“Is this the future of the American orchestra? Let’s hope so.”
— The New York Times
Audiences and critics alike have come to know the Alan Gilbert musical touch. It can be a fascinating combination of cornerstones of the repertoire and wet-ink premieres with telling results. It can be an imaginative, genre-bending take on an opera or ballet that raises the bar for staged productions, an eagerness to discover new sounds, a passion for offering fresh insights into beloved masterpieces.
Alan Gilbert’s approach to programming: combine and illuminate. We first saw it up close on the 2009 Opening Night Gala Concert, and can relive it in his May 3–9, 2017, pairing of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw.
Alan Gilbert’s first two Philharmonic seasons concluded with groundbreaking, genre-bending stagings of operas, both cited as top cultural events: Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (“An instant Philharmonic milestone” — The New York Times) and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (“Another victory” — The Washington Post). Then followed Philharmonic 360, the acclaimed, sold-out spatial music program at Park Avenue Armory; A Dancer’s Dream, a reboot of Stravinsky’s Petrushka; Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson; Honegger’s Joan of Arc with Marion Cotillard; and more.
Alan Gilbert and the Orchestra wove musical threads of masters from all musical eras, including Mozart, Mahler, Nielsen, and Sibelius, and gave acclaimed performances of cornerstones of the repertoire by Beethoven, Brahms, and others.
“What composers do is, without exaggeration and without any shred of hyperbole, the most important thing that is happening in music at any given time,” said Alan Gilbert. This belief led to the creations of CONTACT!, the new-music series, and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, the citywide exploration of today’s sounds, which together unveiled 92 World Premieres and will continue beyond his tenure. In the regular subscription season came discoveries and celebrations of the likes of John Adams, Magnus Lindberg, Julia Adolphe, and Christopher Rouse.