NY Philharmonic Opens Season with Yo-Yo Ma Gala Concert Tonight
Music Director Alan Gilbert opens the New York Philharmonic's 2013-14 season with the Opening Gala concert, headlined by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, tonight, September 25, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Gilbert will conduct Mr. Ma and the Orchestra in two works by Argentinian composers: the World Premiere of Octavio Brunetti's arrangement, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, of a suite from Astor Piazzolla's La serie del Ángel, and Osvaldo Golijov's Azul, composed for the eminent cellist. The program opens with Ravel's Alborada del gracioso and closes with Boléro, two pieces that reflect the French composer's fascination with Spain. The concert will be telecast nationally on Live From Lincoln Center at a later date, and Classical 105.9 FM WQXR at 7:30 p.m.
The concert will mark the Philharmonic's first performance and Yo-Yo Ma's first New York performance of Azul, written for Mr. Ma, as well as the Orchestra's first performance of any work by Mr. Golijov. In its review of the piece, the Los Angeles Times praised, "Of all the music written for Ma, this one captures him most fully.... Ma and Golijov are artists made for each other."
"I think Osvaldo Golijov is one of the most important composers working today, and I've loved his music for a long time," said Alan Gilbert. "To work with Yo-Yo Ma is a huge honor, and it's a dream to have him opening the season. His championing of this music makes a lot of sense to me because I can see the emotional kinship that these two great artists share. When Yo-Yo commissions a new piece, I admire that he doesn't just play it once: he brings it to different orchestras and gives the piece life."
For the seventh consecutive year, the Philharmonic and its Global Sponsor, Credit Suisse - whose partnership began at the start of the 2007 season - will offer a Free Dress Rehearsal of the Opening Gala concert Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at 9:45 a.m. General admission tickets will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis starting that morning at 8:00 a.m. on Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza. Previous seasons' Free Dress Rehearsals have drawn thousands of music lovers to Avery Fisher Hall.
The black-tie Opening Gala on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, will include a pre-concert champagne reception from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., the concert, and a dinner immediately following the performance. The Opening Gala Co-Chairmen are Noreen and Ken Buckfire, Gabriela and Antonio Quintella, and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor. The Executive Vice Chairmen are Agnes and Gerald L. Hassell and PamEla Thomas-Graham and Lawrence Otis Graham. The Gala is generously underwritten by BNY Mellon, Credit Suisse, Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Flowers, Daria L. Foster, and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor.
Related Events ? Free Dress Rehearsal
The Philharmonic and Credit Suisse will offer a Free Dress Rehearsal of the Opening Gala concert Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at 9:45 a.m. General admission tickets will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, one per person, starting that morning at 8:00 a.m. on Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza.
? Opening Gala The black-tie Opening Gala, September 25, will include a pre-concert champagne reception from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., the concert, and a dinner immediately following the performance. The Opening Gala Co-Chairmen are Noreen and Ken Buckfire, Gabriela and Antonio Quintella, and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor. The Executive Vice Chairmen are Agnes and Gerald L. Hassell and PamEla Thomas-Graham and Lawrence Otis Graham. The Gala is generously underwritten by BNY Mellon, Credit Suisse, Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Flowers, Daria L. Foster, and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor.
? Empire State Building Salute On September 25 the Empire State Building will be lit in Philharmonic red in celebration of the Philharmonic's Opening Gala and the start of the 2013-14 season.
Artists Music Director Alan Gilbert began his New York Philharmonic tenure in September 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 and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in- Residence; CONTACT!, the new-music series; and, beginning in the spring of 2014, the NY PHIL BIENNIAL. "H
In addition to inaugurating the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, in the 2013-14 season Alan Gilbert conducts Mozart's three final symphonies; the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Frieze coupled with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; four world premieres; an all-Britten program celebrating the composer's centennial; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film is screened; and a staged production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel. He continues The Nielsen Project - the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer's symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by The New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012 - and presides over the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour. Last season's highlights included Bach's B-minor Mass; Ives's Fourth Symphony; the EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour; and the season-concluding A Dancer's Dream, a multidisciplinary reimagining of Stravinsky's The Fairy's Kiss and Petrushka, created by Giants Are Small and starring New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns.
Mr. Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies and holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at The Juilliard School. Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras around the world. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic in 2008, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award. Renée Fleming's recent Decca recording Poèmes, on which he conducted, received a 2013 Grammy Award. His recordings have received top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine. In May 2010 Mr. Gilbert received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and in December 2011, Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award for his "exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music."
The multi-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. He balances his engagements as soloist with orchestras worldwide with recital and chamber music activities. His discography includes more than 75 albums, including more than 15 Grammy award winners.
Mr. Ma is artistic director of the Silk Road Project, which he founded to promote the study of cultural, artistic, and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade routes. Since the Project's inception, more than 60 works have been commissioned specifically for the Silk Road Ensemble, which tours annually. Mr. Ma also serves as the Judson and Joyce Green creative consultant to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Institute for Learning, Access and Training, focusing on the transformative power of music in individuals' lives, and on increasing the opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities.
Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris to Chinese parents who later moved the family to New York. He began to study cello at the age of four, attended The Juilliard School, and in 1976 graduated from Harvard University. He has received numerous awards, among them the National Medal of Arts, Sonning Prize, World Economic Forum's Crystal Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2011 Kennedy Center Honors, and 2012 Polar Music Prize. Mr. Ma serves as a U.N. Messenger of Peace and as a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony. Yo-Yo Ma most recently appeared with the Philharmonic in June 2012 performing Henri Dutilleux's Cello Concerto, Tout un monde lontain ... (A Whole Distant World ...), led by Music Director Alan Gilbert, at a concert dedicated to the works of Mr. Dutilleux, inaugural recipient of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music.
Repertoire Maurice Ravel's Alborada del gracioso was originally part of a collection of five piano pieces, Miroirs (1904-05), each of which was dedicated to a member of "Le club des Apaches" (a term referring to hooligans), a bohemian group of French composers, painters, poets, and critics. The composer hailed from the Basque region of France, near the Spanish border, and the piece evokes this heritage. An alborada, or "morning music," is a Spanish folk song, accompanied by guitar, traditionally played in the morning under the window of one's sweetheart while she is still asleep. A gracioso, rendered in English as "jester," is a comic character, usually a lowly type, reminiscent of the fools in Shakespearean comedies. Ravel orchestrated the piano piece in 1918, and it was premiered in Paris in 1919. Although the seven-minute piece sounds light and simple, the score places big demands on the performers; Ravel, known for his magnificent orchestrations, calls for glissandi from the trombones, flutter-tonguing from the winds, and, in the final section, strings divided into 24 parts. The Philharmonic's first performance of the work was by the New York Symphony (which in 1928 merged with the Philharmonic Society of New York to form today's New York Philharmonic) in January 1925, conducted by Walter Damrosch. Its most recent was in July, conducted by Alan Gilbert during the Orchestra's residency at Bravo! Vail.
Osvaldo Golijov's Azul was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and premiered by Yo-Yo Ma, for whom it was composed, at Tanglewood in August 2006. Subsequently, Mr. Golijov decided to expand the work into four sections (played without pause) for performance by cellist Alisa Weilerstein. The composer didn't set out to write a virtuosic cello concerto; rather, he wanted to "evoke the majesty of certain Baroque adagios," and also their sense of spaciousness. In the work the composer updated the concerto grosso, in which a smaller group of instruments (here cello, hyper-accordion - an amplified accordion that can alter sounds as it is being played - and percussion) is pitted against an orchestra. The piece opens with the soloist spinning out a melody that blends Mr. Golijov's Middle-Eastern and Latin-American influences.
The titles of the sections reflect the images that the music conjures: "Paz sulfúrica" - as if reaching into the bowels of the earth - foregrounds the hyper-accordion; "Silencio" harks back to Baroque adagios; "Transit," in which the cello and then the percussionist undertake lengthy cadenzas; and "Yrushalem," marked "Noble, like prayer fragments," the composer's homage to the Baroque composer François Couperin. The work ends with two codas, marked "Pulsar" and "Shooting Stars." Osvaldo Golijov says he "wanted to write a piece that could be listened to from different perspectives ... music that would sound as an orbiting spaceship that never touches the ground." This is the Philharmonic's first performance of the work.
In 1957, Astor Piazzolla (1921-92), the Argentine master who was the definitive performer and composer of tango, wrote a piece titled Tango del Ángel. In 1962, perhaps inspired by it, Alberto Rodríguez Muñoz commissioned more "angel songs" from Piazzolla for a play he was writing, El tango del Ángel. Piazzolla provided two new pieces, Introducción al Ángel and La muerte del Ángel. Although not conceived as such, these pieces joined another two to become known as the "Angel Series," or La serie del Ángel. The Argentine-born pianist, arranger, and conductor Octavio Brunetti selected three of them when he arranged this Suite from La serie del Ángel. The New York Philharmonic commissioned Mr. Brunetti's arrangement, and this performance marks its World Premiere.
In 1928 Maurice Ravel withdrew to the seaside home he kept in his native Basque country of southwestern France, following an exhausting 14-month North-American tour. During his tour he made the rounds of major musical capitals, marveled at the Grand Canyon, and hobnobbed in Hollywood with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and Charlie Chaplin, among others. The dancer Ida Rubinstein commissioned a new piece from Ravel, who used his vacation to produce what is essentially an experiment in orchestration. Boléro, he wrote, "is a rather slow dance, uniform throughout in its melody, harmony, and rhythm, the latter being tapped out continuously on the drum. The only element of variety is supplied by the orchestral crescendo." Ironically, although Boléro is one of the composer's most arcane experiments, it became one of his most popular successes. The first Philharmonic performance of the work was in November 1929, led by Arturo Toscanini; the Orchestra's most recent performance took place in December 2010, led by Alan Gilbert.
** * Credit Suisse is the Global Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic.
Credit Suisse AG is one of the world's leading financial services providers and is part of the Credit Suisse group of companies (referred to here as "Credit Suisse"). As an integrated bank, Credit Suisse offers clients its combined expertise in the areas of private banking, investment banking, and asset management. Credit Suisse provides advisory services, comprehensive solutions, and innovative products to companies, institutional clients, and high-net-worth private clients globally, as well as to retail clients in Switzerland. Credit Suisse is headquartered in Zurich and operates in over 50 countries worldwide. The group employs approximately 48,200 people. The registered shares (CSGN) of Credit Suisse's parent company, Credit Suisse Group AG, are listed in Switzerland and, in the form of American Depositary Shares (CS), in New York. Further information about Credit Suisse can be found at www.credit-suisse.com.
** * Generous underwriting support for the Opening Gala is provided by BNY Mellon, Credit
Suisse, Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Flowers, Daria L. Foster, and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor.
** * Classical 109.5 WQXR is the Radio Home of the New York Philharmonic.
** * Programs of the New York Philharmonic are supported, in part, by public funds from the New
York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Single tickets for these performances start at $79. All 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. on Saturday, and noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher 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. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. [Ticket prices subject to change.]
For more information about the Opening Gala, which includes a pre-concert reception, concert, and post-concert dinner, please call Jennifer Levine at New York Philharmonic Special Events (212) 875-5757, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Opening Gala of the New York Philharmonic's 2013-14 Season
Avery Fisher Hall
Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 7:30 p.m. Free Dress Rehearsal - 9:45 a.m. (free event tickets, one per person, required and available starting at 8:00 a.m. on the Josie Robertson Plaza) Live From Lincoln Center telecast at a later date on PBS stations Concert broadcast live on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR and on wqxr.org
RAVEL Osvaldo GOLIJOV PIAZZOLLA/arr. Brunetti
Alborada del gracioso Azul Suite from La serie del Ángel (World Premiere-New York Philharmonic Commission of arrangement) Boléro
RAVEL The concert will be performed without intermission.