New York Philharmonic's 'Concerts in the Parks' to Return for 51st Season, Beginning Today

The 2016 New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, return for the 51st season with five free outdoor concerts, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, on the Great Lawn in Central Park, Manhattan, beginning today, June 15 and continuing tomorrow, June 16; Prospect Park, Brooklyn (June 17); Cunningham Park, Queens (June 20); and Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx (June 21).

In addition, New York Philharmonic musicians will perform at the Free Indoor Concert at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden on June 22, 2016. Major corporate support for the 2016 New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks and the Free Indoor Concert has been provided by MetLife Foundation.

Alan Gilbert will conduct Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, with Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill as soloist, on the concerts June 15, 17, and 20-21; R. Strauss's Ein Heldenleben, featuring Concertmaster Frank Huang in the concertmaster solos, June 15 and 20-21; Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, June 16; Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica, June 16- 17; Rossini's La gazza ladra Overture, June 15 and 20-21; and Beethoven's Fidelio Overture, June 16-17. The Free Indoor Concert in Staten Island will be a chamber concert that includes Concertmaster Frank Huang performing as soloist in a chamber version of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

All performances begin at 8:00 p.m.; there will be fireworks by Bay Fireworks following the performances in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx.

The New York Philharmonic's free parks concerts have become an iconic New York summer experience since they began in 1965, transforming parks throughout the New York area into a patchwork of picnickers, and providing music lovers with an opportunity to hear the best classical music under the stars. More than 14 million listeners have been delighted by the performances since their inception.

"The New York Philharmonic is not just an orchestra that happens to be in New York - it is New York's orchestra in a very meaningful way, and this is most palpably and wonderfully apparent in our Concerts in the Parks," said Music Director Alan Gilbert. "This summer we are bringing to all five boroughs the music we love performing in the concert hall: Rossini and Beethoven, Strauss and Wagner. And I am particularly pleased that Anthony McGill, our dynamic Principal Clarinet, will serenade New Yorkers under the stars as the soloist in Mozart's exquisite Clarinet Concerto."

"Our annual Concerts in the Parks are one of the New York Philharmonic's projects with the greatest direct impact on our community," said President Matthew VanBesien. "As we approach the 175th anniversary of serving everyone who calls New York City home, we are more conscious than ever of the privilege it is to be invited to neighborhoods across the city, and to touch people's lives through the beauty of music. I thank Didi and Oscar Schafer, great New York City citizens, for a decade of their extraordinary support for this vital and vibrant summer tradition, as well as MetLife Foundation."

"This is a tremendously exciting time at the New York Philharmonic, and the Concerts in the Parks are a wonderful opportunity for all New Yorkers and New York visitors to be part of what we are doing," said Philharmonic Chairman Oscar Schafer, who with his wife, Didi, sponsors the concerts. "Just as Didi and I take pride in this great city and its beautiful parks, we are honored to help make it possible for our neighbors to hear, for free, the greatest orchestra in the world!"

"MetLife Foundation is committed to increasing access to the arts here in New York City and across the globe," said Dennis White, MetLife Foundation's President and CEO. "We are honored to help bring the world-class New York Philharmonic to audiences throughout the five boroughs."

MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2015, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $700 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit

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-Josée 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.

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, Miro?, 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.

Pictured: Alan Gilbert conducting the New York Philharmonic in Central Park. Photo by Chris Lee.

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