Alan Gilbert believes that conducting an orchestra is a process of “letting go together.” When the energy between a conductor and an orchestra is right, he says, it’s almost impossible to tell who’s leading who. After eight seasons at the helm of the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert is ready to step down.
In his wake, he leaves a formidable legacy of experimentation that expanded not just what an orchestra can and will do, but who it’s for. Gilbert and Davis sat down in his office to talk about what he means by serving a community, the moments in performance he lives for, and how maybe he could've benefited from throwing tantrums and showing his stress more.
“You have to set something motion that is so inevitable that it goes that way and you don’t have to continue to do anything in order for it to go that way, because that is the only possible way it could go. And then you just follow. But what you’re doing is that you’re following something that you created. You’ve set it in motion and it’s exactly what you want but you don’t have to look as if you’re making it happen as it happens.” —Alan Gilbert on successful conducting