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Praise for Alan Gilbert and Philharmonic's Rouse Requiem at Carnegie Hall

Alan Gilbert NY Philharmonic Carnegie Hall 

"Spring for Music opened on Monday evening at Carnegie Hall with a powerful performance of Christopher Rouse’s Requiem by the New York Philharmonic and the Westminster Symphonic Choir, conducted by Alan Gilbert," The New York Times review began. "[I]t is hard to imagine Mr. Rouse’s work receiving a more rapt reception — or a more passionate performance..."

Superconductor's Paul J. Pelkonen wrote:

The Sanctus was a slow-building crescendo, started by the singers of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus in the first tier of the hall. Conducting with eyes in the back of his head, Mr. Gilbert divided his attention between this offstage force and the massive orchestra in front of him, adding elements of sound as the whole rose to a stupefying climax. ...

Alan Gilbert directed this flow of musical traffic, ensuring a smooth switching between these interacting blocks of sound, building one upon another like the alternating sections of a Bruckner chorale. The work came to a soft, redemptive close with a soft final statement of the Requiem theme. The applause that followed was another welcome, percussive roar of sound. said:

Conductor Alan Gilbert conducted this New York premiere with his usual aplomb, care and actual excitement. Without that excitement, in fact, the Rouse Requiem might have been a lament only for the dead, rather than the very living participants.

Listen to WQXR's archived audio stream.

(Photo: Chris Lee)

WSJ Catches Up with Alan Gilbert at Juilliard Gala

Juilliard Alan Gilbert NY Philharmonic 

Music Director Alan Gilbert and Renée Fleming were among the Juilliard alumni featured last week at a gala fundraiser. Alan conducted the Juilliard Orchestra during the evening's concert.

The Wall Street Journal's Corinne Ramey reported:

New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert said conducting the Juilliard orchestra that evening brought him back to his student days.

"It's when I discovered what it felt like to be debilitatingly nervous, and was learning how to deal with that fear and those nerves," he said. Mr. Gilbert, who has since conquered his nerves, now teaches at his alma mater.

"He would get up there on the podium with you," said the conductor Evan Rogister, a former student of Mr. Gilbert...

Spring for Music 'an Opportunity to Make a Statement,' Alan Gilbert Tells NYT

In a preview of Spring for Music, the festival that kicks off Monday at Carnegie Hall with a New York Philharmonic performance of Rouse's Requiem led by Alan Gilbert, The New York Times wrote: 

Philharmonic veterans could perhaps be excused for feeling a bit blasé about yet another appearance in Carnegie. But Mr. Gilbert, the music director, is having none of that.

“We’re very honored to be a part of Spring for Music,” he said, “fortunate to play in Carnegie Hall. It’s an opportunity to make a statement.”

Mr. Gilbert will finally take on Christopher Rouse’s Requiem, a big, long, difficult work and a project he has been toying with for several years. The orchestra will be joined by Jacques Imbrailo, a baritone; the Westminster Symphonic Choir; and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

“It is a massive undertaking,” Mr. Gilbert said, “emotionally, physically and logistically demanding. It is too much its own beast to be performed several nights in a subscription week.”

The work had its premiere in 2007, presented by Grant Gershon and the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Orchestra, and has not been performed since.

“Fun is not the word,” Mr. Gilbert said of the challenge. “It is vintage Chris,” he added, referring to Mr. Rouse, the Philharmonic’s composer in residence, whom he called “one of the real composers working these days.”

Mr. Rouse’s music, he added, “has true human dimension.”

NYT Hails Gilbert's 'Confident and Exuberant' Bernstein

Alan Gilbert Makoto Ozone NY Philharmonic 

In a review of April 22's A Night with Gershwin and Bernstein concert, The New York Times' Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim noted

the confident and exuberant performances Mr. Gilbert drew from the orchestra in Bernstein’s “Candide” Overture — dispatched with brisk cheer — and his Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story,” which featured a memorably wild Mambo. A vivid rendition of Gershwin’s “American in Paris” closed the evening.

That was after raving about pianist Makoto Ozone's "thrilling, virtuosic and unabashedly personal rendition of 'Rhapsody in Blue.'"

In February, he joined the Philharmonic on its Asian tour in performances of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” that were so successful — and evidently, fun — that the orchestra’s music director, Alan Gilbert, arranged for an out-of-series concert with Mr. Ozone in New York.

 (Photo: Chris Lee)

Rhapsody Names Beethoven-Gershwin Recording to Top 10 in April

Rhapsody Alan Gilbert and the NY Philharmonic 

The audio streaming site Rhapsody named the April 14 release of music by Beethoven and Gershwin to its Top 10 Classical Albums, April 2014 list. The release is part of Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic: 2013–14 series, which contains 10 releases for download and streaming.

The Gershwin piece on the release is An American in Paris, which Alan will conduct April 22 (sold out, but check for turnbacks).

Alan Gilbert To Give Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture

Alan Gilbert Royal Philharmonic Society NY Philharmonic 

Following in the footsteps of composer Steve Reich and critic Alex Ross, Music Director Alan Gilbert will give the Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture in 2015. In its announcement the RPS said the lecture allows "leading practitioners and thinkers to discuss the future of classical music."

“It is a great honor to be invited to give the Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture when the New York Philharmonic will be in London on our EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour," Gilbert said. "The subject of classical music and its future is always in my mind, so being able to address them by following a line of important composers, critics, and administrators in this high-profile forum will be both a challenge and a pleasure.”

Alan will deliver the lecture while the Orchestra is in London performing concerts at the Barbican Centre, during its second International Associate Residency, as part of the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour. 

The lecture continues a relationship forged between the New York Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Society during the RPS Bicentenary in 2013, which included the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Frieze, a New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Royal Philharmonic Society and the BBC.

Stockholm Critics Praise Alan Gilbert's Bruckner

Alan Gilbert Royal Stockholm Philharmonic 

Music Director Alan Gilbert received the following acclaim from critics after conducting Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 with the Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra, April 3 and 5:

“Alan Gilbert is the right person for the difficult task of making Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony a fresh and exciting work for an audience of today. Gilbert has a superb feeling for the small shifts in volume, balance and register, and he squeezes the best out of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Furthermore, he has understood the importance of steady and precise rhythms in [the] piece. ... The very same features that may sound messy and without guidance in some recordings become razor sharp in Gilbert’s reading. The Bruckner Eight is a journey from darkness to light and back again, over and over, as a musical yin and yang symbol. The deep dark and the blinding light are both conveyed clearly thanks to Gilbert and the RSPO.” — Nicholas Ringskog Ferrada-Noli, Dagens Nyheter, April 5, 2014

“[Gilbert’s Bruckner Eight] felt mature and slightly subdued, although with a fresh explosion in the climax of the Adagio. In general, he avoided big effects in favor of attention to details, nuanced dynamics and overall balance. ... [A] most satisfactory interpretation...” — Lars Hedblad, Svenska Dagbladet, April 5, 2014

(Photo: Jan-Olav Wedin)