Alan Gilbert To Lead 26th Free Memorial Day Concert, 5/29
Music Director Alan Gilbert will lead the New York Philharmonic in Mahler's Symphony No. 4, with soprano Ying Fang as soloist, at the Annual Free Memorial Day Concert, Monday, May 29, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. This will be the 26th Annual Free Memorial Day Concert offered by the New York Philharmonic, a tradition begun in 1992 as a gift to the people of New York City. Alan Gilbert has led the Memorial Day Concert each year since becoming Music Director in the 2009-10 season. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the performance; ticket distribution will begin at 6:00 p.m. The audio of the performance will be broadcast onto the adjacent Pulpit Green, weather permitting. The program will be presented without intermission.
The New York Times called Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic's performance of Mahler's Fourth Symphony in March 2017 an "impressively played and sensitive account. ... Mr. Gilbert reconciled the disparate elements into a glowing, sunlit performance. ... The melancholic slow movement was played with great breadth and radiant string sound."
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 four 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).
Soprano Ying Fang's 2016-17 season includes a return to The Metropolitan Opera for role debuts as Ilia in Mozart's Idomeneo and Elvira in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri led by James Levine, as well as Jano in Janá?ek's Jen?fa. She will portray Susanna in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in a Stephen Lawless production for Opera Philadelphia and sings Bellezza in Handel's Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm at Opéra de Lille. Ms. Fang performs Handel's Messiah with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann, ventures to Chicago for Telemann's Der Tag des Gerichts with Music of the Baroque Orchestra, and joins St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble for a Schubertiade in New York. Previous seasons have included performances at The Metropolitan Opera, Verbier Festival, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Ravinia Festival, Wolf Trap Opera, Festival d'Avignon, and the New World Symphony, working with conductors including William Christie, Jesús López Cobos, Colin Davis, and Carlo Rizzi. Ms. Fang has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Aspen Opera Theater Center, and The Juilliard School. She has sung with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Recent orchestral engagements include Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4, Orff's Carmina Burana, J.S. Bach's Wedding Cantata, Villa-Lobos's Bachiana Brasiliera No. 5, Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Handel's motet Silete Venti. She has also performed Bernstein's West Side Story. Ms. Fang holds a master's degree and an artist diploma in opera study from The Juilliard School and a bachelor's degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She was a member of The Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She made her New York Philharmonic debut in December 2016 in an all-Mozart program conducted by Bernard Labadie.
Gustav Mahler's (1860-1911) Symphony No. 4 had its origins in 1892, when the composer turned to the folk-poetry collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn and set the poem "Der Himmel hängt voll Geigen" ("Heaven Is Hung with Violins") as a song. Although he first imagined that the song would form the seventh movement of his Third Symphony, Mahler instead chose to make it the final movement of his Fourth. He began writing the three movements that precede it during his summer holiday in 1899, finishing the work the following summer. The composer avoided supplying an extra-musical program of any kind, and a 1910 program noted that, "in deference to Mr. Mahler's wishes, there shall be no attempt at an analysis or description here of the symphony." Mahler conducted the premiere in 1901 with the Kaim Orchestra of Munich, and led the New York Philharmonic in performances in January 1911. It was first performed by the New York Symphony (which merged with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 to form today's New York Philharmonic) in November 1904, led by Walter Damrosch, with Etta de Montjau as soloist; the Philharmonic most recently performed it in March and April 2017 with soprano Christina Landshamer as soloist, in New York and on the EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour.
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The Annual Free Memorial Day Concert is presented by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.
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Citi. Preferred Card of the New York Philharmonic.
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Emirates is the Official Airline of the New York Philharmonic.
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Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the 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.
Admission to this performance is free. Tickets are required and will be distributed at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine at 6:00 p.m. the evening of the concert. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the performance.