The New York Philharmonic

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Lunar New Year Gala Welcomes Year of the Tiger

The New York Philharmonic’s celebrations of the Lunar New Year returned, welcoming the Year of the Tiger with a happy roar. The concert featured performances by conductor Earl Lee, violinist Stella Chen, and soprano Hera Hyesang Park. It was only part of the colorful and festive Gala evening, presented by Starr International Foundation and chaired by Board Members Angela Chen and Misook Doolittle as well as Board Co-Chairman Oscar L. Tang and his wife, Agnes Hsu-Tang. The Gala Chairs concluded their letter to the gathered guests with a joyous call: “Let us leap into the Lunar New Year with a tiger’s vigor and lead New York’s next renaissance, together, with hope and the power of music.” (All photos by Chris Lee unless otherwise noted.)

A Charismatic Debut, on NYPhil+


The soloist whom The New York Times acclaimed for his “fiery vibrato, dramatic phrasing, richly voiced yet crisp forzando chords,” and called “a charismatic protagonist and a generous collaborator” in Dvořák’s beloved Cello Concerto. The conductor who led the concert with “decisive urgency” and who delivered “a slow burn that built toward truly stirring finales.” Altogether, “an evening of bold, charismatic musical storytelling.”

 

Sorry you missed it? Don’t be! The New York Philharmonic debut of Sheku Kanneh-Mason — the cellist who took the world by storm at the 2018 Royal wedding — and the return of conductor Simone Young is now available on NYPhil+, our streaming platform presenting hours of historic and newly recorded performances.

 

The November 2021 program, which took place at Alice Tully Hall, also features two of the three Bs of classical music: Webern’s respectful yet powerful orchestration of J.S. Bach’s Fuga (Ricercata) from Musical Offering, and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1.

 

The concert will be available on NYPhil+ for 90 days.

The Tough Questions

 Julius Eastman, by Marbeth

Despite Julius Eastman’s early success as a composer and performer, a confluence of tragic circumstances led to his becoming isolated and unhoused, not ever having had the chance to hear his only symphony performed by the time he died at age 49. Jaap van Zweden will conduct the Philharmonic’s first performances of the work (Symphony No. II — The Faithful Friend: The Lover Friend’s Love for the Beloved) on February 3 and 5, in the second week of orchestral performances in Authentic Selves: The Beauty Within.

Before that, on Friday, January 28, at 1:45 p.m. ET, Unjust Malaise: Julius Eastman and a Broken Mental Health System delves into the avant-garde composer’s life and the ways in which society ostracizes, even criminalizes, behavior deemed to be deviant. The conversation will be streamed live on the Philharmonic’s Facebook page.

The event — the third installment of The Unanswered Questions, the new series presented by the NY Phil and John Jay College of Criminal Justice exploring complex societal topics raised by the Orchestra’s programming — features composer, music historian, and conductor Luciano Chessa; Leah Goodridge, Esq., managing attorney for housing policy at Mobilization for Justice; poet R. Nemo Hill; and composer-performer Mary Jane Leach. Gayle Murchison, associate professor of music at the College of William and Mary, moderates the discussion. 

The first two events in The Unanswered Questions are already available on demand on YouTubeUnjust Malaise will be added at a later date.

RECONNECT with YPCs Online


Kids — of all ages — can now enjoy the New York Philharmonic’s beloved Young People’s Concerts with RECONNECT, our new set of virtual YPCs, available on NYPhil+ and at nyphil.org/reconnect. Each episode centers on music by composers trying to reconnect with the people and places they miss.

Episode 1 centers on Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, with Sheku Kanneh-Mason as soloist, conducted by Simone Young in November 2021, revealing the composer’s longing for his Czech homeland while he was living in New York City.

Episode 2 explores Anna Clyne’s Within Her Armswhich Music Director Jaap van Zweden conducted at our season-opening concerts that also featured poet Mahogany L. Browne this past September showing how music and poetry can help express big emotions.

Episode 3 is coming soon. It focuses on Very Young Composers and features performances of Devon Lee’s and Larissa Lakner’s compositions alongside their reflections on ideas of reaching out to old friends and connecting with composing itself.

These performances and discussions are complemented by Philharmonic Teaching Artist–designed lessons and activities, also available free at nyphil.org/reconnect.

Hear the NY Phil in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” in Theaters and on CD Today

Released today: Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of West Side Story, as well as the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, with music performed by the NY Phil and Gustavo Dudamel.

Steven Spielberg’s anticipated new reimagining of West Side Story, with music performed by the New York Philharmonic under conductor Gustavo Dudamel, opens in theaters today. The West Side Story Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is also available on CD today, with a vinyl version coming in early 2022. The digital versions — both standard and Dolby Atmos Music — are available to stream here.

The film is an adaptation of the original 1957 Broadway show with music by Philharmonic Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The soundtrack comprises 21 songs from the film; the physical versions will feature liner notes from Academy Award®–winning composer and West Side Story music consultant John Williams.

ABOUT THE MOVIE

Directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner, West Side Story tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (María). Moreno — one of only three artists to be honored with Academy®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony® and Peabody Awards — also serves as one of the film’s executive producers. 

Bringing together the best of both Broadway and Hollywood, the film’s creative team includes Kushner, who also served as an executive producer; Tony Award® winner Justin Peck, who choreographed the musical numbers in the film; renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor and GRAMMY Award® winner Gustavo Dudamel, who helmed the recording of the iconic score; Academy Award®-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (Anastasia), who arranged the score, Tony Award®-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Thoroughly Modern Millie), who supervised the cast on vocals; and GRAMMY®-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (Beauty and the Beast, Chicago), who serves as executive music producer for the film. The film is produced by Spielberg, p.g.a., Academy Award®-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger, p.g.a. and Tony Award®-winning producer Kevin McCollum. West Side Story has been adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway show. Original choreography by Jerome Robbins, based on the stage play, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, play conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, music by Leonard Bernstein. 

From 20th Century Studio, The Walt Disney Company releases West Side Story in US theaters today. 

Gala Celebrates that New York’s Orchestra Is Back!

New York’s Orchestra Is Back! That was the very apt title of last night’s Gala evening with Itzhak Perlman. The heart of the evening was, of course the New York Philharmonic, with Music Director Jaap van Zweden conducting works by Mozart, Prokofiev, and Johann Strauss II, and joining the legendary violinist for Bruch’s beloved Violin Concerto No. 1.

Guests at the Gala, held in Alice Tully Hall, were treated to a full evening’s festivities. They reunited at a pre-concert reception and reconvened at a dinner where they mingled with glamorous guests and Philharmonic musicians — and were regaled by the jazz band Del and the Rad Rompers.

Musicians Up Close, on NYPhil+


Each musician in the New York Philharmonic is a true virtuoso. Beginning today until December 15, you can revel in their talents up close on NYPhil+. Four new programs present a variety of players from the string, wind, and brass sections performing chamber music composed across the centuries.

 

Daniela Candillari Conducts Philharmonic Brass: the conductor who led our performances of Thomson’s The Mother of Us All returns to head the Philharmonic brass in a bravura program of works by composers ranging from Bruckner to Dorothy Gates, the first woman to be an official composer with The Salvation Army Band.

 

Webern and Beethoven String Quartets: the New York Philharmonic String Quartet performs Webern’s Langsamer Satz of 1905, and Beethoven’s F-minor Quartetto serioso.

 

Chamber Music Gems: string and woodwind players are joined by harp and piano for works by J.S. Bach, Françaix, and Mendelssohn.

 

A Trio of Trios: musicians bring their artistry and expertise to this combination of works by two French composers, Poulenc and Debussy, and a serenade by the Hungarian Dohnányi.

 

The performances were captured at the Kaufman Music Center’s Merkin Hall and at Manhattan School of Music’s Neidorff-Karpati Hall in the fall of 2020 and winter of 2021. Catch them before December 15 and browse through the offerings for full orchestra on NYPhil+.

Composing Inclusion

The Juilliard School’s Preparatory Division, in partnership with the New York Philharmonic and the American Composers Forum, has been selected by the Sphinx Organization as a recipient of a 2022 Sphinx Venture Fund grant. The $100,000 award will catalyze the first two years of a partnership designed to bring together multiple generations, musical levels, perspectives, and community members in the creation and performance of new music.

 

The program, named Composing Inclusion, will commission nine composers who identify as Black and / or Latinx to create “flexible” — or adaptable — scores suited for different musical levels, bringing together young and seasoned musicians. The works will all be premiered by New York Philharmonic musicians and Juilliard Preparatory Division students in side-by-side performances, and will be published and shared with professional ensembles throughout the country who have established partnerships with youth music programs.

 

Composing Inclusion will connect Preparatory Division students and student composers from the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composer’s Program (VYC) with nine composers selected and supported through collaboration with the American Composers Forum. The new works resulting from this initiative will be five orchestral pieces, one string quartet, one wind quintet, one brass quintet, and one piece for percussion ensemble. All nine composers will be selected and commissioned in 2022 and 2023, and the first premiere will take place in New York in an upcoming season. 

 

The New York Philharmonic will engage its musicians, partner youth ensembles, and Teaching Artists in creating and performing these works in the first-ever side-by-side collaboration by Philharmonic musicians and Juilliard Preparatory Division students. Further, the composers who participate in VYC will contribute ideas during the creative process and will have the opportunity to be mentored by the professional composers. VYC is an after-school program that teaches children — both those with and those without previous musical training — to create, notate, and experience their very own music, most of which is performed by Philharmonic musicians. 

 

Gary Padmore, New York Philharmonic Director, Education and Community Engagement, The Sue B. Mercy Chair, said: “We are excited about the impact this initiative will have on the Philharmonic and the many young, talented musicians with whom we collaborate each season. Through these rich artistic experiences, we will collectively celebrate and amplify the works of living Black and Latinx composers. This is only the beginning.”