Programming Announced for New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks

Programming Announced for New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks

The New York Philharmonic's 2018 Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, will feature James Gaffigan conducting music celebrating Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein's centennial, evocative works highlighting the Orchestra's virtuosity, and music by students in the Philharmonic's Very Young Composers (VYC) program - the first time that VYC works have been performed in the parks concerts.

The program features Saint-Saëns's Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah; Bernstein's Three Dance Episodes from On the Town; Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade; 11-year-old Very Young Composer Jordan Millar's Boogie Down Uptown; and 10-year-old Very Young Composer Camryn Cowan's Harlem Shake. The performances will take place at Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx (June 12); the Great Lawn in Central Park, Manhattan (June 13); Cunningham Park, Queens (June 14); and Prospect Park, Brooklyn (June 15). Musicians from the New York Philharmonic will perform Beethoven's Wind Sextet, Op. 71; Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence; and works by Very Young Composers of New York City in the Free Indoor Concert in Staten Island at the Music Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (June 17). Major corporate support for the 2018 New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks and the Free Indoor Concert has been provided by MetLife Foundation, Citi, and Emirates Airline.

Created by New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers (VYC) Artistic Director Jon Deak - a composer and former Philharmonic Associate Principal Bass - the VYC program enables students from diverse backgrounds to compose music to be performed by Philharmonic musicians, sometimes by the full Orchestra. The works by Jordan Millar and Camryn Cowan were premiered at the January 2018 Young People's Concerts for Schools, An African American Legacy: The Harlem Renaissance, in which the children were challenged to create works inspired by their neighborhoods. Ms. Millar writes of Boogie Down Uptown: "The theme of my new piece is the excitement of stepping out for the first time onto the lavish streets of Harlem." Ms. Cowan writes of Harlem Shake: "I aimed to infuse sounds of early 1920s jazz with the contemporary Hot Jazz sound that I heard over the summer while visiting New Orleans."

The performances in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn will begin at 8:00 p.m. and will conclude with fireworks. The Free Indoor Concert in Staten Island will begin at 3:00 p.m.; tickets are free but required for the Staten Island concert, and are available at

The New York Philharmonic's free parks concerts have become an iconic New York summer experience since they began in 1965, transforming parks throughout the New York area into a patchwork of picnickers, and providing music lovers with an opportunity to hear classical music under the stars. More than 15 million listeners have been delighted by the performances since their inception.

About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2017, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $783 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. In 2013 the Foundation committed $200 million to financial inclusion, and its work to date has reached more than 3.5 million low-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit

Hailed for the natural ease of his conducting and the compelling insight of his musicianship, James Gaffigan continues to attract international attention and is one of the most outstanding American conductors working today. Since becoming chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Gaffigan has made a significant impact on the orchestra's profile, nationally and internationally, with a number of tours and recordings; in recognition of this success, his contract has been extended until 2022. He is principal guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and has held that same post at the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne, a position created for him in 2013. Mr. Gaffigan is in demand with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia. The 2016-17 season included appearances with the Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Detroit, Sydney, Bournemouth, Netherlands Radio, and BBC symphony orchestras; Oslo, Seoul, and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras; and The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre national de France, and Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. In addition to the New York Philharmonic, upcoming engagements include concerts with the WDR Radio Symphony Orchestra and an Asian tour with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Opera engagements include house debuts with Chicago Lyric Opera and Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Gaffigan will also return to the Bavarian Staatsoper and San Francisco Opera, and makes debuts with Dutch National Opera and The Metropolitan Opera. Recent engagements have included guest appearances with the London, Dresden, Munich, Czech, and Rotterdam philharmonic orchestras; Vienna, Gothenburg, Tokyo Metropolitan, City of Birmingham, MDR Leipzig Radio, Berlin Radio, and Stuttgart Radio symphony orchestras; and the Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Konzerthaus Berlin, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also worked for San Francisco Opera, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the St. Louis, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit, and National symphony orchestras, and appeared at the Vienna Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Festival, Hamburg Opera, and Opernhaus Zurich. James Gaffigan was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and part of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival. In 2009 he completed a three-year tenure as associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, in a position specially created for him by Michael Tilson Thomas. Prior to that appointment he was assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra, where he worked under music director Franz Welser Möst. He was named first prize winner of the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition. James Gaffigan previously appeared with the New York Philharmonic leading a March 2007 Young People's Concert and a December 2015 program that included the World Premiere of Andrew Norman's Split, for Piano and Orchestra, performed by Jeffrey Kahane and commissioned by the Philharmonic.

Photo by Chris Lee

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