New York Philharmonic Announces New Season's Schedule

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 06:00 AM

The New York Philharmonic announced its upcoming 2012-13 season during a live Webcast from The Greene Space at WQXR Wednesday morning hosted by music director Alan Gilbert, who said the goal of the programming was to be passionate, tell a story and illuminate the pieces.

"We want every evening to feel like an event," Gilbert said, sitting next to retiring executive director Zarin Mehta, who be succeeded by Matthew VanBesien in September.

The season includes several world and U.S. premieres, a new composer- and artist-in-residence, a jazz-influenced program, the complete symphonies and concertos of Brahms, a Bach festival and even some puppets.

Gilbert opens the Philharmonic’s next season with works by György Kurtág, Beethoven and Stravinsky (Sept. 19-22). Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes begins the evening with Kurtág’s … quasi una fantasia …, a 1988 spatial work for piano and smaller ensemble, which he follows with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Rounding out the program is Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. This will be Gilbert’s first time leading the orchestra is this ballet score.

The Opening Gala — oddly following the season-opening subscription concerts — features Itzhak Perlman performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto on Sept. 27.

Joining Gilbert to highlight the upcoming season on Wednesday was Edward Yim, artistic administrator for the Philharmonic. The two then introduced Christopher Rouse, who will begin a two-year Composer-in-Residence term; he is the second composer to hold this title.

"The position of composer-in-residence has been a real crucial one," said Gilbert, noting the strong relationship built between the orchestra, audience and former composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg. "The residence part of this notion has been really important."

Rouse, known for his loud orchestrations, will present three works with the NY Phil this season: In June the reprise of Seeing for Piano and Orchestra, performed by Emanuel Ax, for whom it was written; Phantasmata (Feb. 21-22, 2013); and a world premiere and New York Philharmonic Commission in April 2013. Rouse will also advise on CONTACT!, the orchestra’s new-music series, which will take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Peter Norton Symphony Space in December.

Later, when asked if more "loud" works were on the way, Rouse coyly answered: "Can a leopard change his spots?"

Pianist Emanuel Ax will be the 2012-13 artist-in-residence. Ax is only the fourth musician to hold this title. He kicks off his residency with concertos by Bach and Schoenberg in October.

"This will be very special," said Ax, via Skype before rushing off to a rehearsal with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

"Bach is terrifying and exciting at the same time," Ax said, noting he's never played a Bach concerto before.

Other highlights include the complete symphonies and concertos as well as chamber works of Brahms performed throughout the season; and the world premiere of a song cycle by the Swedish composer Anders Hillborg, a New York Philharmonic co-commission with Carnegie Hall and performed by soprano Renée Fleming on April 26, 2013. Earlier that same month (April 17-20), Gilbert will lead a program that features three iconic American composers: Charles Ives' Fourth Symphony, Leonard Bernstein's Serenade and the Rouse commission.

Ives' Fourth Symphony, which the orchestra performed in May 2004, is "the first piece that I've consciously thought, 'let's do it again,'" said Gilbert. "It's one of the great 20th century masterpieces."

Notoriously difficult to conduct, Gilbert said it is a piece better told with two conductors and that's how it will be performed (conductor TBA).

Also in the spring of 2013 the New York Phil will present The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival (March 6-April 6, 2013), a collection of four programs each led by a different conductor: Gilbert, Masaaki Suzuki, Bernard Labadie and András Schiff. There will also be related events held in collaboration with the 92nd Street Y.

Unlike festivals in the past where there was only one conductor, having different conductors will allow each to put his own stamp on the composer's work, explained Yim.

"I've always said Bach is a composer that can withstand interpretation," added Gilbert.

Gilbert’s final four weeks of the season will feature a variety of programs, among them, “Gilbert’s Playlist,” intended to showcase many of the themes and ideas of the music director’s tenure, including a jazz-influenced program featuring trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’ Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3) with Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (May 30, 2013).

The season ends as it began — with Stravinsky. Following successful collaborations with director/designer Doug Fitch, he returns to bring Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka to life through live animation, video projection, puppets and dancers (June 27–29, 2013).

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Comments [3]

To Mr. Bernstein of Miami, Florida: Thank you very much. I'm very grateful to you for your response and synopsis. I wish you many excellent concerts now and in the future. However with Alan Gilbert's announcement that The Rite of Spring will be in the NY Philharmonic's upcoming season, I wonder if the most appropriate gesture I could make would be for me to wish you the good fortune to be present at a world premiere as historic, portentous - and notorious - as the one The Rite itself had?

Feb. 22 2012 01:23 PM
Les Bernstein from Miami, Florida

For Sisko24 or anyone else, Alan Gilbert, Zarin Mehta and the new Artistic Administrator --- whose name escaped me, sorry --- announced that the new Composer in Residence will be Christopher Rouse, who came up from the audience and discussed the works of his that the Orchestra will be performing. The new Artist in Residence will be Emmanuel Ax, who was interviewed (presumably via Skype) while he was soon to join a rehearsal with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr Ax said that he would be playing a concert that will include the Bach d minor Keyboard Concerto paired with the Schoenberg Piano Concerto, a program that Glenn Gould performed with the Orchestra in 1958. He will also play the Mozart Concerto K. 503 at another concert, the one that Schoenberg had in mind when he said that there was still good music to be written in C major. There will be a Bach festival, with Mr. Gilbert conducted the Mass in b Minor and guest conductors Suzuki and Labadie. The season will open with Mr. Gilbert conducting the Rite of Spring and a work I don't have in the notes I jotted down. Mr. Gilbert will conduct Petrouchka with puppets staged by the gentleman who staged Le Grand Macabre, who came onstage to discuss it. The Nielsen symphony cycle will continue with the Third Symphony and the Clarinet and Flute Concertos that Mr. Gilbert remarked he heard for the first time by listening to Bernstein's recorded performances with Mr. Drucker and Mr. Baker, respectively. Mr. Gilbert will conduct Ives Fourth Symphony with the customary second conductor. Also to be played will be Bernstein's "Serenade for Violin Solo, Strings and Percussion," and music by Stephen Stuckey. There will be a world premiere piece written for and sung by Renee' Fleming. The world tour will include vists to Istanbul, Vienna and Dresden, the latter to be the venue for "Kraft" at a Volkswagen factory which, as Mr. Mehta said, was used as a temporary concert hall after World War II. A question from the audience involved whether there was a specific audience for whom the upcoming season was crafted, to which Mr. Gilbert said no, there was no "agenda", the works selected were those ideas discussed between him and the administrator and that he and the orchestra really want to play the pieces on their own merits. He said the only final arbiter being the press and publicity departments' deadline to print a brochure. Another audience questioner asked about the renovation of Avery Fisher Hall, to which Mr. Mehta replied that it was being discussed by a committee involving the board of Lincoln Center. Maybe other posters will fill in the the gaps caused by my short-term memory.

Feb. 22 2012 12:47 PM

I tried to listen and watch the webcast and was foiled by technology at two different websites (WQXR's and the NY Phil's). Neither would load the webcast. Will someone kindly provide a synopsis of what was said/done at the NY Philharmonic's webcast announcement of their 2012-2013 season for me any other person who had this problem? I (we?) will be most appreciative. Thank you.

Feb. 22 2012 11:49 AM

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