NY Phil Launches New Season of Young People's Concerts Today

The 93rd season of the New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts (YPCs) will begin today, December 12, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. with the program "Fables and Folktales," the first in this season's series, Once Upon a Time, exploring music inspired by stories, poems, and legends. The season's first concert will feature Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, narrated by Brandon Gill; Richard Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks; and the first performance of selections from the orchestral version of Raphael Mostel's Travels of Babar, Part One: The Honeymoon, accompanied by a digital slideshow of high-resolution scans of Babar author Jean de Brunhoff's watercolors. Joshua Gersen, in his first season as a Philharmonic Assistant Conductor, will make his Philharmonic debut leading the performance, and Vice President, Education, Theodore Wiprud will host the event.

Attendees are invited to come early to take part in YPC Overtures, at which children meet Philharmonic musicians and try out orchestral instruments on the Grand Promenade and upper tiers of David Geffen Hall, starting at 12:45 p.m. Pre-concert activities inside the hall include live performances by ensembles of Philharmonic musicians of works by Very Young Composers inspired by the YPC's thematic content.

Artists Joshua Gersen, music director of the New York Youth Symphony, began his tenure as New York Philharmonic Assistant Conductor in September 2015. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, he recently finished his tenure as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Conducting Fellow of the New World Symphony, where he served as assistant conductor to artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas. He was principal conductor of the Ojai Music Festival in 2013; has conducted the San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville symphony orchestras; and has served as a cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and many other orchestras throughout the U.S. Winner of a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, he is also a recipient of the 2010 Robert Harth Prize and 2011 Aspen Conducting Prize from the Aspen Summer Festival, where he served as assistant conductor in the summer of 2012. His work as a composer has led to an interest in conducting contemporary music; he has led World Premieres with the New World Symphony and New York Youth Symphony, and has collaborated with composers including John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Steven Mackey, Mason Bates, and Michael Gandolfi. This performance marks his New York Philharmonic debut.

Theodore Wiprud - New York Philharmonic Vice President, Education, The Sue B. Mercy Chair - has directed the Orchestra's Education Department since 2004. The Philharmonic's education programs include the historic Young People's Concerts (which he hosts), Very Young People's Concerts, Philharmonic Schools (one of the largest in-school programs among U.S. orchestras), Very Young Composers, adult education programs, and many special projects. Mr. Wiprud has also created innovative programs as director of education and community engagement at the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the American Composers Orchestra; served as associate director of The Commission Project; and assisted the Orchestra of St. Luke's on its education programs. He has worked as a teaching artist and resident composer in a number of New York City schools. From 1990 to 1997 he directed national grant-making programs at Meet the Composer. Prior to that position, he taught at and directed the music department for Walnut Hill School, a pre-professional arts boarding school near Boston. Mr. Wiprud is also an active composer, whose Violin Concerto (Katrina) was recently released on Champs Hill Records. His music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and voice is published by Allemar Music. Theodore Wiprud holds degrees from Harvard and Boston Universities and studied at Cambridge University as a visiting scholar

Brandon Gill, a native New Yorker, is a graduate of The Juilliard School and LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts. He made his Broadway debut last summer in Holler If Ya Hear Me, directed by Kenny Leon. Mr. Gill has also appeared in The Last Goodbye (at The Old Globe, directed by Alex Timbers) and the World Premieres of Neighbors (The Public Theater) and Stagger Lee (Dallas Theater Center), and he recently workshopped the new British Invasion musical with Jerry Mitchell and Rick Elice. This year he stars in the upcoming film Tower of Silence; other films include Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son, Fourth Man Out, Foreclosure, and Sorcerer's Apprentice. On television, Brandon Gill has made guest appearances in Beauty and the Beast, House of Cards, Do No Harm, Detroit 187, and Law & Order: SVU, and he played a recurring role in Golden Boy. These performances mark his New York Philharmonic debut.

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