Press Room

Alan Gilbert conducts Mahler 9 with Juilliard Orchestra

On the heels of enthusiastically received performances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Alan Gilbert is back in his hometown to lead the Juilliard Orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 9.  The performance will take place on Friday, April 15 at 8pm in Avery Fisher Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic, where Gilbert is in his second season as Music Director. Gilbert closes out the month back on the podium with the New York Philharmonic, leading the orchestra in a program that presents Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Messiaen’s Couleurs de la cité céleste with Emanuel Ax (April 28-30). 
Gilbert, an alumnus of Juilliard, led the Juilliard Orchestra last April in a wide-ranging program at Alice Tully Hall, with music by Mozart, Beethoven, Schoenberg, and Ligeti.  Gilbert conducted and recorded Mahler’s valedictory Symphony No. 9 in his final concerts as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in June 2008.  Gramophone named the album, released on the BIS label, an Editor’s Choice selection, noting, “This must, I think, be the finest recording the work has received.  … It is as exhausting and purifying an experience as any 80 minutes spent in your listening room has the right to be.”  Gilbert’s performance of the work with the Juilliard Orchestra will take place at Avery Fisher Hall.  He was recently appointed Juilliard’s Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies, beginning in fall 2011, and is the first holder of Juilliard’s William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies, appointed in 2009.
Asked how he prepares a young group of musicians for the emotional and musical demands presented by Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Gilbert commented:
“We’ve made a yearlong project out of this concert.  I led rehearsals in the fall, and many people have been contributing to the process.  Musicians from the Philharmonic have been participating in sectional work with the students, and the New York Philharmonic’s Assistant Conductor, Daniel Boico, has done preparatory work. I’ve encouraged the students to study Mahler and learn about his life, about his philosophical and psychological condition.  This is a symphony that is all about life, both its ups and downs, and the more one understands of Mahler’s experience, the more one can bring to the piece.”
Gilbert’s recent performances with the Berlin Philharmonic – in a program covering Berg’s Seven Early Songs with mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major (K. 482) with pianist Emanuel Ax, and Stravinsky’s complete Firebird ballet – marked his third time thus far with the storied orchestra.  He made an unscheduled debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2006 with a program of Schumann and Brahms symphonies, substituting for an ailing Bernard Haitink, and returned to work with the orchestra again in 2009, conducting works by Dvorák and Martinu. Critics and audiences alike have responded enthusiastically to the chemistry of Gilbert and the BPO.  Following the third of their three recent performances, even after the orchestra had left the stage the audience continued to applaud, forcing Gilbert to take a solo bow. The concert is now available for streaming at the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall:
Critical Acclaim for Alan Gilbert and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
“Pianist Emanuel Ax and conductor Alan Gilbert, head of the New York Philharmonic, are a perfect team… Under Gilbert’s brilliant direction, [Ax] produces an interpretation of Mozart that’s full of liveliness, elegance and sensitive power. After the final chord [of Stravinsky’s Firebird], the Philharmonie [Hall] seemed near to bursting with admiration.”
– Klaus Geitel, Berliner Morgenpost
“Like the plowing of the soil after winter, Gilbert molds the beginning of Stravinsky’s Firebird out of the nothingness as though it were Mahler’s Third. The conductor of the New York Philharmonic deftly delivers the energy required to prevent the updraft from stalling.”
– Ulrich Amling, Der Tagesspiegel
“Gilbert finds a wealth of nuances, sonorous dimensions that light the way far into romanticism – something entirely appropriate in this piano concerto. He has a true feel for the discreet, refined nature of Mozart’s instrumentation here…. [Stravinsky’s Firebird] had substance and tension from the very first note. Gilbert exaggerated nothing, instead demonstrating that all effects have their meaning and place. Seldom has the score been heard with such substance, seriousness and class.”
– Andreas Göbel, Kulturradio
Alan Gilbert: upcoming engagements
April 11
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
New York Philharmonic
Special guest:  Itzhak Perlman, violin
Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Schubert, Kreisler, and music from the movies
One night only for the benefit of the Philharmonic Pension Fund
April 15
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
Juilliard Orchestra
Mahler: Symphony No. 9
April 27
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
New York Philharmonic
Mahler: Symphony No. 5 (Rush Hour Concert)
April 28-30
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
New York Philharmonic
Debussy : Estampes, for solo piano (Emanuel Ax, piano)
Messiaen: Couleurs de la cité céleste (with Emanuel Ax, piano)
Mahler: Symphony No. 5
May 4, 6, & 7
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
New York Philharmonic
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2 (with Lisa Batiashvili, violin)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”
May 5
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
New York Philharmonic: Carnegie Hall’s 120th Anniversary Concert
   Dvořák: Carnival Overture
   Beethoven: “Triple” Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C major
      (with Gil Shaham, violin; Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Emanuel Ax, piano)
   Ellington: Songs (with Audra McDonald, soprano)
   Gershwin: An American in Paris
May 12-24
Spring 2011 European tour with the New York Philharmonic
   Basel, Switzerland (May 12)
   Baden-Baden, Germany (May 13)
   Munich, Germany (May 14)
   Vienna, Austria (May 15 & 17)
   Budapest, Hungary (May 18)
   Berlin, Germany (May 19)
   Dresden, Germany (May 21 & 22)
   Leipzig, Germany (May 23)
   Prague, Czech Republic (May 24)
May 30
New York, NY
Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
New York Philharmonic
Free Annual Memorial Day Concert
Barber: Adagio for Strings
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”
June 2-4
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
New York Philharmonic
Beethoven: Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 2 in F major
Sebastian Currier: Time Machines (world premiere, with Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin)
Bruckner: Symphony No. 2
June 22-25
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
New York Philharmonic
Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen
Fully-staged production directed and designed by Doug Fitch
Follow Alan Gilbert on Facebook
Follow Alan Gilbert on Twitter

Return to Press Room