Alan Gilbert Conducts New York Philharmonic in Mahler and Sibelius, Beginning Today
Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, featuring baritone Thomas Hampson and tenor Stefan Vinke, in his Philharmonic debut, and Sibelius's Symphony No. 7, beginning today, April 20, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, April 22 at 11:00 a.m.
"Thomas Hampson's interpretation of Mahler is unbelievably distinctive - he has such an affinity for this music," says Alan Gilbert. "The tenor part is enormous and fiendishly difficult, so we are delighted to have engaged Stefan Vinke, who has the power and agility that Das Lied requires."
Long acclaimed as an interpreter of Mahler's music, particularly in performances with Philharmonic Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein - who called Das Lied von der Erde Mahler's "greatest symphony" - Thomas Hampson was the first to serve as the New York Philharmonic's Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, a position Alan Gilbert introduced in the 2009-10 season, his first as Music Director. Mr. Hampson returned for the Orchestra's EUROPE / SPRING 2011 tour, when he sang Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, led by Alan Gilbert.
"First and foremost, I found Mahler's music deeply inspiring, and then I started to discover him as a human being," says Thomas Hampson. "It speaks to the character of this Orchestra that they still refer to themselves after 100 years as Mahler's Orchestra. It moves me very deeply. Of course, performing anything with the Philharmonic is a thrill and a pleasure and a privilege. It has been a very beautiful relationship."
"Das Lied von der Erde is such profound music," says Stefan Vinke. "I feel honored that my first approach to New York is with Mahler and his orchestra."
This program is among several in the 2015-16 season to feature works by Gustav Mahler, Philharmonic Music Director from 1909 to 1911. The season also honors the 150th anniversary of Sibelius's birth.
"Sibelius's music says something very true about all of humanity," says Music Director Alan Gilbert. "His Seventh Symphony is an amazing piece, in part because of its enigmatic ending - it is difficult to decide whether it is happy or sad, a dilemma that is so true of life."
The New York Philharmonic will present "Discovering The Song of the Earth," a free Insights at the Atrium event Monday, April 18, 2016, featuring baritone Thomas Hampson as speaker and The Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence Matthew Mugmon as moderator. The event takes place at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (Columbus Avenue at 62nd Street) and is co-presented with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
- Pre-Concert Insights
Author Fred Plotkin will introduce the program. Pre-Concert Insights are $7, and discounts are available for three (3) or more talks. 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.
- Insights at the Atrium - "Discovering The Song of the Earth"
Thomas Hampson, speaker
New York Philharmonic Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence Matthew Mugmon, moderator Monday, April 18, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (Columbus Avenue at 62nd Street)
Insights at the Atrium events are free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first- come, first-served basis. Subscribers, Friends at the Fellow level and above, and Patrons may secure guaranteed admission by emailing AdultEd@nyphil.org. Space is limited.
Music Director Alan Gilbert began his New York Philharmonic tenure in 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 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. As The New Yorker wrote, "Gilbert has made an indelible mark on the orchestra's history and that of the city itself."
Alan Gilbert's 2015-16 Philharmonic highlights include R. Strauss's Ein Heldenleben to welcome Concertmaster Frank Huang; Carnegie Hall's Opening Night Gala; and four World Premieres. He co-curates and conducts in the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL and performs violin in Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. He leads the Orchestra as part of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership and appears at Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West. Philharmonic-tenure highlights include acclaimed stagings of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Jana?c?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson (for which Mr. Gilbert was nominated for a 2015 Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction), and Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake starring Marion Cotillard; 24 World Premieres; The Nielsen Project, a performance and recording cycle; Verdi Requiem and Bach's B-minor Mass; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey alongside the film; Mahler's Resurrection Symphony on the tenth anniversary of 9/11; and nine tours around the world. In August 2015 he led the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the U.S. Stage Premiere of George Benjamin's Written on Skin, co-presented as part of the Lincoln Center-New York Philharmonic Opera Initiative.
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 Mr. Gilbert makes debuts with four great European orchestras - Filarmonica della Scala, Dresden Staatskapelle, London Symphony, and Academy of St Martin in the Fields - and returns to The Cleveland Orchestra and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. 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. 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 an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music (2010), Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award for his "exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music" (2011), election to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2014), a Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy (2015), and being named Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Baritone Thomas Hampson hails from Spokane, Washington. He combined the role of The Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence with that of The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in- Residence at the New York Philharmonic in the 2009-10 season. He has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. His discography, which comprises more than 150 albums, includes Grammy Award winners, five Edison Awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. In 2010 he received a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he holds the title of Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Mr. Hampson was made honorary professor at the faculty of philosophy of the University of Heidelberg; holds honorary doctorates from the Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory; and is an honorary member of London's Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersa?nger of the Vienna Staatsoper and Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences. Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist, and "ambassador of song," maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach, and technology.
Recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Hampson has won worldwide recognition for thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs as well as recordings that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods. Through the Hampsong Foundation, which he founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding. Thomas Hampson began his relationship with the New York Philharmonic in November 2009 as part of the Leonard Bernstein memorial concert at Carnegie Hall; he most recently traveled with the Orchestra during the EUROPE / SPRING 2011 tour.
German tenor Stefan Vinke completed his master's at the Music Academy of Cologne. From 1999 to 2005 he regularly appeared at Mannheim's National Theater in heroic tenor roles including Tristan, Parsifal, Logengrin, and Siegmund in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal, Lohengrin, and Die Walku?re, and Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio; his other roles there included Mozart's Idomeneo, Don Jose? in Bizet's Carmen, and Hoffmann in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann. He later cultivated roles including The Migrant in Nono's Intolleranza 1960, the title role in Giordano's Andrea Che?nier, Jimmy Mahony in Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahoganny, Max in Weber's Der Freischu?tz, and Paul in Korngold's Die tote Stadt on stages including the Ope?ra de Paris, Teatro La Fenice, and the opera houses in Cologne, Geneva, and Stuttgart. Since his role debut as Siegfried in Wagner's Ring at Cologne Opera in 2006, Mr. Vinke has performed the role in Venice, Lisbon, Strasbourg, Weimar, and at Deutsche Oper Berlin and 2010 Salzburg Easter Festival. He has appeared in Madrid, Hong Kong, Hamburg, Berlin, Beijing, Munich, Geneva, Philadelphia, Valencia, Seville, Melbourne, and Seattle; with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and at the Bayreuth Festival, Covent Garden, and Bavarian Staatsoper. He has worked with conductors including Jeffrey Tate, Simon Rattle, Lothar Zagrosek, Donald Runnicles, Ulf Schirmer, Jun Ma?rkel, Leopold Hager, Michael Gielen, Adam Fischer, Markus Stenz, Dennis Russel Davies, and Philippe Jordan. His engagements in concert lead him to Europe, Asia, Israel, and the Americas. He has sung in Mahler's Symphony No. 8 at Royal Albert Hall (BBC Proms), in Bamberg, at the Enescu Festival, and in 2011 with the London Philharmonia Orchestra, led by Lorin Maazel (recorded for a 2015 release on the Signum Classics label). These performances mark Stefan Vinke's New York Philharmonic debut.
Insights at the Atrium Speakers: (See Thomas Hampson's biography above.)
Matthew Mugmon, as The Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic for the 2015-16 season, presented the Insights at the Atrium event "Sibelius in New York: An Archival Exploration," moderates the Insights at the Atrium event "Discovering The Song of the Earth," and conducts research in the Philharmonic Archives. Dr. Mugmon received his Ph.D. in historical musicology from Harvard University in 2013, and he taught at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2013) before joining the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2014. His research brings together two strands of recent interest in music history: the study of the transmission, reception, and circulation of music in interpersonal networks in dialogue, and the development of American musical modernism as a transnational phenomenon. Drawing from historical musicology, oral history, sociology, American studies, and Jewish studies, Dr. Mugmon focuses specifically on the relationship between Gustav Mahler's music and an intimate network of four influential figures in American modernism: Nadia Boulanger, Aaron Copland, Serge Koussevitzky, and Leonard Bernstein. Publications include recent articles in the Journal of Musicological Research, Music & Letters, the Grove Dictionary of American Music, and the volume Ambrosiana at Harvard: New Sources of Milanese Chant, which he edited with Thomas Forrest Kelly. Forthcoming work will be published in Rethinking Mahler (Oxford University Press, ed. Jeremy Barham) and The Symphonic Repertoire Series, Volume 5: The Symphony in Europe since ca. 1930 and the Americas (Indiana University Press, ed. A. Peter Brown and Brian Hart). His writing has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Amusicology, program notes for the American Symphony Orchestra, and the blog Unsung Symphonies, which he co-founded with music theorist Frank Lehman. Mugmon has presented at regional, national, and international conferences, as well as colloquia. He has received grants for his research from the American Musicological Society and Harvard University. His paper "Making Mahler French: Bernstein's Case for the Composer in 1960" received the Hollace Anne Schafer Memorial Award from the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society. In 2012 he served as a panelist in a worldwide discussion, sponsored by the New York Philharmonic Archives, of Leonard Bernstein's tours with the New York Philharmonic.
The first mention of Jean Sibelius's (1865-1967) Symphony No. 7, often considered his greatest, occurs in 1918. However, the realization departed so radically from his initial plan that the finished score of 1924 is almost unrecognizable. Whether Sibelius threw his first plans overboard and started afresh, or whether the final product was the result of a long and painstaking developmental process, we may never know. Not only is the work unusual in its one- movement form, but its highly original thematic interrelationships were such that Sibelius himself was at first uncertain whether to call it a symphony or a symphonic fantasy. This work was first performed by the Philharmonic in January 1927, conducted by Otto Klemperer; the Orchestra most recently performed it in December 2012, led by David Zinman.
Former Philharmonic Music Director Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) composed Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) in 1908-09. Considered a symphony by many (Bernstein believed it was Mahler's "greatest symphony"), the song cycle was composed during an emotionally painful period for the composer: his four-year-old daughter had passed away, and he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Through the work he explores living, parting, salvation, and the transience of life. Mahler had discovered a German translation of The Chinese Flute, a collection of Eighth-century Chinese poems, and their mix of life's joys and sorrows, ultimately ending with the acceptance of loss and death, spoke to him. Before long Mahler was sketching settings of six of the poems for large orchestra and two vocalists; he indicated tenor and alto, but it can also be performed by tenor and baritone. The Philharmonic's first presentation of Das Lied von der Erde was in January 1929, performed by Margarete Matzenauer and Richard Crooks and led by Willem Mengelberg; the most recent complete presentation was in February 1999, with then Music Director Kurt Masur conducting and Jennifer Larmore and Richard Leech as the soloists.
Single tickets for these performances start at $29. Pre-Concert Insights are $7 (visit nyphil.org/preconcert for more information). Tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the David Geffen Hall Box Office. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. A limited number of $16 tickets for select concerts may be available through the Internet for students within 10 days of the performance, or in person the day of. Valid identification is required. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. (Ticket prices subject to change.)
Insights at the Atrium events are free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Subscribers, Friends at the Fellow level and above, and Patrons may secure guaranteed admission by emailing AdultEd@nyphil.org. Space is limited.