Handel's MESSIAH, Gershwin and More Set for New York Philharmonic's 2014 Holiday Concerts

The New York Philharmonic's 2014 holiday season presents classic masterpieces and seasonal favorites, the return of a former Philharmonic principal and debuts, and continuing and new traditions. This year's schedule includes the annual Holiday Brass concert, this time with former Principal Trumpet Philip Smith returning to host and conduct the complete New York Philharmonic Brass and Percussion sections; Handel's Messiah, led by Baroque specialist Gary Thor Wedow; the first-annual Holidays with the Philharmonic, led by Constantine Kitsopoulos and featuring a carol sing-along and The Night Before Christmas, narrated by Academy Award winner and New York Philharmonic Board Member Whoopi Goldberg (December 19) and humorist, journalist, and actor Mo Rocca (December 20), both in their Philharmonic debuts; and New Year's Eve: A Gershwin Celebration led by Bramwell Tovey and featuring vocalists Dianne Reeves, in her Philharmonic debut, and Norm Lewis, returning after his debut in the Philharmonic's production of Show Boat. The New Year's Eve concert will be telecast live nationally on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS stations.

- December 14, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. -- Holiday Brass
Philip Smith, the longtime New York Philharmonic Principal Trumpet who retired in June 2014, is returning to join his New York Philharmonic Brass and Percussion colleagues for the annual Holiday Brass concert, a tradition that he helped introduce in 1995. Mr. Smith will host and conduct the program, which will include works by Bach and Gabrieli, Christmas carols and songs, and Chanukah music.

- December 16 - 18, 2014, at 7:30 p.m.; December 19, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.; and December 20, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. -- Handel's Messiah
Handel's celebrated and celebratory oratorio returns, conducted by Baroque specialist Gary Thor Wedow, and sung by soprano Camilla Tilling (in her Philharmonic debut), countertenor Iestyn Davies, tenor Michael Slattery, baritone James Westman (in his debut), and boy soprano Connor Tsui (in his debut), as well as the Westminster Symphonic Choir, Joe Miller, director. The performances will feature an expanded continuo section, including a theorbo.

In the Pre-Concert Insights, which begin one hour before the start of each performance, author, pianist, and professor Arbie Orenstein will introduce the program.

- December 19, 2014, at 8:00 p.m. and December 20, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. -- Holidays with the Philharmonic
The Orchestra's virtuosity and spirit is on display in this first-annual blend of holiday and winter music ranging from classical works by Mozart, Prokofiev, and Humperdinck to popular favorites by Leroy Anderson and Irving Berlin, including a carol sing-along. Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts the Philharmonic, joined by special guests who will narrate The Night Before Christmas -- Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg (in her Philharmonic debut) on December 19, and humorist, journalist, and actor Mo Rocca (in his Philharmonic debut) on December 20.

- December 31, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. -- New Year's Eve: A Gershwin Celebration
Bramwell Tovey returns to conduct the New York Philharmonic's annual New Year's Eve celebration, this time celebrating the music of New Yorker George Gershwin with a program including the Cuban Overture; Catfish Row, Gershwin's own suite from Porgy and Bess; Strike Up the Band; and jazz-inspired selections from the Gershwin songbook sung by vocalists Dianne Reeves (in her Philharmonic debut) and Norm Lewis (who is making his debut in Kern & Hammerstein's Show Boat, November 5-8). The concert will be telecast live nationally on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS stations.

Single tickets for the Holiday Brass performance start at $49. Single tickets for Messiah start at $30. Single tickets for Holidays with the Philharmonic start at $35. Single tickets for New Year's Eve: A Gershwin Celebration start at $79. Pre-Concert Insights are $7; discounts are available for multiple talks, students, and groups (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 Avery Fisher 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. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. [Ticket prices subject to change.]

Pictured: New York Philharmonic Brass and Percussion. Photo by Chris Lee.

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