Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Jaap van Zweden Begins Tenure as Music Director with Gala Concert

Jaap van Zweden Begins Tenure as Music Director with Gala Concert

Jaap van Zweden will begin his tenure as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic with his inaugural Opening Gala Concert, New York, Meet Jaap, Thursday, September 20, 2018. The program will feature the World Premiere of Ashley Fure's Filament, commissioned by the Philharmonic for the occasion; Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring; and Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major with Daniil Trifonov as soloist. Jaap van Zweden will also conduct the 2018-19 season's first three subscription weeks, starting with the opening subscription program September 21-22 and 25, 2018, reprising Ms. Fure's Filament and The Rite of Spring; Daniil Trifonov will return as soloist, this time in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor. The Empire State Building will be lit Philharmonic red on September 20, 2018, in celebration of Music Director Jaap van Zweden's inaugural season.

To enable even more New Yorkers to meet Jaap, the Open Rehearsal on September 27, 2018, will be free as a gift from Jaap van Zweden and the Orchestra. The program will feature Conrad Tao's Everything Must Go, commissioned by the Philharmonic and receiving its World Premiere that evening, and Bruckner's Symphony No. 8. Following the Free Open Rehearsal, Jaap van Zweden will stay onstage for a chat with President and CEO Deborah Borda and composer Conrad Tao. General admission tickets will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, one per person, starting that morning at 9:00 a.m. on Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza. Prizes will be given to the first fans to arrive in line. Raffles and other activities on the Plaza will begin at 8:00 a.m. Previous Free Open Rehearsals have drawn thousands of music lovers to David Geffen Hall. More information will be announced at a later date.

"When I was a student at The Juilliard School, whenever I had any spare money in my pocket, I would buy a ticket to the New York Philharmonic," Music Director Jaap van Zweden said, reflecting on the launch of his tenure. "The 177-year-old Orchestra carries the DNA of all the great conductors who have led it - Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, Lenny Bernstein, Pierre Boulez - and the only feeling I have is to be proud and humble. In our work together so far, the musicians and I are creating a conversation, mixing my tradition and theirs. We are learning from each other and enjoying our experience together."

Ashley Fure composed Filament as a site-specific work for the opening of the Philharmonic's 2018-19 season, placing the musicians among the audience at David Geffen Hall. The performances will feature guest artists from New York's new-music scene, all in their Philharmonic debuts: Rebekah Heller on amplified bassoon, trumpet player Nate Wooley, Brandon Lopez on a five-string double bass, and 15 singers from the Constellation Chor, directed by Marisa Michelson. The work will open with the singers whispering into bespoke megaphones; as Ms. Fure writes in the score: "A wave of white noise starts at the periphery of the space and quickly crests onstage, like the voices are thrusting life breath into the open mouths of the orchestra." She also writes that the piece requires teamwork "by design"; the musicians are directed to react to each other's cues. The work takes a democratic approach to music-making, and symbolizes the Philharmonic's reaching out to its New York community, beyond its home at Lincoln Center.

"Because I was situated at this unique spot, the beginning of the beginning of the beginning, I had a bit more leeway. Because of the placement and the context, I felt even more supported and free to push boundaries," said Ashley Fure. "I hope the piece does feel like an opening to the audience, a spreading of intimacy, and a transfer of power away from a singular conductor and spreading that energy out through the hall. I hope that this is a start of a new era of more openness on many fronts - stylistically, experientially."

Ashley Fure's Filament is the first of three commissions that the Philharmonic will premiere in Jaap van Zweden's first three weeks. The other premieres are Conrad Tao's Everything Must Go, September 27-28, 2018, and Louis Andriessen's Agamemnon, October 4-6, 2018, as part of The Art of Andriessen. Later in the 2018-19 season, Maestro van Zweden and the Philharmonic will premiere two more commissions: Julia Wolfe's Fire in my mouth as part of New York Stories: Threads of Our City, and David Lang's prisoner of the state as part of Music of Conscience.

The Philharmonic's relationship with Daniil Trifonov began with his critically acclaimed Philharmonic debut in the 2012-13 season, when, at the age of 21, he performed Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3. In November 2015, when he was 24 years old, he was the featured soloist in Rachmaninoff: A Philharmonic Festival and joined the Board of the New York Philharmonic. The New York Times wrote of his final appearance in the festival: "Mr. Trifonov gave full vent to tenderness and sensitivity ... But his playing was more often simply electrifying, and it was greeted by a shouting, standing ovation."

In honor of Jaap van Zweden's inaugural season as Music Director, the New York Philharmonic Archives will install newpermanent exhibits incorporating digital content on touch-screen displays on the east and west walls of David Geffen Hall's Grand Promenade. The interactive screens will invite audience members to explore the Orchestra's history and Maestro van Zweden and Deborah Borda's vision for the Philharmonic. Videos, audio clips, photographs, and archival documents will be updated throughout the year to reflect the season's pillars - The Art of Andriessen, New York Stories: Threads of Our City, and Music of Conscience; the innovative legacy of the New York Philharmonic and its musicians; and the Orchestra in the context of New York City history. Highlights include video clips of Music Directors and guest conductors, stories of pioneering women in Philharmonic history, legendary recordings from the past century, a behind-the-scenes look at planning tours around the world, and Orchestra members' immigration stories. The installations will also feature treasures from the New York Philharmonic Archives, including Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein's composing pencils, batons and scores used by notable conductors, Philharmonic records, and a Grammy.

The concert on Friday, September 21 will launch the fifth season of Philharmonic Free Fridays, offering free tickets to 13- to 26-year-olds for each of the 2018-19 season's 24 Friday subscription concerts. Information on securing Free Fridays tickets is available at

The black-tie Opening Gala at David Geffen Hall, September 20, 2018, will include a pre-concert champagne reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., the concert, and a dinner immediately following the performance on the Grand Promenade. The Opening Gala Co-Chairmen are Marijke and Lodewijk de Vink, Leni and Peter May, Harold Mitchell AC, Didi and Oscar Schafer, and Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar L. Tang. Generous underwriting support is provided by BNY Mellon, Elizabeth and Frank Newman, and Daria L. and Eric J. Wallach.

Single tickets to the Opening Gala Concert start at $79. Single tickets to the September 21-22 and 25 program start at $59. Tickets to Open Rehearsals are $22. (Ticket prices subject to change.)

Tickets may be purchased online at 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.

Photo Credit: Roger Neve

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You