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New York Philharmonic to Celebrate 175th Birthday with Concerts, Radio Broadcasts, Exhibit and More

New York Philharmonic to Celebrate 175th Birthday with Concerts, Radio Broadcasts, Exhibit and More

The New York Philharmonic will celebrate its 175th birthday with a subscription program led by former Music Director Alan Gilbert; nearly 100 historic radio broadcast performances released for streaming for the first time; a New York Philharmonic Digital Archives release of all of the Orchestra's archival material from the 19th century; a New York Philharmonic Archives exhibit, The New York Philharmonic at 175: A History of Innovation; and a free Insights at the Atrium event, "Inside the Orchestra: Yesterday, Today, and Imagining the Future," with Philharmonic musicians.

More 175th birthday activities will be announced at a later date.

The New York Philharmonic, the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world, presented its inaugural concert 175 years ago, on December 7, 1842, in the Apollo Rooms in downtown Manhattan. These events conclude the 175th anniversary celebrations that began in the 2016-17 season.

175th Birthday Concerts Led by Alan Gilbert

Former Music Director Alan Gilbert will return to lead the Orchestra in its 175th birthday program, combining an homage to the New York Philharmonic's inaugural concert with a salute to the musicians who make up the Orchestra itself. The program features Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Weber's Oberon Overture - both of which were performed on the Orchestra's inaugural concert, on December 7, 1842 - and Mozart's Sinfonia concertante for Winds - selected to spotlight Philharmonic Principals - featuring Principal Oboe Liang Wang, Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill, Principal Bassoon Judith LeClair, and Acting Principal Horn Richard Deane in his Philharmonic solo debut. The program takes place Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 8 at 2:00 p.m.; and Saturday, December 9 at 8:00 p.m.

"I feel truly honored to preside over the New York Philharmonic's 175th birthday concert, and to help mark such an impressive milestone," said Alan Gilbert. "We continue the Philharmonic's tradition of celebrating landmark birthdays with works from the inaugural program. But this time we wanted not only to hark back to that inaugural concert, but also to add a nod to the present day. Because this Orchestra is made up of an astounding array of virtuosos, it only seemed right to present several of these amazing musicians as soloists in Mozart's delightful Sinfonia concertante for Winds."

Nearly 100 Historic Radio Broadcast Performances To Be Released for Streaming for First Time

Nearly 100 historic performances will be released for streaming for the first time the week of December 7, 2017 - the Philharmonic's 175th birthday week - on Apple Music and Google Play.

Highlights include:

Brahms's Violin Concerto with Jascha Heifetz, led by Arturo Toscanini (1935)

Wagner's Immolation Scene from Götterdämmerung with soprano Kirsten Flagstad, led by Bruno Walter (1952)

Mahler's Symphony No. 6, Tragic, led by Dimitri Mitropoulos (1955)

Fauré's Requiem with soprano Reri Grist, baritone Donald Gramm, organist Vernon DeTar, and the Choral Art Society; led by Nadia Boulanger (1962)

George Crumb's Star-Child (A Parable for Soprano, Antiphonal Children's Voices, and Large Orchestra) with soprano Irene Gubrud, Principal Trombone Edward Herman, Jr., The Boys' Choir of the Little Church Around the Corner and Trinity School, The Bell Ringers of Trinity School, The Brooklyn Boys' Chorus; led by Pierre Boulez, David Gilbert, James Chambers, and Larry Newland (1977)

Tan Dun's Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra in Memory of Toru Takemitsu with Principal Percussion Christopher S. Lamb, led by Kurt Masur (1999)

The radio broadcast performances are selected from compilations released on New York Philharmonic Special Editions, the Philharmonic's former recording label launched in 1997: New York Philharmonic: The Historic Broadcasts 1923-1987, which earned Grammy Award nominations for Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes; Mahler Broadcasts, 1948-1987, the Orchestra's first comprehensive collection of Mahler's symphonies; New York Philharmonic: An American Celebration, highlighting works written in the 20th century; Bernstein LIVE, which includes Bernstein's live performances recorded between 1951 and 1981; and Kurt Masur at the New York Philharmonic, reflecting the variety and breadth of Masur's programming with the Philharmonic through live recordings of performances from his tenure.

The producers of New York Philharmonic Special Editions are Sedgwick Clark, editor of Musical America; Philharmonic Archivist / Historian Barbara Haws; and Philharmonic Audio Director Lawrence Rock.

New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives Releases All 19th Century Materials December 7

The fifth release of material in the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives - the multi-year initiative to digitize the Orchestra's extensive archives, funded by the Leon Levy Foundation - will be completed, and all material from the 19th century will be available online on December 7, 2017 - the New York Philharmonic's 175th birthday. The New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives is available at

Highlights of the additional 250,000 pages of materials that will be available free online include:

More than 1,000 conducting scores and associated parts

A rare lithographic edition of the conducting score of Wagner's Rienzi

Rare early editions of orchestral scores by Beethoven, Brahms, Bristow, and MacDowell

5,500 pages of handwritten minutes and attendance books from the Orchestra's business meetings, with searchable text

Almost 20,000 pages of ledgers, contracts, rental agreements, tour materials, brochures, library records, ephemera, and more

Materials from founding Philharmonic member Anthony Reiff, Sr., and his son, Anthony Reiff, Jr., also a Philharmonic musician, including correspondence, photographs, programs, and ephemera

Records from the New York Symphony, which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic

More than 400 photographs of Orchestra members, composers, and other musicians

The New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives currently contains almost two million pages, including marked conducting scores, business documents, photographs, and every printed program from the Orchestra's founding in 1842 to the present. Supported by the Leon Levy Foundation, since 2005 the Digital Archives has received a total of $5 million to implement one of the world's most ambitious and comprehensive digitization programs. Support for the digitization of the 19th-century material also comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). When completed, the online collection will contain every document in the New York Philharmonic Archives from 1842 through 1970 as well as all public documents from 1970 through today. The Philharmonic is the first major symphony orchestra to provide open access to its performance history data, through, the longest running collection of data on classical music in the United States; it now links to the Digital Archives to facilitate access to the history of any artist, concert location, date, and work.

All documents and the photographs themselves have been photographed by Ardon Bar Hama and his team using innovative and advanced techniques to achieve the highest quality. The images are managed in Hadoop, an open-source data system configured by a team of developers at Technology Services Group (TSG) in coordination with the Philharmonic's Digital Archives team headed by Digital Archives Manager Kevin Schlottmann.

The New York Philharmonic Archives, the oldest and most comprehensive collection of any symphony orchestra, contains approximately six million pages that date back to its founding in 1842, with holdings that include correspondence, business records, orchestral scores and parts, photographs, concert programs, and newspaper clippings, as well as concert and broadcast recordings dating from the 1920s.

Archival Exhibit: The New York Philharmonic at 175: A History of Innovation

The New York Philharmonic will present The New York Philharmonic at 175: A History of Innovation, an archival exhibit highlighting seminal events in Philharmonic history. From the printing plates for the first time Schiller's Ode to Joy was sung in English - a translation the Philharmonic commissioned for the U.S. Premiere of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in 1846 - to the first LP made by an orchestra, the exhibit will focus on musical and technological firsts that propelled the small, self-governed cooperative of 1842 into one of the world's leading cultural institutions today. It will be on display in the Bruno Walter Gallery on David Geffen Hall's Grand Promenade November 17, 2017-January 20, 2018, and will be open to Philharmonic ticketholders.

Insights at the Atrium: "Inside the Orchestra: Yesterday, Today, and Imagining the Future"

As part of its free Insights at the Atrium series, the Philharmonic will present "Inside the Orchestra: Yesterday, Today, and Imagining the Future," featuring four generations of New York Philharmonic musicians dating back to 1948, in conversation with Philharmonic Archivist / Historian Barbara Haws on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, at the David Rubenstein Atrium. They will reminisce about the Orchestra they joined; how it has changed and what has stayed the same; favorite musical moments, accompanied by audio / video excerpts; and a free-wheeling imagining of the Philharmonic of the 22nd century.


Alan Gilbert, former Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, launches a new appointment as chief conductor designate of Hamburg's NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra this fall, shortly after the opening of its already iconic new home. The Grammy Award-winning conductor previously served as principal guest conductor of the orchestra (then known as NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg) for more than a decade, and will assume the role of chief conductor in September 2019. This position follows his transformative eight-year tenure as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, which saw the Orchestra reassert its presence as a leader on the cultural landscape. Alan Gilbert is also conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the founder and president of Musicians for Unity. With the endorsement and guidance of the United Nations, this new organization will bring together musicians from around the world to perform in support of peace, development, and human rights. Alan Gilbert makes regular guest appearances with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He has led operatic productions for Milan's Teatro alla Scala, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Zurich Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, where he was the inaugural music director. His discography includes The Nielsen Project, a box set recorded with the New York Philharmonic, and John Adams's Doctor Atomic, captured on DVD at The Metropolitan Opera, for which he won a Grammy Award. He received Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Music Direction in PBS's Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts of two star-studded New York Philharmonic productions: Sweeney Todd and Sinatra: Voice for a Century. Alan Gilbert has received honorary doctor of music degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College, as well as Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award. He is a member of The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and was named an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. At The Juilliard School, he is the first holder of the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies and serves as Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies. After giving the annual Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture on Orchestras in the 21st Century: A New Paradigm during the New York Philharmonic's EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour, he received a 2015 Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy.

Liang Wang joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2006 as Principal Oboe, The Alice Tully Chair. Previously, he was principal oboe of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra; associate principal oboe of the San Francisco Symphony; and guest principal oboe of the Chicago and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras. He has performed as concerto soloist with the New York Philharmonic 23 times. Recipient of the 2014 Beijing International Music Festival Artist of the Year award, Mr. Wang served as artist-in-residence of the Qing Dao Symphony Orchestra, his hometown orchestra, in the 2014-15 season, at the invitation of the mayor. He was invited by the Presidents of China and France to perform Chen Qigang's Extase with the Orchestre Colonne de France at Versailles's Royal Opera House in March 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of France-China diplomacy. Mr. Wang made his Carnegie Hall solo debut in April 2011 performing Chen Qigang's Extase. Other recent appearances include Mozart's Oboe Concerto with Les Violons du Roy, China Philharmonic, and Shanghai and Guanzhou Symphony Orchestras; Strauss's Oboe Concerto with the Makau Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra; Mozart's and R. Strauss's Oboe Concertos on tour with all of China's major symphony orchestras; and J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has performed chamber music with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Angel Fire Music Festival, and La Jolla Music Society's SummerFest, with which he premiered Sean Shepherd's Oboe Quartet. He is currently on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and New York University, and is an honorary professor at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Liang Wang made his Philharmonic solo debut performing R. Strauss's Oboe Concerto, led by Xian Zhang, in Hong Kong on the Asia 2008 tour; he most recently appeared as soloist in R. Strauss's Oboe Concerto, led by Manfred Honeck, in April 2016.

Anthony McGill joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Clarinet, The Edna and W. Van Alan Clark Chair, in September 2014. Previously principal clarinet of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra beginning in 2004, he is recognized as one of the classical music world's finest solo, chamber, and orchestral musicians. He has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall with many orchestras, including the MET Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and New York String Orchestra. He has also recently performed with the Baltimore, New Jersey, San Diego, and Memphis symphony orchestras and Orchestra 2001. As a chamber musician Mr. McGill has appeared throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia with quartets including the Guarneri, Tokyo, Brentano, Pacifica, Shanghai, Miró, and Daedalus. He has also appeared with Musicians from Marlboro and at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and University of Chicago Presents. His festival appearances have included Tanglewood, Marlboro, Mainly Mozart, Music@Menlo, and Santa Fe Chamber Music. He has collaborated with pianists Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Mitsuko Uchida, and Lang Lang, as well as violinists Gil Shaham and Midori. On January 20, 2009, he performed with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gabriela Montero at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. He has appeared on Performance Today, MPR's Saint Paul Sunday, and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. In 2013 with his brother Demarre, he appeared on NBC Nightly News, the StEve Harvey Show, and on MSNBC with Melissa Harris-Perry. In demand as a teacher, Anthony McGill serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Bard College Conservatory of Music, and Manhattan School of Music, and has given master classes throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa. In 2016 he was one of five leaders honored with a John Jay Justice Award for being a "true champion of justice." Anthony McGill made his Philharmonic solo debut performing Nielsen's Clarinet Concerto in the final performances of The Nielsen Project, available on the Dacapo label; he will have most recently appeared with the Orchestra as soloist in Bernstein's Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, led by Alan Gilbert in November 2017 as part of Bernstein's Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival.

Judith LeClair joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Bassoon, The Pels Family Chair, in 1981 at the age of 23, and has since made more than 50 solo appearances with the Orchestra. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, she made her professional debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra at age 15, playing Mozart's Sinfonia concertante with colleagues from the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. Before joining the New York Philharmonic, she was principal bassoon with the San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera. Active as a chamber musician, she has performed with numerous leading artists and has participated in the Music from Angel Fire, Bridgehampton, Bay Chamber, and Aspen festivals. She has given solo recitals and master classes at the Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, University of Michigan, Ohio University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Every August she gives a solo recital and week-long master class at the Hidden Valley Music Seminar in Carmel Valley, California. She is a member of the Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet of New York with her colleagues from the New York Philharmonic wind section. In April 1995 Ms. LeClair premiered The Five Sacred Trees, a concerto written for her by John Williams and commissioned by the New York Philharmonic as part of its 150th Anniversary celebration. She later performed the concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and with the Royal Academy Orchestra in London, and recorded it for Sony Classical with the London Symphony Orchestra in June 1996, with Mr. Williams conducting. This, along with her solo New York Legends CD for Cala Records, was released in March 1997. Her CD Works for Bassoon was released in the spring of 2010. Ms. LeClair is on the faculty of The Juilliard School. Ms. LeClair made her New York Philharmonic debut performing Vivaldi's Bassoon Concerto RV.498 in March 1982, conducted by Rafael Kubelik; she most recently appeared as soloist in Mozart's Bassoon Concerto, led by Andrey Boreyko, in January 2014.

Richard Deane joined the New York Philharmonic as Associate Principal Horn in September 2014; he currently serves as Acting Principal. Previously, he served as third horn of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since 1987, participating in more than 80 recordings, including 20 Grammy Award winners, for Telarc International. He also performed with the Atlanta Chamber Players and was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet, with which he toured Norway as part of the Olympic cultural exchange between Lillehammer and Atlanta. Mr. Deane has also served as principal horn with the Colorado Philharmonic and the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, and in 1987 he earned first prize in the American Horn Competition. In May 1999 Mr. Deane was a featured artist at the International Horn Society Convention held at the University of Georgia in Athens. In addition to teaching master classes at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Georgia State University, Cleveland State University, and Eastern Kentucky University, he was visiting professor of horn at the University of Georgia from 2006 to 2014. He serves as principal horn of the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina each summer. His article "The Third Horn Brahms Experience" was published in the spring 2007 edition of The Horn Call, the journal of the International Horn Society, and his first method book, The Efficient Approach: Accelerated Development for the Horn, was published by the Atlanta Brass Society Press. A native of Richmond, Kentucky, Richard Deane began his horn studies with Stanley Lawson. He received a master of music degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Myron Bloom, and a bachelor of music degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Michael Hatfield. His other teachers have included Jerry Peel at the University of Miami and David Wakefield at the Aspen Music Festival and School. These performances mark Richard Deane's New York Philharmonic solo debut.


Barbara Haws has been the Archivist / Historian of the New York Philharmonic since 1984. Ms. Haws, who has a master's degree in history from New York University, has lectured extensively about the Philharmonic's past and has curated major exhibitions in New York and Europe. In the fall of 2003 she mounted the largest-ever multimedia exhibition on the Philharmonic's history, which opened at the UBS Art Gallery and moved to Avery Fisher Hall (now David Geffen Hall). In addition to speaking at the New York Philharmonic, Ms. Haws has lectured at Harvard University, University of Michigan, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1995 she became the Executive Producer of the Philharmonic's Special Editions record label, which released award-winning and Grammy-nominated CD collections, including the 12-CD set The Mahler Broadcasts: 1948-1982; the 10-CD set Bernstein LIVE (released October 2000); and the first new recording in 20 years of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: Live at the New York Philharmonic. She has served as president of the Archivist Round Table of Metropolitan New York, and is a founder of New York Archives Week. Barbara Haws, along with Burton Bernstein, is the author of Leonard Bernstein: American Original, published in September 2008 by Harper Collins. Since 2009 she has led the effort to digitize more than 3.5 million pages of archival material from the New York Philharmonic Archives. Generously supported by the Leon Levy Foundation, the project received a major grant in 2016 from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is now freely available online at

Single tickets for these performances start at $36. Tickets are available 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. 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 $18 tickets for select concerts may be available for students within 10 days of the performance at, 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 Space is limited.

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