Principal Trumpeter Christopher Martin to Make Solo Debut with the New York Philharmonic
Music Director Alan Gilbert will conduct the New York Philharmonic in Beethoven's Symphony No. 5; Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta; and Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre, for Trumpet and Orchestra, featuring Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin in his Philharmonic solo debut, Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. Alan Gilbert and the Orchestra will perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, with Lang Lang as soloist; Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta; and Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre, with Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin as soloist, Thursday, October 6, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, October 7 at 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday, October 8 at 8:00 p.m.
Alan Gilbert conducted Lang Lang's first engagement with an American orchestra, when the pianist was 14. Since his New York Philharmonic debut in 2002, Lang Lang has performed with the Orchestra 55 times, including on two tours, a Live From Lincoln Center telecast, and the 2015-16 season Opening Gala Concert. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 is among the season's performances of the complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle. BBC Music Magazine wrote of Lang Lang's recording of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto: "The dialogue of the Fourth Concerto's Andante is especially touching: Lang Lang's emotional poise is superbly judged ... In the Fourth, there are exquisite moments of delicacy."
Christopher Martin will join the New York Philharmonic as Principal Trumpet, The Paula Levin Chair, in September 2016, at the start of the 2016-17 season. He will succeed Philip Smith, who retired at the end of the 2013-14 season, following 36 seasons of service. MR. Martin has held the same position at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
These performances mark Alan Gilbert's first time leading the Philharmonic in Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, and continue Alan Gilbert's history conducting Ligeti with the Philharmonic. Mysteries of the Macabre is an arrangement of three arias from Le Grand Macabre; as such, these performances recollect a signature moment from Alan Gilbert's inaugural season, when he led a sold-out staged production of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre - named New Yorkmagazine's number one classical music event of 2010 and "the greatest triumph achieved by any New York musical institution in 2010" by The New York Times. The inaugural THE ART OF THE SCORE: Film Week at the Philharmonic, in September 2013, featured Alan Gilbert conducting the score to 2001: A Space Odyssey - which includes Ligeti's Atmosphères, Lux aeterna, Requiem, and Aventures - as the complete film was screened.
Philharmonic Free Fridays
The New York Philharmonic is offering 100 free tickets for young people ages 13-26 to the concert Friday, October 7 as part of Philharmonic Free Fridays. Information is available at nyphil.org/freefridays. Philharmonic Free Fridays offers 100 free tickets to 13-26-year-olds to each of the 2016-17 season's 16 Friday evening subscription concerts.
As Music Director of the New York Philharmonic since 2009, Alan Gilbert has 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. The Financial Times called him "the imaginative maestro-impresario in residence."
Alan Gilbert concludes his final season as Music Director with four programs that reflect themes, works, and musicians that hold particular meaning for him, including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony alongside Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw,Wagner's complete Das Rheingold in concert, and an exploration of how music can effect positive change in the world. Other highlights include three World Premieres, Mahler's Fourth Symphony, Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre, and Manhattan, performed live to film. He also leads the Orchestra on the EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour and in performance residencies in Shanghai and Santa Barbara. Past highlights include acclaimed stagings of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson (2015 Emmy nomination), and Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake starring Marion Cotillard; 28 World Premieres; a tribute to Boulez and Stucky during the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL; The Nielsen Project; the Verdi Requiem and Bach's B-minor Mass; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey, performed live to film; Mahler's Resurrection Symphony on the tenth anniversary of 9/11; performing violin in Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time; and ten tours around the world.
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 he returns to the foremost European orchestras, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. He will record Beethoven's complete piano concertos with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Inon Barnatan, and conduct Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at Milan's Teatro alla Scala, his first time leading a staged opera there. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic in 2008, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award, and he conducted Messiaen's Des Canyons aux étoiles on a recent album recorded live at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. 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 Honorary Doctor of Music degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music (2010) and Westminster Choir College (2016), Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award (2011), election to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2014), a Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy (2015), Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2015), and New York University's Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City (2016).
Christopher Martin will join the New York Philharmonic as Principal Trumpet, The Paula Levin Chair, in the 2016-17 season. He has served as principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) for eleven seasons, and has enjoyed a distinctive career of almost 20 years in many of America's finest orchestras. Prior to his CSO appointment by Daniel Barenboim, MR. Martin served as principal trumpet of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and associate principal trumpet of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist multiple times domestically and internationally with the CSO and music director Riccardo Muti. Highlights of MR. Martin's solo appearances include the 2012 World Premiere of Christopher Rouse's concerto Heimdall's Trumpet; Panufnik's Concerto in modo antico, with Mr. Muti; a program of 20th-century French concertos by André Jolivet and Henri Tomasi; and more than a dozen performances of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. Other solo engagements have included the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa's Saito Kinen Festival, Atlanta and Alabama Symphony Orchestras, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico. Christopher Martin's discography includes a solo trumpet performance in John Williams's score to Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012), the National Brass Ensemble's Gabrielialbum, and CSO Resound label recordings, including the widely acclaimed 2011 release of CSO Brass Live. Dedicated to music education, MR. Martin has served on the faculty of Northwestern University and coached the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In 2010 he co-founded the National Brass Symposium with his brother Michael Martin, a trumpeter in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and in 2016 he received the Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation from the American Bandmasters Association for outstanding contributions to the wind band genre. Christopher Martin and his wife, Margaret - an organist and pianist - enjoy performing together in recital. These performances mark Christopher Martin's New York Philharmonic solo debut.
Internationally renowned pianist Lang Lang has helped bring music into the lives of children around the world as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and through his Lang Lang International Music Foundation. He inspires millions with his open-hearted, emotive playing, whether in intimate recitals or on the grandest of stages, such as the 56th and 57th Grammy Awards two years in a row and the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has formed enduring musical partnerships with the world's greatest artists, from conductors, such as Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, and Simon Rattle, to artists from outside of classical music, among them Metallica, Pharrell Williams, dubstep dancer Marquese "nonstop" Scott, vocalist Julio Iglesias, and pianist Herbie Hancock. Time Magazine named Lang Lang as one of the Time 100, citing him as a symbol of the youth of China and its future. Steinway Pianos named a model after a single artist for the first time when they introduced The Lang Lang Piano to China, specially designed for education. Lang Lang has been featured on every major television network and in magazines worldwide. He has performed for international dignitaries including Secretary-General of the U.N. Ban Ki-moon, President of China Xi Jin-Ping, four U.S. presidents, President Koehler of Germany, and French Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande. Of many landmark events, he was honored to perform for President Obama and former President Hu Jin-Tao of China at a White House State Dinner, the Diamond Jubilee celebratory concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, the 70th Anniversary celebration of the United Nations, and in 2015 as part of a concert celebrating the city of Havana, Cuba.
Belá Bartók (1881-1945) composed his Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta in celebration of the Basel Chamber Orchestra's 10th anniversary. Commissioned by Paul Sacher, the work received its premiere in Basel, Switzerland, in January 1937, and the New York Philharmonic presented its U.S. Premiere that October, under the direction of John Barbirolli. The four-movement work of exuberant invention and passion explores Baroque concepts of antiphonal spacing, symmetry, and counterpoint, as well as modern timbres and orchestration techniques. Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is one of Bartók's most frequently played pieces, and can be heard in a number of films including Being John Malkovich and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, and even in a few early episodes of Doctor Who. The New York Philharmonic most recently performed it in December 2009, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
György Ligeti (1923-2006) drew the material for his Mysteries of the Macabre for Trumpet and Orchestra (1994) from his opera Le Grand Macabre, which he composed from 1974 to 1977. While the original opera follows an array of characters as they interact with a man who claims to be Death and threatens to bring on the end of the world, Mysteries of the Macabrecomprises arrangements of the three arias created for Gepopo, Chief of the Secret Political Police, performed in the full opera by a coloratura soprano. In this arrangement, the trumpet takes on the soprano's line and - just as in its vocal setting - it is a showpiece for the soloist, taking the listeners on a wild, pyrotechnic ride. In his notes, Ligeti writes: "The half-nonsense text is an immediate - however more accurate - continuation of the idea of my works Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures, but there are no chromatics in the music any more. The Philharmonic performed scenes from Le Grand Macabre in May 1986, led by Zoltán Peskó, and presented a staging of the entire opera in May 2010, conducted by Alan Gilbert and produced by Giants Are Small. These are the Orchestra's first performances of Mysteries of the Macabre.
With its famous opening motif of three short notes and one long, Ludwig van Beethoven's (1770-1827) Symphony No. 5 has become one of the most recognizable and popular compositions in the orchestral repertoire. As the composer Robert Schumann wrote: "Let us be silent about this work! No matter how frequently heard, whether at home or in the concert hall, this symphony invariably wields its power over people of every age like those great phenomena of nature that fill us with fear and admiration at all times, no matter how frequently we may experience them." Beethoven wrote the symphony under difficult conditions: the realization of his worsening deafness, familial tensions, romantic disappointment, and dismay at political events in Europe. The work, which took four years to write, was finished in 1808 and premiered in Vienna the following year conducted by the composer. New York Philharmonic founder Ureli Corelli Hill led the Fifth Symphony on the very first Philharmonic concert, December 7, 1842, at the Apollo Rooms. The Orchestra's most recent performance took place in October 2015, led by Jaap van Zweden.
After the private 1807 premiere of the Piano Concerto No. 4 (1806) at the palace of his patron, Prince Josef Franz von Lobkowitz, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) played the work publicly in 1808 - because of his increasing deafness it would turn out to be his last such performance. (The concert on which the concerto appeared was an extraordinary, all-Beethoven, four-hour marathon that also included his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the Choral Fantasy, sections of the Mass in C, and a concert aria. All this in an unheated hall in late December.) The dedication had been promised to Baron Ignaz von Gleichenstein, but when the concerto was published, it bore a dedication to Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven's longtime friend. Ever the iconoclast, the composer began his concerto with an unaccompanied gentle introduction by the piano, followed by the orchestra playing alone and at great length; the concept was at least surprising, if not shocking, to early-19th century ears. The Philharmonic's first performance of this concerto was in 1863, led by Theodore Elsfeld and featuring pianist S.B. Mills; Yefim Bronfman was the soloist for the most recent presentation in 2014, conducted by Alan Gilbert, as part of The Beethoven Piano Concertos: A Philharmonic Festival.
Single tickets for the October 5 performance start at $39; single tickets for the October 6-8 performances start at $34. Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $20. 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 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. A limited number of $18 tickets for select concerts may be available through the Internet for students within 10 days of the performance, 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.)