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Alan Gilbert And NYC Philharmonic Embark On European Tour, 5/12-5/24

Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, will lead the New York Philharmonic on the EUROPE/SPRING 2011 tour, May 12-24, 2011. The tour - the fourth with Mr. Gilbert as Music Director - will take the Orchestra to musical capitals of Central Europe, with eleven concerts in nine cities: Basel, Switzerland; Baden-Baden and Munich, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig, Germany; and Prague, Czech Republic. Although Mr. Gilbert has a long history conducting in Europe, and has taken the Orchestra on two previous European tours, this will be his first appearances in all nine cities as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.

Continuing the New York Philharmonic's multi-year focus on the rich legacy of former Music Director Gustav Mahler, Mr. Gilbert will conduct an all-Mahler program at Vienna's Musikverein on May 15, three days before the 100th anniversary of the great conductorcomposer's death. The 2010-11 season also marks the 100th anniversary of Mahler's final New York Philharmonic season and the 150th anniversary of his birth. The program includes two pillars of the orchestral repertoire: Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, featuring baritone Thomas Hampson - one of the great exponents of this work, and a decade-long champion of Mahler - and Mahler's Symphony No. 5, which will be performed five times throughout the tour. In addition to the May 15 performance in Vienna, Mr. Hampson will also appear in Basel, BadenBaden, Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig. Violinist Lisa Batiashvili will perform with the Orchestra in Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Dresden and Prague.

EUROPE/SPRING 2011 is the Orchestra's third tour of Europe under the leadership of Mr. Gilbert, following the acclaimed EUROPE/AUTUMN 2010 tour this past October and November, and the EUROPE/WINTER 2010 tour last February. EUROPE/SPRING 2011 also marks the seventh New York Philharmonic concert tour under the aegis of Credit Suisse, the Orchestra's Global Sponsor and the fourth in Europe.

"I am looking forward to showcasing the musicians' brilliant artistry in Central Europe where much of our tour repertoire - Beethoven, Bartók and Mahler - was composed," said Music Director Alan Gilbert. "Joining us on this tour is Lisa Batiashvili, a long-time friend of the Orchestra and one of my favorite musicians to perform with. She's an impeccable violinist but also so natural and so sincere in everything she touches. And Thomas Hampson's Kindertotenlieder is really unparalleled. I am very gratified that he will join us again in Europe - where he traveled with us last season when he was our Artist-in-Residence - especially following his extraordinary January performances of this Mahler song cycle in New York."

"The Philharmonic has a long history of performing in Europe, and returning to the birthplace of the symphonic tradition is always meaningful," said New York Philharmonic President and Executive Director Zarin Mehta. "Although the Orchestra has already visited Europe twice with Alan Gilbert, this tour offers an opportunity for new audiences to experience the palpable chemistry between the musicians and their Music Director that has already become a point of civic pride in New York and around the world."

In EUROPE/SPRING 2011, Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic will perform major symphonic works for audiences across Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, including Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica, and Mahler's Symphony No. 5. Thomas Hampson, who recently performEd Mahler's Kindertotenlieder in New York with Alan Gilbert, will also perform the work in Basel, Baden-Baden, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig. Lisa Batiashvili will perform Sibelius's Violin Concerto in Munich, Vienna and Dresden, as well as Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 2 in Budapest and Prague.

Performances of Mahler's works during EUROPE/SPRING 2011 tour reflect the Orchestra's deep ties to this composer, who led the Philharmonic 100 years ago. For more than a century, Gustav Mahler has been an important part of Philharmonic history. In 1909 he became the Orchestra's Conductor (a position now referred to as Music Director) - his only tenure as a director of a symphonic orchestra - allowing him to delve more deeply into the symphonic literature. During his brief time with the Philharmonic, the Orchestra's season expanded from 18 concerts to 54, musicians' salaries were guaranteed, and the scope of operations broadened - thus giving birth to the 20th-century orchestra. Suffering from throat trouble and a severe headache, Mahler conducted his final Philharmonic concert on February 21, 1911. He sailed for France on April 8 for a medical consultation, and then traveled to Vienna, where he died on May 18, 1911.

The EUROPE/SPRING 2011 tour will launch in Basel, Switzerland, on May 12 at the Stadtcasino Musiksaal, followed by two stops in southern Germany: first at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden on May 13, and then at the Gasteig in Munich on May 14. The Orchestra then travels to Vienna for two concerts at the Musikverein: on May 15 for the all-Mahler program with Thomas Hampson commemorating the composer and former Philharmonic Music Director Gustav Mahler, with a second concert on May 17. The Orchestra then travels to Budapest for a performance at the Palace of Arts (Béla Bartók National Concert Hall) on May 18, and returns to Germany for concerts in three more cities: Berlin's Philharmonie on May 19, Dresden's Semperoper on May 21-22 and Leipzig's Gewandhaus on May 23 as part of the International Mahler Festival 2011. The EUROPE / SPRING 2011 tour concludes with a concert in Prague's Municipal House (Smetana Hall) on May 24, as part of the Prague Spring International Music Festival.

EUROPE/SPRING 2011 marks the Orchestra's first appearances in all nine cities under the leadership of Alan Gilbert, now in his second season as Music Director. The Orchestra returns to Basel for the first time in 51 years, having last performed there in 1959 under the direction of then-Music Director Leonard Bernstein. The Philharmonic most recently performed in BadenBaden in 2008, Munich in 2005, Vienna and Budapest in 2007 and Berlin and Dresden in 2005, under the direction of then-Music Director Lorin Maazel; as well as Leipzig in 1993 and Prague in 2000 with then-Music Director Kurt Masur.

Visit nyphil.org for more information about these and other performances.

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