalie Diaz, and Linda Gregerson — Nov 11

Nina C. Young, Tania León, and Ellen Reid, a video broadcast of the three Project 19 World Premieres that Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the Orchestra performed in February 2020, complemented by brief profiles of each of the composers, as Facebook and YouTube Premieres  available beginning Nov 12

It’s an immersive exploration of the rising chorus of women’s voices. Join us!

Project 19 partners include The 19th, the Academy of American Poets, Catalyst, Google Arts & Culture, The Juilliard School, Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School (M. 853), League of Women Voters of the City of New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and New-York Historical Society.

Lead support for Project 19 is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust and Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Mr. Oscar L. Tang.

We’ll Be Back!

NY Phil Bandwagon just concluded its fall run, after performing 80-plus concerts across New York City. Launched in late August, the series has connected the Philharmonic with communities across the five boroughs through performances by the Orchestra’s musicians, often joined by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo — Bandwagon’s producer — of wide-ranging repertoire, including Handel and Purcell, Beethoven and Mozart, Gershwin and Bernstein, and more. A particular joy was discovering new sound worlds by giving World Premieres of Philharmonic commissions composed by Anthony Barfield, Viet Cuong, Jessica Mays, Carlos Simon, and Grace Moore, a 12-year-old participant in the Philharmonic Very Young Composers Program.

It saddens us to have to park the truck as the weather becomes colder, but we will remember all the friends we made on our travels … and we look forward to hitting the streets again in spring 2021.

For now, you can relive the fun by checking out our NY Phil Bandwagon YouTube playlist, and looking at the programs here. 


Generous support for NY Phil Bandwagon is provided by The Buck Family Foundation, Andrew Martin-Weber, and Mr. and Mrs. Howard Solomon, with additional support from Carol and Chuck Schaefer and Jennifer and Bud Gruenberg.

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK — An App for New York

Now that you are free to rediscover New York after months of staying at home, how can you do so in a way that is both joyous but still mindful of social distancing guidelines? Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK combines the pleasures of music with the tranquility of strolling through Central Park. This free app gives you access to a GPS-enabled work of public art in which music enhances the natural environment.


New Yorkers are invited to download the app, put in their earphones, and enter the immersive audio experience Reid created especially for Central Park. Musicians of the Philharmonic and others can be heard performing a soundscape that harmonizes with the park’s landscapes and attractions. Every visit to Central Park’s 840 acres can be different — the path chosen dictates the music heard. Musical “Easter eggs” are hidden throughout the park, so you may find yourself hearing a taste of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony or the World Premiere recording of Reid’s When the World As You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist (which the Philharmonic commissioned, and premiered in February 2020 as part of Project 19). Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is available in Central Park through the end of 2020.

The Pulitzer Prize–winning composer and sound designer explained the inspiration behind the new, immersive experience: “We miss our communities, and we miss the very thing that makes our cities special: the people. I hope SOUNDWALK will inspire us and make us feel connected to something larger than ourselves. It is meant to serve as artistic nourishment — a place to recharge, reconnect, and re-energize.”


In addition to Philharmonic musicians, the performers on the app are the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, Francisco J. Núñez, founder / artistic director, as well as Poole and the Gang and the SOUNDWALK Ensemble.


So put on your mask, go to Central Park, breathe in some fresh air, and download the app now.



The Project 19 commission of Ellen Reid’s When the World As You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist was made possible with lead support provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, and Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Mr. Oscar L. Tang, and with generous support by Sheree A. and Gerald L. Friedman; The Hauser Foundation; The Gerald L. Lennard Foundation; Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa; Kimberly V. Strauss, The Strauss Foundation; the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; and an anonymous donor. Project 19 was supported in part by a generous grant from the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Mann Center for the Performing Arts in association with The Fairmount Park Conservancy, and the Britt Festival Orchestra. 

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is made possible in part by the support of Mindscapes, Wellcome’s international cultural program about mental health.

Switched on Pop: "The 5th"

'The Fifth,' the new miniseries on Vox Media Podcast Network’s 'Switched on Pop'

It’s a symphony you recognize instantly from its first four notes: three G-natural eighth notes followed by a long, half-note E-flat. Those are the very first notes the New York Philharmonic ever performed, back in 1842. Now the symphony they introduce, Beethoven’s Fifth, is the subject of a new partnership with Vox Media Podcast Network’s Switched on Pop, the People's Choice winner of the 2020 Webby Award for Best Arts & Culture Podcast.

Hosted by musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding, “The 5th” is a four-movement miniseries that explores the music, context, and legacy of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Beginning today discover new insights into what may be the most famous symphony ever written though interviews with our Music Director Jaap van Zweden and President and CEO Deborah Borda, as well as Concertmaster Frank Huang, Associate Principal Oboe Sherry Sylar, Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill, Acting Associate Principal Horn Leelanee Sterrett, and Assistant Principal Timpani / Percussion Kyle Zerna. Together they’ll delve into what makes this iconic work so universally recognizable, how it represents a dramatic break from the Classical tradition that preceded it, and why it remains a symbol of freedom for some and exclusion for others.

Check out all four episodes of “The 5th" — September 8,11, 15, and 18 — on Apple podcasts, and sing it with us: da da da DUH!

Live Music Returns!

“At last the New York Philharmonic can start to emerge from our musical quarantine,” said President and CEO Deborah Borda regarding the Philharmonic’s updated Fall 2020 activities, announced today.

These new activities, which replace the previously announced cancelled performances through January 5, 2021, present a mix of live, socially distanced performances throughout New York City and newly recorded performances for broadcast on social media and NY Phil Plays On.

First up: NY Phil Bandwagon, with an eight-week run beginning August 28, will bring live music back to New York City, engaging new audiences in all five boroughs from a customized pick-up truck that serves as a stage for free, “pull-up” concerts for the community. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, producer of the project, joins small ensembles of Philharmonic musicians for the launch of this new, experimental format. The repertoire will include several World Premieres commissioned for this initiative by Anthony Barfield, Viet Cuong, Carlos Simon, and a participant in the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers Program. Specific programming and surprise guest artists will be announced at each performance; locations will not be announced in advance.

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK a GPS-enabled work of public art that uses music to illuminate the natural environment. New Yorkers enjoying Central Park’s 840 acres beginning September 10 can download a free app that will access Reid’s soundscape, crafted to harmonize with the park’s landscape and attractions. Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK features fragments of music written by Project 19 composer and Pulitzer Prize–winner Ellen Reid, performed by Philharmonic musicians; the Young People’s Chorus of New York City: Francisco J. Núñez, founder / artistic director; Poole and the Gang; and the SOUNDWALK Ensemble. It will be available through 2020.

That’s only the beginning. Other Fall 2020 digital initiatives will include the continuation of Project 19, the Philharmonic’s multiyear initiative celebrating the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment through commissions of 19 new works by 19 women composers, and Holidays with the NY Phil, including the annual Holiday Brass concert. Additional details to be announced.

Saluting Four Marvelous Musicians

 The four New York Philharmonic musicians retiring in 2020: Assistant Principal Librarian Sandra Pearson, bassoon / contrabassoon Arlen Fast, horn player Howard Wall, and cellist Eric Bartlett 

Each spring the New York Philharmonic family — active and retired Musicians, Board Members, and Staff — gather at a concert and post-concert reception on the Grand Promenade to honor their colleagues who are retiring, who are invited to share their reflections with the audience.


We could not hold this year’s event at a live performance because of the cancellations of our spring concerts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but are committed to celebrating the four talented and dedicated musicians who are retiring. Here’s a taste of what appears in their individual Q & As and slideshows:


Before becoming Assistant Principal Librarian, the multifaceted Sandra Pearson received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bassoon performance, and will next pursue studies in archives and records management.


Contrabassoonist / bassoonist Arlen Fast has spearheaded a long-overdue modernization of his deep-voiced instrument.


Horn player Howard Wall, who grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, got to watch the Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts on television when there wasn’t a Steelers game.


Cellist Eric Bartlett grew up in rural Vermont and was a busy freelancer before joining the Orchestra.


Learn more about the musicians you usually experience in our concerts by exploring their pages and checking out our social media channels this week.

Meet Sandra Pearson, Retiring New York Philharmonic Assistant Principal Librarian

Sandra Pearson’s career reflects her wide-ranging expertise. In addition to serving at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, she is the only person to have had the official title of Librarian for the Boston Pops. You may be surprised that she has worked with the likes of Cab Calloway, Conan O’Brien, and The Manhattan Transfer, and on the recording sessions for Saving Private Ryan.


But that’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what interests Sandy, a multifaceted musician and researcher who is retiring after serving as Assistant Principal Librarian of the New York Philharmonic for 21 years. Here's her Q & A, followed by the speech she would have given the night the Orchestra would have celebrated this years retirees.


Q: How were you introduced to music?


SP: I grew up in a house filled with music in Madison, Wisconsin. My mother was a pianist, organist, and singer; my father had played trombone in the high school dance band, my uncle was a bassoonist, and we kids took piano lessons. There was a decent phonograph record collection; one LP I loved so much that I wore it out was an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra, with musical examples. I also loved the record of Peter and the Wolf. My mother played the postludes in church and, in the evenings, cocktail piano, so I already I knew that you could do music for a living and that music was going to be part of my life.


Q: When did you decide to pursue music as a career?


Meet Howard Wall, Retiring New York Philharmonic Horn

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Howard Wall began playing the horn at age ten and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in music performance at Carnegie Mellon University. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 19 performing Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns, the same work with which he made his Philharmonic debut in 1995; he has since reprised it with the Orchestra, both in New York and abroad. Howard is among the performers awarded Gold Medal and Top Honors at the 2018 Global Music Awards.


We usually honor our retiring musicians at a special concert and reception, but this year that isn’t possible. We therefore invite you to get to know Howard Wall as he retires as Philharmonic horn, The Ruth F. and Alan J. Broder Chair, after a 26-year tenure.  Though he is man of few words — the Gary Cooper of the French horn world — we managed to get him to open up a little about how he came to music and to reflect on his Philharmonic tenure. Here's his Q & A, followed by the speech the night the Orchestra would have celebrated this year’s retirees.


Q: How did you come to play the French horn?


HW: My older brother played the clarinet, so I wanted to play an instrument. When I decided to join the school music program it was in the middle of the school year, so when I asked to play the trumpet, the available instruments had been claimed and the teacher suggested horn. Read More...

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