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Project 19 Launches With Six World Premieres

Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic will mark the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted equal voting rights to women, by commissioning and premiering works by 19 women composers. The multi-season initiative - the single largest women-only commissioning initiative in history - will launch in February 2020 with the first six World Premieres. Two more World Premieres will follow in May-June 2020. The eleven remaining commissions will be premiered in future seasons. The commissioned composers are Unsuk Chin, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Joan La Barbara, Tania León, Nicole Lizée, Caroline Mallonee, Jessie Montgomery, Angélica Negrón, Olga Neuwirth, Paola Prestini, Ellen Reid, Maria Schneider, Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Joan Tower, Melinda Wagner, Nina C. Young, and Du Yun.

Music Director Jaap van Zweden said: "As one of the leading orchestras in America, it is the New York Philharmonic's responsibility, and our joy, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of American women's right to vote with this vast commissioning project."

President and CEO Deborah Borda said: "Project 19 was born of our conviction that an orchestra can - and must - participate in conversations about social imperatives and even change the status quo. Through Project 19, the Philharmonic can mark a tectonic shift in American culture by giving a platform to women composers - and by catalyzing representation in our field and society at large."

Jaap van Zweden will conduct the New York Philharmonic in the first three Project 19 World Premieres: Rome Prize winner Nina C. Young's Tread softly (February 5-6, 8, and 11, 2020), Pulitzer Prize nominee Tania León's Stride (February 13, 15, and 18, 2020), and the commission by 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner and Luna Composition Lab co-founder Ellen Reid (February 20-22, 2020).

Philharmonic musicians will premiere the Project 19 commissions by Joan La Barbara, titled Ears of an Eagle; Eyes of a Hawk: In the Vortex; Nicole Lizée; and Paola Prestini, titled Thrush Song (on Rachel Carson before Silent Spring), at "Leading Voices," the season's second Sound ON concert at The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center, February 10, 2020. "Leading Voices" has multiple meanings: all of the works on the program feature vocalists or electronic vocal elements, and three of the works are premieres by women, whose compositional voices have historically been marginalized. The GRoW @ Annenberg Sound ON series - three evening chamber concerts at The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center - presents contemporary chamber repertoire performed by Philharmonic musicians. Host and curator Nadia Sirota - The Marie-Josée Kravis Creative Partner - leads conversations with the musicians.

Tania León will curate a Nightcap concert exploring her Latin and jazz influences at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse on February 15, 2020. The Kravis Nightcap series presents seven late-night, cabaret-style concerts curated by contemporary composers who engage in conversation about the music with host Nadia Sirota.

The New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's MetLiveArts performance series, and The Juilliard School will co-present a new, site-specific staging of Virgil Thomson's The Mother of Us All - an opera on the life of Susan B. Anthony with a libretto by Gertrude Stein - in The Metropolitan Museum of Art's American Wing Courtyard, February 8, 11-12, and 14, 2020. Conducted by Daniela Candillari and directed by Louisa Proske, the production will feature soprano Felicia Moore as Susan B. Anthony, musicians from the Philharmonic, and vocalists from Juilliard's Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts.

The New York Philharmonic Archives will present The Case of the New York Philharmonic's First Woman: Steffy Goldner's Untold Story, a multimedia installation by artist Nives Widauer examining the challenges women faced during the universal suffrage movement, focusing on the first woman to become a member of the Philharmonic, harpist Stephanie "Steffy" Goldner (1896-1962), among other pioneering women of the Philharmonic. Still and moving images of letters, recordings, home movies, and family memorabilia will be projected onto the inside of the harp case she used for touring. The installation will be on display at David Geffen Hall, February 5-22, 2020.

The New York Philharmonic will partner with the Academy of American Poets, Catalyst, The Juilliard School, Kaufman Music Center's Special Music School High School (M. 859), League of Women Voters of the City of New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's MetLiveArts performance series, and New-York Historical Society to extend the reach of Project 19 and further conversations about representation in classical music and beyond. Activities include:

  • The Academy of American Poets, the nation's leading champion of poets and poetry, and the Philharmonic will co-commission 19 new works by award-winning women poets, including Pulitzer Prize nominee Evie Shockley, MacArthur "Genius Grant" winner Natalie Diaz, former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and New York's State Poet Alicia Ostriker.

  • The League of Women Voters of the City of New York will host voter registration and provide information on civic engagement at Project 19 performances.

  • Students at Kaufman Music Center's Special Music School High School (M. 859) are studying the music of all 19 composers as well as the historical context of the 19th Amendment and its impact on music history. Many of the composers will work directly with the students in this public school.

  • The Philharmonic will co-present a site-specific production of Virgil Thomson's The Mother of Us All with The Metropolitan Museum of Art's MetLiveArts performance series and The Juilliard School.

  • New York Philharmonic President & CEO Deborah Borda and Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO of Catalyst - a global nonprofit aiming to build workplaces that work for women - will lead a free webinar on January 15, 2020, at 11:00 a.m.

The New York Philharmonic will give the World Premieres of the Project 19 commissions by Olga Neuwirth and Sarah Kirkland Snider as part of hotspots festival, which spotlights Berlin, Reykjavík, and New York as global hotspots of classical music innovation. hotspots will open with the World Premiere of the Project 19 commission by Berlin-based composer Olga Neuwirth, May 28 and 30 and June 2, 2020, conducted by John Adams and featuring countertenor Andrew Watts in his Philharmonic debut and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus directed by Dianne Berkun Menaker. hotspots will close with the World Premiere of the Project 19 commission by New York-based composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, conducted by Jaap van Zweden, June 11-13, 2020.

Olga Neuwirth will curate a Nightcap concert on May 30, 2020, and Sarah Kirkland Snider will curate a Nightcap concert on June 13, 2020, both at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse.

The season's final Young People's Concert, The Woman's Voice, on May 30, 2020, will feature music by women who spotlight women's rights and by women who helped pave the way, conducted by Mei-Ann Chen in her Philharmonic debut. More information will be announced.

Single tickets start at $34. A limited number of $18 tickets may be available to students within 10 days of the performance at, or in person the day of (valid identification required). Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $22. The New York Philharmonic is offering an allotment of free tickets to young people ages 13-26 for the concerts on February 14, February 21, and June 12 as part of Philharmonic Free Fridays ( Single tickets to Sound ON start at $45. Single tickets to The Mother of Us All start at $115. Single tickets to Nightcap start at $25. Single tickets to Young People's Concerts start at $16; all tickets include admission to YPC Overtures. (Ticket prices subject to change.)

Tickets to New York Philharmonic performances 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.

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