LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER to Broadcast New York Philharmonic's Opening Gala Concert, 12/31; Audra McDonald to Host

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER to Broadcast New York Philharmonic's Opening Gala Concert, 12/31; Audra McDonald to Host

Live From Lincoln Center will ring in the new year with a special broadcast of the New York Philharmonic's Opening Gala concert from Avery Fisher Hall featuring Music Director Alan Gilbert and special guest cello soloist Yo-Yo Ma. The Opening Gala concert, to be taped on September 25, will feature dance-inspired orchestral works, including Azul by Osvaldo Golijov, a cello concert written for Ma; the world premiere of an arrangement of Astor Piazzolla's La serie del Ángel by Octavio Brunetti, commissioned by the New York Phliharmonic; and two classics by Maurice Ravel,Alborada del gracioso and Boléro. The broadcast-hosted by Audra McDonald and featuring interstitial interviews with Yo-Yo Ma and composer Osvaldo Golijov-will air on PBS stations on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 8 p.m. (ET) (check local listings).

Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is one of the oldest orchestras in the world. Since its inception, it has played a leading role in American musical life, reaching out to audiences with touring that began in 1882; recordings beginning in 1917; and radio broadcasts since 1922, now represented by The New York Philharmonic This Week, Syndicated nationally 52 weeks a year. The New York Philharmonic has appeared on Live From Lincoln Center more than 75 times.

Live From Lincoln Center is in its 39th broadcast season, and has received 13 Emmy Awards to date. Live From Lincoln Center, which celebrates the live performance experience, has made the world's greatest artists on Lincoln Center's renowned stages accessible to home viewers in virtually every corner of the United States. This episode is directed for television by Habib Azar. The executive producer is Andrew C. Wilk. Lincoln Center's Chief Media and Digital Officer, Elizabeth W. Scott, is executive in charge of the series' production.

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. "He is building a legacy that matters and is helping to change the template for what an American orchestra can be," The New York Times praised. 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 with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; 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. 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 a tour of Asia. Last season's highlights included Bach's B-minor Mass; Ives's Fourth Symphony; a European tour; and A Dancer's Dream, a multidisciplinary reimagining of Stravinsky ballets with Giants Are Small and New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns. Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies and the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at The Juilliard School, Mr. Gilbert is Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra, and he conducts leading orchestras around the world. His recordings have garnered two Grammy Awards, and his honors include an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music and Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award.

The multifaceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is a 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, with 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 age 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 Honor, 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.

Live From Lincoln Center is made possible by a major grant from MetLife.

Photo Credit: Chris Lee