Alan Gilbert to Conduct NY Phil in U.S. Premiere of Unsuk Chin's Clarinet Concerto, 9/23-30
Music Director Alan Gilbert will launch the New York Philharmonic's 2014-15 subscription season with the U.S. Premiere of Unsuk Chin's Clarinet Concerto -- a New York Philharmonic co-commission with the Gothenburg Symphony, WDR Symphony, Philharmonia, and Barcelona Symphony orchestras -- performed by Kari Kriikku in his Philharmonic subscription debut, as well as Mahler's Symphony No. 1, Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, September 26 at 11:00 a.m.; Saturday, September 27 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m.
The program highlights hallmarks of Alan Gilbert's tenure thus far: the combination of new and iconic repertoire, and collaborations with leading composers and artists. The Philharmonic co- commissioned Unsuk Chin's Clarinet Concerto following the well-received U.S. Premiere of her work Gougalon as part of CONTACT!, the Philharmonic's new-music series, conducted by Alan Gilbert in April 2013; the performance was named one of New York magazine's "10 Best Classical Performances of the Year." The performances will mark the Clarinet Concerto's U.S. Premiere as well as its first complete performance.
"Unsuk Chin has quickly become very close and important to the Philharmonic," Alan Gilbert said. "The musicians loved playing Gougalo?n, and the audience completely went crazy. There's something unique about the way she combines traditional sounds and instruments, turns it into something utterly fresh and modern, and at the same time stays true to her cultural heritage. Her music expresses something very deep and human."
Ms. Chin says that her Clarinet Concerto is, in part, about "'imaginary' or 'fake' folk music that is not related to any specific time or place. Extreme virtuosity takes turns with lyrical passages; sweet-toned and contemplative aspects are juxtaposed with fierce and surreal ones."
"The performance of Gougalo?n was a composer's dream: it was one of the most insightful, committed, and exciting performances imaginable," Unsuk Chin said. "I am absolutely thrilled that the New York Philharmonic has decided to co-commission my Clarinet Concerto. Kari Kriikku, Alan Gilbert, and the New York Philharmonic are all committed to music itself, not showmanship, and yet they have the most vibrant presence imaginable, keeping the listeners on the edge of their seats."
Kari Kriikku, for whom the concerto was written, performed its World Premiere with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, led by Kent Nagano in May 2014. Mr. Kriikku previously appeared with the Philharmonic as the soloist in the U.S. Premiere of then Marie-Jose?e Kravis Composer-in-Residence Magnus Lindberg's Clarinet Concerto, led by Alan Gilbert at Carnegie Hall in February 2010.
The program will also include Symphony No. 1 by Gustav Mahler, who served as Philharmonic Music Director from 1909 to 1911. Mahler himself conducted the work's U.S. Premiere with the New York Philharmonic in 1909, and the score he used in that performance -- which has also been used by Bruno Walter and Leonard Bernstein, among others -- remains in the New York Philharmonic Archives. Alan Gilbert conducted Mahler's First Symphony in May 2009 at Avery Fisher Hall and in July 2009 during the Concerts in the Parks, shortly before beginning his tenure as Music Director, as well as in October 2009 during the Orchestra's Asian Horizons tour, Alan Gilbert's first tour with the Orchestra.
"Unsuk's music fits perfectly with Mahler," Alan Gilbert said. "Mahler's First Symphony is one of my earliest memories of conducting the New York Philharmonic, and I'm excited to get back to it. I hope that my relationship with the piece will be different, new, and fresh. The musicians and I know each other better now and trust each other more, and when we play on stage together, there's more possibility of the unexpected happening."
- Pre-Concert Insights
Composer Victoria Bond will introduce the program. Pre-Concert Insights are $7; discounts available for multiple talks, students, and groups. They take place one hour before these performances in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Attendance is limited to 90 people. Information: nyphil.org/preconcert or (212) 875-5656.
- National and International Radio Broadcast
The program will be broadcast the week of November 2, 2014,* on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated weekly to more than 300 stations nationally, and to 122 outlets internationally, by the WFMT Radio Network. The program is broadcast locally in the New York metropolitan area on 105.9 FM WQXR on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m., and will be available on the Philharmonic's Website, nyphil.org.
The 52-week series, hosted by actor Alec Baldwin, is generously underwritten by The Kaplen Brothers Fund, the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Philharmonic's corporate partner, MetLife Foundation. *Check local listings for broadcast and program information, which is subject to change.
Music Director Alan Gilbert began his New York Philharmonic tenure in September 2009, the first native New Yorker in the post. He and the Philharmonic have introduced the positions of The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Composer-in-Residence, The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in- Residence, and the Artist-in-Association; CONTACT!, the new-music series; and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today's music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers inaugurated in spring 2014. As New York magazine wrote, "The Philharmonic and its music director Alan Gilbert have turned themselves into a force of permanent revolution."
In the 2014-15 season Alan Gilbert conducts the U.S. Premiere of Unsuk Chin's Clarinet Concerto, a Philharmonic co-commission, alongside Mahler's First Symphony; La Dolce Vita: The Music of Italian Cinema; Verdi's Requiem; a staging of Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake featuring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard; World Premieres; a CONTACT! program; and Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. He concludes The Nielsen Project - the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer's symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by The New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012 - and presides over the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour. Last season's highlights included the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL; Mozart's final three symphonies; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey alongside the film; a staging of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson; and the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour.
Mr. Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies and holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at The Juilliard School. Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras around the world. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic in 2008, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award. Rene?e Fleming's recent Decca recording Poe?mes, on which he conducted, received a 2013 Grammy Award. His recordings have received top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine. In May 2010 Mr. Gilbert received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and in December 2011, Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award for his "exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music." In 2014 he was elected to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences.