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Dvořák 9 on Kazoo? What’s New with The New World Initiative

If you haven’t heard the Largo from Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony played on kazoos, see this extremely clever and fun video.

As part of The New World Initiative — the Philharmonic’s season-long, citywide immersion in Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World — the cartoon-loving jazz band The Queen’s Cartoonists arranged a smart, jazzy version of Dvořák’s New World Symphony — cycling through the work’s main themes in two minutes using kazoos, upright bass, saxophone, and more.

There are still many opportunities to hear this work performed as part of The New World Initiative. Upcoming performances include a joint concert with the highly acclaimed students of Opus 118 Harlem School of Music and The Harlem Chamber Players, a musical saw performance by Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz, a community chamber concert featuring two arrangements of the Largo hosted by The Broadway Bach Ensemble, and a new work by Bruce Adolphe inspired by the New World Symphony titled Dvorshock performed by the International Chamber Orchestra of America, paired with maya + rouvelle’s live, virtual-reality performance.

More than 1,000 musicians from all five boroughs have been spreading the sounds of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World throughout the city: from NYC classrooms and churches to concert halls and subway stations. It’s not too late to join in the fun! Visit newworldinitiative.com to learn more.

N.Y. Philharmonic Teaching Artists Complete Five-Borough School Tour


In School Concerts, by the numbers:

From February 14 to March 6, more than 5,000 students and 236 teachers in grades 3–5 participated in 19 Philharmonic Schools interactive concerts at 15 partner schools throughout New York City’s five boroughs.

The performers included a string quintet of New York Philharmonic Teaching Artists: Stani Dimitrova (violin), Caeli Smith (violin), Marie Daniels (viola), Mitchell Lyon (cello), and Brian Ellingsen (bass).

These five-borough tours happen each year as part of the Philharmonic Schools program.

The concert, titled Finding Our Roots, explored how different composers found inspiration in their own roots — in their own life, in their travels, in their family traditions, or even the history of their country or a country where their ancestors grew up. The repertoire included:

Dvořák  String Quartet No. 2, Op. 77, 1st Movement
Ives  String Quartet No. 1, 1st Movement 
Libby Larsen  Sorrow Song and Jubilee
Daniel Bernard Roumain  String Quartet No. 5, 2nd Movement “Klap Ur Handz”
Dvořák  String Quartet in Eb, 4th Movement

“My favorite moment of each performance was seeing the students move to the music. ... They were always so excited, often leaping to their feet. They would stare at Stani with such concentration, you could see they really wanted to internalize the music and experience it physically,” said Caeli Smith.

Mitchell Lyon said, “I always looked forward to Brian inviting a volunteer on stage to compose a melody using the pentatonic scale. Their nerves from being up in front of their peers would melt away the second the note they were pointing to came floating out of Stani's violin and the baton became almost a musical magic wand in their hands.”

“I was truly amazed when at one of our first concerts, a little bit into [“Klap Ur Handz”], the students’ regular clap turned into an incredibly complex clapping pattern in which the students were able to stay perfectly together,” Stani Dimitrova added.

(Photos: Michael DiVito)

Deborah Borda To Return as President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic


Today Philharmonic Chairman Oscar S. Schafer, on behalf of the Board of Directors and Music Director Designate Jaap van Zweden, announced that Deborah Borda will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Philharmonic on September 15, 2017. In addition, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Thomas will become Executive Director, effective May 1, 2017. Ms. Borda will succeed Matthew VanBesien, who has held the Orchestra’s chief administrative post since 2012.

Deborah Borda has served as president and CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2000, having previously served in the same capacity at the New York Philharmonic during the 1990s. “This is a homecoming for me as a native New Yorker, but, more than that, it is a key transitional moment filled with opportunity to make a difference for one of the great musical organizations of the world — the New York Philharmonic,” she said. “The major factors that have led me here are my immediate sense of partnership with Jaap van Zweden and our shared belief in forging new ways forward. The passionate commitment of the Board to the future, the remarkable quality of the Orchestra, and the ability to promote the superb and trusted administrator Bill Thomas to the position of Executive Director were all critical to my decision. New York City and Lincoln Center stand at the crossroads of the artistic world and the opportunities for collaboration and partnerships within our vibrant community are thrilling. While embracing this challenging new work, I sincerely wish to express my deepest thanks and admiration for Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic ‘family,’ who have been courageous and loving partners over 17 years.”

Of the appointment, Oscar Schafer said: “The search committee and I immediately knew that Deborah Borda was the best and only person to help lead the New York Philharmonic at this pivotal time as we head into an exciting future along with Jaap van Zweden. She is recognized worldwide as a premier leader in the arts, and her proven track record of bold vision and innovative leadership fits hand in hand with this great city and this great Orchestra. We could not be more thrilled that she has chosen to return to the New York Philharmonic and to her New York home. Alongside Bill Thomas, whose expertise and experience has guided the Philharmonic over 15 years, we look forward to working together in partnership as we lay the groundwork for this Orchestra’s next 175 years. I’d like to thank the search committee, especially Jaap van Zweden, for its diligent work during this process, and I would like to again acknowledge and sincerely thank Matthew VanBesien for his leadership and many accomplishments during his tenure these past five years.”

Deborah Borda’s return to the Philharmonic this September will coincide with Jaap van Zweden’s arrival as Music Director Designate. The Dutch maestro said: “Oscar Schafer’s masterful leadership has made the seemingly impossible dream of getting Deborah Borda back to the New York Philharmonic a reality! Her energy and commitment to music is unparalleled, and she has a special passion for community access and inclusion. We are thrilled to be welcoming Deborah back to New York, and I look forward to our partnership in launching a new era. Also, Bill Thomas has been and continues to be a great asset to our institution, and his new role will be vital to the teamwork ahead. Personally, I could not be more thrilled with these two appointments.”

Learn more about Deborah Borda and Bill Thomas.

On the Cover: Duoming Ba

Violinist Duoming Ba is proof positive of the power of kindness.

Originally from rural China, Duoming was performing a solo with her youth orchestra when a music lover in the audience recognized her talent. This benefactor went on to sponsor her education in America at the Curtis Institute of Music and loaned her the instrument she currently plays.

Duoming has certainly made good on this benefactor’s generosity. She finished her studies in 2003 and won a spot in the New York Philharmonic, where she has been playing ever since.

Watch Duoming Ba’s video Q&A above to hear more about her story — and to find out the trick to getting the full violin section to play perfectly in sync!

Follow us on Instagram later this month when Duoming takes over during the Philharmonic’s EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour.

Stay tuned: May will feature bassist David J. Grossman.

Learn more about violinist Duoming Ba.

Alan Gilbert To Conduct Philharmonic Joined by Musicians from Around the World, Celebrating Music’s Power to Unite


Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic believe in the power of music to heal, build bridges, and unite across borders. From the free performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and performing at the United Nations this past December to historic tours and deep international partnerships, the Orchestra and Alan Gilbert have long used music to make the world a better place. 

In his final subscription program, Alan Gilbert will lead the New York Philharmonic joined by musicians from orchestras around the world in concerts showcasing the universal language of music.

Alan Gilbert Season Finale: A Concert for Unity, June 8–10, will feature Gilbert conducting the Orchestra and musicians the Philharmonic has invited from orchestras in Australia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, and the United States in Mahler’s Symphony No. 7.

Yo-Yo Ma (June 8) and Wynton Marsalis (June 9), two close friends of the Philharmonic who share a deep commitment to musical humanism, will appear as special guest artists.

The concerts will launch a new initiative to be led by Alan Gilbert following his tenure as Philharmonic Music Director in which musicians from around the world will come together to perform music at critical times in support of peace, development, and human rights.

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Joining Together To Save the NEA


The New York Philharmonic has joined with the entire Lincoln Center community in calling upon the federal government to continue supporting the National Endowment for the Arts.

Music and all the other performing arts inspire and delight audiences, as we all know, but they do so much more, from expanding children’s potential and healing veterans to powering communities and the economy, and more! Read the full statement below, and consider what impact the arts have had in your own lives.


From our stages and screens at Lincoln Center in New York City — which draw more than six million people to the largest performing arts center in the world — to theaters, concert halls, and galleries across America, the arts inspire and delight people from every walk of life, at every stage of life. Read More...

Concertmaster Frank Huang Receives Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award


Concertmaster Frank Huang has been named a recipient of Lincoln Center’s Emerging Artists Award, which recognizes extraordinary talent around the campus. Frank, nominated by the New York Philharmonic, joins an illustrious list of Lincoln Center talent that will be honored at an awards presentation hosted by Sigourney Weaver on March 1 at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. More information is available at LCEmergingArtistAwards.org.
In 2016, the inaugural year of these awards, composer Julia Adolphe was the winner nominated by the Philharmonic. 

Hear Frank play at Alan Gilbert's 50th Birthday concert (February 23) and, as part of the New York Philharmonic String QuartetAbsolute Jest — A Celebration of John Adams (March 9–11).

Congratulations, Frank!

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Announcing Our 2017–18 Season!

This just in! We’ve released details about our 2017–18 season, celebrating what makes the Philharmonic great while looking to the future as we welcome Jaap van Zweden as Music Director Designate before he becomes Music Director in 2018–19.

Jaap van Zweden will lead New York Premieres by John Luther Adams and Philip Glass, plus Mahler, Wagner, Stravinsky, and Brahms. He also conducts the Orchestra on the ASIA / WINTER 2018 tour and during its second residency with the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan. Hear Jaap talk about next season and more here.

The Philharmonic will salute former Music Director Leonard Bernstein — the first to hand Jaap a baton — in his 100th birthday year with Bernstein’s Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival, led by Leonard Slatkin as well as Alan Gilbert in his first appearance after concluding his tenure as Music Director. The Orchestra will play Bernstein’s complete symphonies plus music tied to him. And Leonard Slatkin leads a Young People’s Concert, the beloved series Bernstein made famous (video here).

The season’s Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence is pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, who plays Rachmaninoff, Britten, and Debussy — plus a recital (video here).

Esa-Pekka Salonen’s final season as The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence features the New York Concert Premiere of his Helix, led by Susanna Mälkki, and Salonen conducting a World Premiere by Kravis Emerging Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, with Benjamin Grosvenor. He also curates a project for the 2018 NY PHIL BIENNIAL and advises on CONTACT!, which returns for its ninth season. The Orchestra will also present the World Premiere of a new work by Bent Sørensen, made possible with the support of the Kravis Prize for New Music, led by Christoph von Dohnányi (video here).

And in a concert hall not far, far away ... the Philharmonic will present the World Premiere of the Star Wars — Film Concert Series, featuring screenings of the complete films A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens with Oscar-winning composer’s John Williams’s scores performed live to the films, conducted by David Newman. THE ART OF THE SCORE will feature the New York Premiere screening of Amadeus — Live, led by Richard Kaufman and with Alec Baldwin as Artistic Advisor.

And Alan Gilbert returns to lead the Philharmonic’s 175th birthday concert, with Philharmonic Principal musicians in the spotlight.

For even more, check out Season Highlights plus videos of Philharmonic musicians’ picks and guest artist greetings.

(Photo: Chris Lee)

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