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'Mr. Gilbert Could Not Stop Dancing'

Alan Gilbert 

Critical acclaim confirms what everyone around here has seen, heard, and felt this past week: Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic are off to a bright start to the season.

Of last Thursday's concert, The New York Times' Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim wrote:

"There were many moments during this first subscription concert, in which Alan Gilbert conducted works by Ravel, Bernstein and Tchaikovsky, when the musicians seemed to be having far too much fun to justify the word 'work.' For starters, Mr. Gilbert could not stop dancing. His conducting is always physically animated, but in Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances From West Side Story, the Latin rhythms took shape in expressive body movements that ranged from a quick forward snap of the shoulder and a slight twitch of the hips to the theatrical flamenco arm gesture with which he brought the Alborada to a close."

Tickets are still available for tonight's performance of that program.

Reviewing the Opening Gala, which took place last Wednesday, Sedgwick Clark wrote, in Musical America, that Mr. Gilbert and the Orchestra delivered "a smashing performance. ... The Philharmonic is in great shape these days." In New York Classical Review, Eric C. Simpson, describing Boléro, wrote that "Gilbert certainly deserves credit for drawing disciplined playing and vibrant tone out of his orchestra." 

Noting the standing ovation the audience gave the Philharmonic and Yo-Yo Ma's performance Osvaldo Golijov's Azul, Simpson wrote, "New York audiences have a reputation for stodginess, but Gilbert has demonstrated repeatedly that compelling performances of admirable new music can be invigorating for both performers and listeners."

VIDEO: Gala Goings-On

The buzz of activity — behind the scenes and onstage, before and during the concert — that made the New York Philharmonic's Opening Gala Concert the place to be on September 25, 2013, included: arrivals, receptions, orchestra and audience standing for the National Anthem, Audra McDonald taping her commentary for the concert's future Live From Lincoln Center telecast, and the rousing conclusion with Ravel's Boléro.

SLIDESHOW: A Glamorous Opening Gala

The New York Philharmonic's 2013–14 season kicked off yesterday with a full day of celebratory activities: a Free Dress Rehearsal, courtesy of the Philharmonic and Global Sponsor Credit Suisse, complete with chocolates and tango dancers; buzzing pre-concert receptions; the Opening Gala Concert itself headlined by Yo-Yo Ma; and the post-concert dinner. Relive the day's highlights!

Free Dress Rehearsal 2013

Free Dress Rehearsal 

It's just after noon, and the Philharmonic can be heard playing Boléro, the closer of tonight's Opening Gala Concert as well as today's Free Dress Rehearsal. The first people in line arrived at 4:50 a.m., and a total of approximately 1,500 fans joined them. They enjoyed morning sun; free water and chocolate courtesy of Global Sponsor Credit Suisse; and tango performances and lessons by dancers from Triangulo. A handful of Philharmonic musicians (including violinist Hae-Young Ham, above, at left) greeted fans and even tangoed. Five lucky fans won the raffle prize: an iPod Shuffle loaded with Philharmonic performances.

Watch this space for more on today's events, including a full slideshow capturing these and more elements of the day and night. It's been a terrific morning, thanks to all who joined us, and here's to a great 2013–14 Season!

 

New Worlds, New Audience

"2001: A Space Odyssey" at NY Philharmonic 

Thank you to all who joined us for 2001: A Space Odyssey — especially those new to us. The New York Times' Anthony Tommasini wrote, "Like the previous film night earlier last week, devoted to music from Alfred Hitchcock movies, this event packed the hall with exactly the demographic of younger, diverse people American orchestras are trying to reach."

More than half the audience was new to our database, and almost half of the audience for Hitchcock!, the other program in The Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic, was new.

"The ovation at the end was long and ardent," Tommasini wrote. "Maybe this film night will entice some newcomers to take in a symphonic program without a film."

We hope so, knowing there are many more thrilling moments in our new season, which opens tomorrow.

 

New York Sees Red

Empire State Building Lit Red 

Film Week has completed its tremendously fun (and critically acclaimed) run, so bring on the new season. It begins Wednesday, with the Opening Gala featuring Yo-Yo Ma in an Argentine-themed program of pieces by Osvaldo Golijov, Ravel, and Piazzolla. Look up and you’ll see the Empire State Building shining Philharmonic red in our honor for the third straight year. Tweet a photo including hashtag #nyp1314!

 The concert is sold out, but you can hear the program at the Free Dress Rehearsal — and enjoy tango performances and lessons while you wait in line. You can also hear it broadcast live on our radio partner, WQXR!

'Fabulously Entertaining'

Hitchcock! 

Writing in The New York Times, critic Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim called Tuesday night's Hitchcock! "fabulously entertaining." She noted Alec Baldwin's "insightful commentary" and the orchestra's "glorious sound" in Dimitri Tiomkin's score for Dial M for Murder. If you missed it, Film Week at the Philharmonic continues Friday and Saturday with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Don't miss it.

(Photo: Brian Harkin for The New York Times)

Exhibit: The Music Behind the Movie

Hitchcock Camera
 

When you're attending Hitchcock! (tonight or tomorrow) or 2001: A Space Odyssey (Friday or Saturday), check out The Music Behind the Movie, an exhibit of photographs, posters, correspondence, and production materials related to select Alfred Hitchcock films and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The musical selection, composition, and recording processes are given special focus through the exhibition of score facsimiles, orchestral recording cue sheets, correspondence between composers and directors, and more. The exhibit is presented by the New York Philharmonic Archives and the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The exhibit will be in the Bruno Walter Gallery on the Grand Promenade level of Avery Fisher Hall, and is free for those attending these performances from THE ART OF THE SCORE: Film Week at the Philharmonic.

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