Alan Gilbert and New York Philharmonic Present World Premiere of THE JUNGLE By Wynton Marsalis, 12/28

Music Director Alan Gilbert will conduct the New York Philharmonic in the World Premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Wynton Marsalis's The Jungle (Symphony No. 4), commissioned by the Philharmonic as the first of The New York Commissions, with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis; William Bolcom's Trombone Concerto with Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi as soloist; and Copland's Quiet City, featuring Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin and English horn player Grace Shryock in her Philharmonic solo debut. The performances take place Wednesday, December 28, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, December 29 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 30 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, January 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Wynton Marsalis's The Jungle is the first of The New York Commissions, in which the Philharmonic is celebrating its long history as an active commissioner and New York City cultural institution by commissioning works on New York-inspired themes from New York-based composers with strong ties to the Orchestra, on the occasion of the Philharmonic's 175th anniversary season. The other two works in this project, to be composed by Sean Shepherd and Julia Wolfe, will be premiered in the 2018-19 season. On these concerts Mr. Marsalis pairs a new work, inspired by New York City, with Copland's Quiet City, another piece about New York City composed by an American.

Alan Gilbert said of The New York Commissions: "I've always tried to make the New York Philharmonic not just an orchestra that happens to be in New York, but an orchestra of New York that is New York's orchestra in a very meaningful way. We've asked three composers, very good friends, to write works on what New York means to them."

The premiere results from a cross-campus collaboration between the Philharmonic and fellow Lincoln Center constituent Jazz at Lincoln Center, of which Mr. Marsalis is artistic and managing director. "One thing I've been interested in pursuing with the Philharmonic is collaboration with important cultural institutions across New York City," Alan Gilbert said. "Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis was an obvious choice. Wynton is such an iconic figure: a great artist, instrumentalist, teacher, and communicator who really believes in the power of music and the importance of bringing people into our world."

Wynton Marsalis writes of The Jungle: "New York City is the most fluid, pressure-packed, and cosmopolitan metropolis the modern world has ever seen. The dense mosaic of all kinds of people everywhere doing all kinds of things encourages you to 'stay in your lane,' but the speed, freedom, and intensity of our relationships to each other - and to the city itself - forces us onto a collective super highway unlike any other in our country."

This will be the third original work that the Philharmonic has commissioned from Mr. Marsalis: the Orchestra and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performed the World Premiere-Philharmonic Commission of All Rise in December 1999, led by Kurt Masur, and the U.S. Premiere-Philharmonic Co-Commission of Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3) on Opening Night 2010, led by Alan Gilbert.

The performances of William Bolcom's Trombone Concerto reprise its June 2016 premiere in the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, also with Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi and led by Alan Gilbert. The New York Times wrote that "Mr. Alessi's technical aplomb during fleet passages was impressively effortless." The Philharmonic has performed six works by William Bolcom since 1973, including the World Premiere of his Clarinet Concerto, commissioned by the Philharmonic (1992, with former Principal Clarinet Stanley Drucker and led by Leonard Slatkin) as part of its 150th anniversary celebration. Joseph Alessi premiered 2012-15 Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence Christopher Rouse's Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto, also commissioned for the Orchestra's 150th anniversary project (1992, led by Leonard Slatkin), and MeLinda Wagner's Trombone Concerto (2007, led by Lorin Maazel).

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As Music Director of the New York Philharmonic since 2009, Alan Gilbert has introduced the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, and Artist-in-Association; CONTACT!, the new-music series; the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today's music; and the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, partnerships with cultural institutions to offer training of pre-professional musicians, often alongside performance residencies. The Financial Times called him "the imaginative maestro-impresario in residence."

Alan Gilbert concludes his final season as Music Director with four programs that reflect themes, works, and musicians that hold particular meaning for him, including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony alongside Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw,Wagner's complete Das Rheingold in concert, and an exploration of how music can effect positive change in the world. Other highlights include three World Premieres, Mahler's Fourth Symphony, Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre, and Manhattan,performed live to film. He also leads the Orchestra on the EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour and in performance residencies in Shanghai and Santa Barbara. Past highlights include acclaimed stagings of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson (2015 Emmy nomination), and Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake starring Marion Cotillard; 28 World Premieres; a tribute to Boulez and Stucky during the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL; The Nielsen Project; the Verdi Requiem and Bach's B-minor Mass; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey,performed live to film; Mahler's Resurrection Symphony on the tenth anniversary of 9/11; performing violin in Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time; and ten tours around the world.

Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and former principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra, Alan Gilbert regularly conducts leading orchestras around the world. This season he returns to the foremost European orchestras, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. He will record Beethoven's complete piano concertos with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Inon Barnatan, and conduct Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at Milan's Teatro alla Scala, his first time leading a staged opera there. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic in 2008, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award, and he conducted Messiaen's Des Canyons aux étoiles on a recent album recorded live at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, where he holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. His honors include Honorary Doctor of Music degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music (2010) and Westminster Choir College (2016), Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award (2011), election to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2014), a Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy (2015), Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2015), and New York University's Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City (2016).

Christopher Martin joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Trumpet, The Paula Levin Chair, in September 2016. He served as principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) for 11 seasons, and enjoyed a distinctive career of almost 20 years in many of America's finest orchestras, including as principal trumpet of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and associate principal trumpet of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist multiple times nationally and internationally with the CSO and its music director, Riccardo Muti. Highlights of MR. Martin's solo appearances include the 2012 World Premiere of Christopher Rouse's concerto Heimdall's Trumpet; Panufnik's Concerto in modo antico, with Mr. Muti; a program of 20th-century French concertos by André Jolivet and Henri Tomasi; and more than a dozen performances of J.S. Bach's BrandenburgConcerto No. 2. Other solo engagements have included the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa's Saito Kinen Festival, the Atlanta and Alabama Symphony Orchestras, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico. Christopher Martin's discography includes a solo trumpet performance in John Williams's score to Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012), the National Brass Ensemble's Gabrieli album, and CSO Resound label recordings, including the 2011 release of CSO Brass Live. Dedicated to music education, MR. Martin has served on the faculty of Northwestern University and has coached the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In 2010 he co-founded the National Brass Symposium with his brother Michael Martin, a trumpeter in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and in 2016 he received the Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation from the American Bandmasters Association for outstanding contributions to the wind band genre. Christopher Martin and his wife, Margaret - an organist and pianist - enjoy performing together in recital. Christopher Martin made his New York Philharmonic solo debut in October 2016, performing Ligeti's The Mysteries of the Macabre, led by Alan Gilbert.

Grace Shryock is principal English horn in the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in Massachusetts and an oboist in the Albany Symphony Orchestra who frequently performs English horn in the New York Philharmonic. Previously, Ms. Shryock was the principal English horn and assistant principal oboe with the Richmond Symphony. She has also made appearances with the Baltimore and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and The Knights, as well as many other orchestras on the East Coast. She can be heard on recordings by the New York Philharmonic, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Albany Symphony Orchestra - for which she served as principal oboe in the Grammy-nominated recording of Christopher Rouse's Kabir Padavali - as well as in the scores to numerous feature films. Ms. Shryock has served as associate oboe teacher at the Manhattan School of Music and oboe instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she has conducted master classes at the Mannes School of Music, New York University, Cornell University, and Brooklyn College. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ms. Shryock studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Peabody Conservatory. These concerts mark her New York Philharmonic solo debut.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) comprises 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today. Led by Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center managing and artistic director, this remarkably versatile orchestra performs a vast repertoire ranging from original compositions and Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works to rare historic compositions and masterworks by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, and many others. JLCO has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra since 1988, performing and leading educational events in New York, across the United States, and around the globe. Alongside symphony orchestras, ballet troupes, local students, and an ever-expanding roster of guest artists, JLCO has toured to more than 300 cities across six continents. Guest conductors have included Benny Carter, John Lewis, Jimmy Heath, Chico O'Farrill, Ray Santos, Paquito D'Rivera, Jon Faddis, Robert Sadin, David Berger, Gerald Wilson, and Loren Schoenberg. JLCO has been voted best Big Band in the annual DownBeat Readers' Poll for the past three years (2013-15). In 2015 Jazz at Lincoln Center announced the launch of Blue Engine Records, a new platform to make its archive of recorded concerts available to jazz audiences everywhere. The first release from Blue Engine Records, Live in Cuba, was recorded on JLCO's historic 2010 trip to Havana and was released in October 2015. Big Band Holidays was released in December 2015, and The Abyssinian Mass was released in March 2016. To date, 14 other recordings featuring JLCO have been released and distributed internationally: Vitoria Suite (2010), Portrait in Seven Shades (2010), Congo Square (2007), Don't Be Afraid ... The Music of Charles Mingus (2005), A Love Supreme (2005), All Rise (2002), Big Train (1999), Sweet Release & Ghost Story (1999), Live in Swing City (1999), Jump Start and Jazz (1997), Blood on the Fields (1997), They Came to Swing (1994), The Fire of the Fundamentals (1993), and Portraits by Ellington (1992). Trumpet player and composer Wynton Marsalis is the managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Born in New Orleans, he began classical trumpet at 12, entered The Juilliard School at 17, and then joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and has since made more than 60 jazz and classical albums, earning him nine Grammy Awards. In 1983 he became the first artist to win both classical and jazz Grammys in the same year, a feat he repeated in 1984. A teacher and spokesman for music education, he has received honorary doctorates from dozens of U.S. universities and has written six books. In 1997 he became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields, and he is a United Nations Messenger of Peace and cultural ambassador for the U.S. in the State Department's CultureConnect program. He was instrumental in the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief concert, which raised more than $3 million to benefit those affected by Hurricane Katrina in the Greater New Orleans area.

In the 1930s Aaron Copland (1900-90) was closely tied to Lee Strasberg and Harold Clurman's Group Theater, which was dedicated to presenting socially relevant works at affordable prices. Through this connection he became friends with many of its members, including Elia Kazan, Clifford Odets, and Irwin Shaw. In 1939 Copland agreed to compose incidental music for Shaw's Quiet City, a story of two brothers - one a wealthy businessman, the other a struggling trumpet player - and was, according to Copland, "about a young trumpet player who imagined the night thoughts of many different people in a great city and played trumpet to express his emotions and to arouse the consciences of the other characters and of the audience." The experimental play had only a few try-out performances, so Copland transformed parts of the score into his suite Quiet City for trumpet, English horn, and strings during the summer of 1940, while he was in the Berkshires teaching as part of Tanglewood's inaugural season. Since then the short, atmospheric work has become one of Copland's most frequently performed works. It received its first New York Philharmonic performance during an August 1941 Stadium Concert conducted by Alexander Smallens, with trumpet player William Vacchiano; the Orchestra most recently performed it in July 2005, led by Bramwell Tovey, with Philharmonic trumpet player Thomas V. Smith and then Philharmonic English horn player Thomas Stacy as soloists.

On composing his 2016 Trombone Concerto for Philharmonic Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi, William Bolcom (b. 1938) said: "Joseph Alessi's recordings have shown a consummate musician with perfect intonation, wide stylistic sense, lyrical phrasing, and dazzling technique. I hope and intend that Joe's warmth and geniality will find their way into this concerto, along with his interpretative breadth." In this concerto, Bolcom explores the trombone's diverse capabilities through an opening movement (Quasi una fantasia) that interweaves episodes of mysticism and vivacity; a slow movement (Blues) with a relaxed rhythm-and-blues swing; and a finale (Charade) in which the soloist's rhythmically liberated phrases earn forceful responses from the orchestra. The Philharmonic has performed six works by William Bolcom since 1973, including the World Premiere of his Clarinet Concerto, commissioned by the Philharmonic (1992, with former Principal Clarinet Stanley Drucker and led by Leonard Slatkin) as part of its 150th anniversary celebration. The New York Philharmonic - which co-commissioned the work with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, made possible with generous support from Edward Stanford and Barbara Scheulen -and Joseph Alessi gave its World Premiere in June 2016, during the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, and performed it again that July during the Orchestra's annual Bravo! Vail residency.

Wynton Marsalis's (b. 1961) new work, The Jungle (Symphony No. 4), was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic as part of The New York Commissions. The Philharmonic asked Mr. Marsalis to compose something that reflects New York City, which, Marsalis writes, has a "dense mosaic of all kinds of people everywhere doing all kinds of things." Like his All Rise, also commissioned and premiered by the Philharmonic, The Jungle "utilizes chorus-formatted forms, blues-tinged melodies, jazz and fiddle improvisations, and a panorama of vernacular styles. The Jungle, however, is darker in tone and in perspective. It considers the possibility that we may not be up to overcoming the challenges of social and racial inequality, tribal prejudices, and endemic corruption. We may choose to perish in a survival of the fittest, asphalt-jungle-style battle for what is perceived as increasingly scarce resources, instead of coming together to create unlimited assets and to enjoy the social and cultural ascendancy that our form of democracy makes conceivable." The Jungle comprises six movements: The Big Scream (Black Elk Speaks), The Big Show, Lost in Sight (Post-Pastoral), La Esquina, Us, and Struggle in the Digital Market. This is the third original work the Philharmonic has commissioned from Mr. Marsalis: the Orchestra and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performed the World Premiere-Philharmonic Commission of All Rise in December 1999, led by Kurt Masur, and the U.S. Premiere-Philharmonic Co-Commission of Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3) on Opening Night 2010, led by Alan Gilbert.

(Photo Credit: Chris Lee)

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