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Biennial Beat: Philharmonic Finale with Friends Boulez, Stucky, and Nørgård

The steady crescendo of the past two weeks of the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL culminates in a grand finale on June 11, when Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic pay tribute to three Philharmonic friends: Pierre Boulez, Steven Stucky, and Per Nørgård. This final Biennial Beat video takes you inside.

Renowned Danish composer Nørgård is the second recipient of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic, one of the world’s largest new-music prizes. His Eighth Symphony, well received at its premiere in Helsinki, will be given its U.S. Premiere. 

This powerful, lyrical work will be paired with a somewhat unusual piece by Pierre Boulez, an icon of 20th-century music and former Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Composed in 1976 as a 70th birthday present for his friend, new-music advocate Paul Sacher, Boulez scored Messagesquisse for solo cello accompanied by six additional cellos. This performance will feature Philharmonic cellist Eric Bartlett as soloist plus his colleagues from the Philharmonic cello section.

Also on the program: the New York Premiere of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Second Concerto for Orchestra by the late Steven Stucky, one of his most popular works and a stunning showpiece for the Orchestra. Stucky is a composer with a long and close relationship with the New York Philharmonic, having been commissioned twice and also as the host of the Orchestra’s Hear & Now series. 

Click here for more about the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.

Biennial Beat Episode Three: Aspen at the Whitney and the Next Generation

Week two of the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL is underway!

This episode of Biennial Beat (watch above) focuses on an important theme of the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL: showcasing the next generation of composers and musicians. This biennial features premieres written and performed by students and alumni from the world’s top music schools, festivals, and youth choruses, ranging from age seven to post-graduates, from the east coast to the west coast, from North America to Asia.

On June 8 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble performs music by recent alumni of the Aspen Music Festival and School: Thomas Kotcheff, Nina C. Young, and Christopher Stark. The concert will also include music of Aspen faculty member Stephen Hartke and the late Steven Stucky as well as a piece by The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Esa-Pekka Salonen. All are New York Premieres.

Other members of the next generation featured in the NY PHIL BIENNIAL: Interlochen Arts Academy, the San Francisco Girls Chorus, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Yale’s New Music New Haven, and alumni from the LUCERNE FESTIVAL. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program, highlighting the youngest generation of budding composers. 

Click here for more about the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.

From the Inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL: Premiere of Rouse's Fourth Symphony

NY Philharmonic Rouse NY PHIL BIENNIAL

With the NY PHIL BIENNIAL 2016 in full swing, relive the inaugural edition with the newly released Dacapo recording of Christopher Rouse’s Symphony No. 4 (among other rousing Rouse works), which received its acclaimed World Premiere at the 2014 NY PHIL BIENNIAL. Musical America calls the Fourth Symphony “skillful and mature … the best Rouse I’ve heard in 20 years.”

Buy the CD here, or check it out on Spotify and iTunes.

Catch this year's biennial World Premiere with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic: William Bolcom's Trombone Concerto, with Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi as soloist, June 10.

Biennial Beat Episode Two: The Importance of Being Earnest

The NY PHIL BIENNIAL got off to a boundary-pushing start on Monday with JACK Quartet in a concert of World and New York Premieres at 92nd Street Y, followed by the launch of Jennifer Koh’s sprawling Shared Madness at National Sawdust last night.

“Do You Love Quoting Oscar Wilde’s Bons Mots?” asked The New York Times in its super-helpful NY PHIL BIENNIAL guide. “If you’re intrigued by all things Wilde … try the Irish composer Gerald Barry’s opera based on ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’ It is having its first staged production in the United States from June 2 through 4 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theate.”

See you there? Great. Get ready with episode two of Biennial Beat — a video series filling you in on the stories behind the biennial — featuring The Importance of Being Earnest and its wild staging.

Webcasts, Broadcasts, and Recordings from the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL

Are you unable to join us in person for the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL? If so, you may be suffering from NY PHIL BIENNIAL FOMO.

We’re here to help.

Numerous biennial performances will be made available through live video webcasts, live audio streams, and on-demand video and audio. There’s even going to be a 24-hour biennial radio marathon.

Here’s a rundown (all times are EDT):

'Earnest' Wows London Before Coming to NY PHIL BIENNIAL

The Importance of Being Earnest New York Philharmonic 

The critics have spoken! Gerald Barry’s comic opera The Importance of Being Earnest was revived last week at the Barbican Centre to great acclaim.

Not in London? Not a problem. The cast and creative team will reunite at the NY PHIL BIENNIAL for the production’s U.S. Stage Premiere June 2–4.

Get excited with these rave reviews:

“Gerald Barry’s unlikely opera interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest might be one of the best operas of recent times. But more importantly it surely breaks a record for toasted tea cake consumption.” –

“The Importance of Being Earnest in opera form at the Barbican does the original fin-de-siècle play full justice. Director Ramin Gray has successfully managed to embody the Wildian spirit in musical form, turning it into a frolicsome trip into the decadent late Victorian culture.” – The Upcoming (five-star review)

“This is a show for anyone dipping their toe into opera. It’s also for Wilde fans brave enough to revisit Earnest in a very different way. Go on, we dare you.” – The Londonist

Here's a taste:

Just Announced: More Details for the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL

The 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL is quickly approaching, and today we announced new events, a social media contest, and program updates for the second edition of the new-music festival The New York Times praised as “perhaps the most ambitious and extensive contemporary-music festival yet overseen by an American orchestra.”

Here’s a rundown of the new activities:

“NY PHIL BIENNIAL: A Player’s Guide”: A free biennial preview night with Music Director Alan Gilbert, May 11 at the David Rubenstein Atrium

Play Dates: Audience members attending select biennial concerts will be invited to Play Dates, post-concert meet-ups with composers and performers over cocktails

#biennialist: The five attendees who attend the most NY PHIL BIENNIAL events and post about it on Instagram or Twitter will win a free pair of tickets to the final concert.

And among the program updates:

Curated concerts and 30+ composers to be featured in the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival at National Sawdust

Boulez’s Messagesquisse and the New York Premiere of Stucky’s Second Concerto for Orchestra added to the finale program, with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic, in tribute to the late composers

See you May 23–June 11!