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Alan Gilbert and Phil’s Il Prigioniero on N.Y. Times, WQXR Best of 2013

Alan Gilbert conducts  

The New York Times Critic Anthony Tommasini put Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic’s June 2013 performance of Dallapiccola’s Il Prigioniero on his list of the year’s memorable concerts.

“Alan Gilbert, a champion of the most challenging 20th-century scores,” he wrote,

was at his inspired best for the New York Philharmonic’s concert performance in June of Luigi Dallapiccola’s opera “Il Prigioniero” (“The Prisoner”). First staged in Italy in 1950, this wrenching work is the story of a nameless prisoner during the Spanish Inquisition who is visited by his mother. The audience responded with a five-minute ovation for a 12-tone opera. How often does that happen?

On WQXR’s Operavore, critic Fred Plotkin gave Il Prigioniero two of his “First Annual Excellence in Opera Awards (AKA The Freddies),” for Sustained Excellence in Performance and Operas New to Me.

Alan Gilbert and Philharmonic Take 3 of NYMag’s Top 10 Concerts

ny mag 

In baseball, 3 for 10 is a .300 average — the benchmark of a top hitter. In music it’s not bad, either.

Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic have three concerts on New York magazine's “10 Best Classical Performances of the Year” — more than any other musical institution.

Equally satisfying is the wide range the three concerts reflect. Here’s what critic Justin Davidson wrote:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey, from September's Art of the Score: Film Week at the Philharmonic. “Stanley Kubrick’s trippy meditation on galactic travel never seemed more operatic than when the Philharmonic ripped the great soundtrack out of two dimensions and into the concert hall.”
  • Unsuk Chin's Gougalon, from the April CONTACT! concerts: “Scored for a jangly ensemble of percussion, strings, winds, and brass, the piece, subtitled 'Scenes From a Street Theater,' evokes the raucous soundtrack of the composer’s native Seoul. ... Chin’s work made the whole concert snap into focus.”
  • Ives’s Symphony No. 4, from an April subscription concert: “Few conductors can whip Ives’s crazy megalopolis of a score into luminous sense more effectively than Alan Gilbert.”

Lindberg, Bronfman Nominated for Two Grammys for Philharmonic CD

Lindberg CD cover

The New York Philharmonic's recording (distributed by Dacapo) of the World Premiere of Magnus Lindberg's Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring Yefim Bronfman and conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, has been nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Classical Instrumental Solo and Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The Philharmonic's former Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, Magnus Lindberg composed his Piano Concerto No. 2, co-commissioned by the Philharmonic, for Mr. Bronfman.

The album is available for purchase from the New York Philharmonic’s e-store, Amazon, iTunes, and other music retailers.

Yefim Bronfman, the Philharmonic's current Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, will reprise the concerto with the Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert January 2–3 and 7, 2014.

Congratulations to all!

Alan Gilbert Gives 'Glistening Clarity' to Britten

Alan Gilbert 

About the all-Britten program Music Director Alan Gilbert conducted Nov. 21–23, The New Yorker's Alex Ross wrote, "Alan Gilbert, on the podium, gave glistening clarity to the insectoid instrumental writing" in Spring Symphony.

In The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini wrote, describing the same work: "Mr. Gilbert drew out the modernist strands of this score. The performance from the inspired orchestra, the New York Choral Artists and the impressive Brooklyn Youth Chorus was a highlight of the Britten year."

Munich Critics Hail Alan Gilbert's Bruckner

Alan Gilbert in Munich 

Alan Gilbert's Munich Philharmonic concerts October 31–November 3 bolstered his reputation as a "consistently involving and insightful" (The New York Times) interpreter of Bruckner.

The concerts closed with that composer's Symphony No. 4, Romantic. The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote:

"[Gilbert] lent a monstrous supernatural quality to the romantic search for transcendence through a smoldering pianissimo in the first violins and a threateningly stoic timpani roll. He shaped the distinctive horn motif in the Scherzo with a strict tempo and cool expression, while the circular string melody at the beginning of the finale sparkled with an understated endlessness. An evening as suspenseful as it was profound."

The Munich Abendzeitung said:

"Gilbert took a risk by countering the traditional serene style with which this composer is predominantly treated in Munich performances ... aiming in many ways to reach just the opposite: a billowing and forceful music full of life, performed with a tonal selectivity. Gilbert possesses an innate sensibility for crescendos and nuances. He is a remarkable conductor of Bruckner: he has something to say."

Alan Gilbert Leads Philharmonic at Opening of 4 World Trade Center

4 World Trade Center 

At the invitation of Philharmonic Board member Larry A. Silverstein, president and CEO of Silverstein Properties, last night Alan Gilbert conducted members of the Philharmonic in a performance that was part of the two-day opening celebration of the new 4 World Trade Center. The original 4 WTC was destroyed by the attacks on September 11, 2001.

We are honored to continue to help our City recover from that day. On September 20, 2001, the Philharmonic replaced its Gala Opening Night Concert with a Memorial Concert in memory of the victims of September 11. Proceeds from the concert were donated to World Trade Center relief. The program was projected onto a large screen on Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza and broadcast nationally.

On the tenth anniversary of September 11, Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic gave A Concert for New York, a free performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Resurrection. 

Watch video of those concerts and learn much more here.

What Do Alan Gilbert and Tom Brady Have in Common?

Talent, practice, hand signals, tempo.... Watch this thoughtful, fun story reported by Wynton Marsalis for CBS This Morning on the similarities between being a top quarterback and a top conductor. Don't miss the studio banter with Charlie Rose at the end, featuring a shout-out to Principal Trumpet Philip Smith, who we just announced is retiring from the Philharmonic at the end of this season.

Alan Gilbert Back in Germany for Dates in Munich, Hamburg

Alan Gilbert 

Music Director Alan Gilbert is back in Germany. He arrived in Munich on Monday, and he's been rehearsing with the Munich Philharmonic for concerts October 31–November 3. After that, he heads to Hamburg to lead the NDR Symphony November 7–10.

Gilbert led the Berlin Philharmonic September 12–14 in a program of Lutosławski, Janáček, and Bartók. In its review, the Berliner Zeitung wrote:

“The precision of Gilbert’s interpretation as he negotiates moments within the piece as a whole, along with the extent to which he brings out the true essence of the work, is truly impressive. ... The audience, thrilled by the performance, continued to applaud the conductor even as the musicians had already begun to pack up their instruments backstage.”

The Berliner Morgenpost said:

“Guest conducting the Berlin Philharmonic can be such a pleasure, with the approval of the orchestra, that is — and they approve of Alan Gilbert. The musicians trust him completely, and give him total liberty over the work.... [T]he sound that emerges from the expert orchestra is most impressive.”

The Munich concerts feature a program of Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, with Yefim Bronfman, The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence. Gilbert and Bronfman will perform the concerto in June, during The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival.

"I love conducting in Munich!" Gilbert said:

"There’s something so focused about the way the audience treats the whole musical experience. It’s a special place to perform, and to be able to do Bruckner with the Munich Philharmonic, an orchestra that has done so many wonderful Bruckner performances with, among others, Mehta, Celibidache and Levine, is something I’m looking forward to enormously. This is the second time I’m conducting the orchestra. Our first time together had such a special chemistry that it’s a real shame it has taken so long to have the chance to perform together again."

The Hamburg program consists of Dvorák's Violin Concerto (with Frank Peter Zimmermann) and Gilbert's A Ring Journey, his arrangement, after Erich Leinsdorf, of music by Wagner.

(Photo: Alan Gilbert conducts the Berlin Philharmonic, September 2013, by dpa)