Jazz Pianist Aaron Diehl to Join Alan Gilbert and the NY Phil for Opening Gala Concert, Today

Jazz pianist Aaron Diehl will join Music Director Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for the 2016-17 season Opening Gala Concert, performing Gershwin's Concerto in F in his New York Philharmonic debut, Wednesday, September 21, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. The concert launches the New York Philharmonic's 175th anniversary season and Music Director Alan Gilbert's farewell season with a program honoring the Philharmonic's legacy of premiering important works, particularly music connected to New York City. As previously announced, the concert will also feature the New York Premiere of John Corigliano's Stomp for Orchestra and Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 9, From the New World.

Aaron Diehl said of the Gershwin work he is performing: "The Concerto in F is recognized for its strengths in possessing the orchestration and form of a symphonic work, all while maintaining the feeling of a jazz orchestra. My goal in playing with the New York Philharmonic is to provide a perspective of Gershwin's music that is rooted in the American vernacular of syncopation and swing."

Walter Damrosch commissioned Brooklynite Gershwin's Concerto in F for the New York Symphony (one of the forebears of today's New York Philharmonic), which gave the work's World Premiere in December 1925, led by Damrosch, with Gershwin as piano soloist. The work built on the 1920s exploration of infusing jazz as an intrinsically American element in classical composition, also manifest in Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928, which the Philharmonic also premiered). The Orchestra has performed the Concerto in F93 times to date, collaborating not only with the composer (for a total of 9 performances) and the respected Gershwin interpreter Oscar Levant (16 performances), but also with eminent pianists including Earl Wild and those known for jazz-classical fusion, such as Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

The other two works on the program also reflect strong ties with the New York and the New York Philharmonic. The Orchestra has performed more than a dozen works by John Corigliano - a New Yorker whose father, John Corigliano, Sr., served as the Orchestra's Concertmaster from 1943 to 1966 - and gave the World Premiere of Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 9, From the New World, in December 1893, led by Anton Seidl at Carnegie Hall. The Opening Gala Concert will mark the Philharmonic's 370th performance of the New World Symphony and launch The New World Initiative, a season-long, citywide project revolving around the work and its theme of "home" through performances, education projects, and community outreach as the Philharmonic honors its hometown and its role as an adopted home for many on the occasion of the Orchestra's 175th anniversary season.

Related Events ? Opening Gala The black-tie Opening Gala, September 21, will include a pre-concert champagne reception from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., the concert, and a dinner immediately following the performance. The Opening Gala Co-Chairs are Kristen and Alexander Klabin and Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar L. Tang. BMW is a Major Corporate Sponsor of the Opening Gala. Generous underwriting support is provided by BNY Mellon. Delta Air Lines is a Supporting Sponsor of the Opening Gala. The 175th Anniversary Chair is Daisy M. Soros.

Pianist, composer, and bandleader Aaron Diehl is a dynamic, virtuosic, and versatile artist. He is one of the most sought after musicians of his generation, as evidenced by his critically acclaimed performances, collaborations, and compositions across multiple disciplines. A Steinway artist, Mr. Diehl is a 2007 graduate of The Juilliard School, the American Pianists Association's 2011 Cole Porter Fellow, and a Monterey Jazz Festival Commission Artist. His work on Cécile McLorin Salvant's For One To Love garnered him a Grammy Award, and his latest album, Space, Time, Continuum (on the Mack Avenue Records label), emphasizes artistic interactions between generations. Aside from leading his own ensembles, Aaron Diehl has amassed an impressive list of musical accomplishments, including serving as the music director for Cécile McLorin Salvant, collaborating with Philip Glass on his complete piano études, and scoring Jeremy McQueen's ballet The Black Iris Project. He is the music director of a large ensemble project that celebrates the music of Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin; it is set to tour North America in 2017. The Opening Gala Concert marks Aaron Diehl's New York Philharmonic debut.

BMW is a Major Corporate Sponsor of the Opening Gala. Generous underwriting support is provided by BNY Mellon. Delta Air Lines is a Supporting Sponsor of the Opening Gala.

Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Single tickets start at $79. Tickets are available now to 2016-17 New York Philharmonic subscribers; single tickets will go on sale to the general public on August 9. Tickets are available 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. 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.)

For more information about the Opening Gala, which includes a pre-concert champagne reception, concert, and post-concert dinner, please call the Office of Special Events at (212) 875-5755, or e-mail specialevents@nyphil.org.

Photo Credit: John Abbott

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