“How can we, as musicians, do our small part to help effect social change and respond to adversity in a world faced with unprecedented challenges? … I am honored to showcase this message with this great Orchestra in my hometown of New York City.”
— Alan Gilbert
Alan Gilbert believes in the power of music to heal, cross borders, and bring people together. That belief led him to conduct Takemitsu’s Requiem for Strings after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as well as the free performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. In his inaugural season he led the Orchestra’s first-ever performances in Vietnam and Abu Dhabi, and in December 2016 he conducted the Orchestra at the United Nations. In his final subscription program, he leads the Philharmonic joined by musicians from orchestras around the world in concerts celebrating the power of music to build bridges and unite people across borders. And he concludes his tenure in New York with one of his favorite Philharmonic traditions — the Concerts in the Parks.
Alan Gilbert and the Orchestra spoke in the international language of music in the Philharmonic’s debuts in Vietnam and Abu Dhabi in 2010. In December 2016 he and the Orchestra performed at the United Nations to mark its transition of leadership. He closes his tenure with concerts celebrating the power of music to build bridges and unite people across borders — launching his next chapter, in which he will gather musicians from around the world to perform music in times of crisis or celebration.
“We are faced on this anniversary with the responsibility and privilege of commemorating the devastation and bravery we witnessed in our beloved New York City ten years ago, of acknowledging sacrifices and heroism that still leave us stunned.” So said Alan Gilbert in his opening remarks for A Concert for New York, a free performance on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
concerts in the parks
“I love the New York Philharmonic, I love New York, I love Central Park, and I love the Philharmonic’s Concerts in the Parks,” Alan Gilbert said on the stage in Central Park in July 2009, two months before he became Music Director. His feelings have only grown: “They’re one of the most important and meaningful things that the Orchestra does. They’re also one of the ways that I got to know the Orchestra when I was a little kid, and I’ll never forget sharing the experience with other New Yorkers sitting in the open air with picnics on blankets. It’s this moment of civic pride and connection that is uniquely New York. I’m very happy that my last concerts in New York as Music Director will be in the Parks.”
Inspiring the young
Alan Gilbert has remained committed to inspiring future generations of music lovers and makers. “I think there is no time like now to start exposing kids to the beauty and power of what we’re all about,” he said. He has lived those words, conducting Young People’s Concerts in New York and on tour around the world.