Press Room

Alan Gilbert discusses European tour

Q:  Are you excited about heading back to Europe for another tour with the New York Philharmonic?
AG:  Of course!  I’m particularly excited to play with the orchestra in Hamburg.  It’s a city I’ve known very well, and for a long time, as I’ve performed there for years with the NDR Symphony Orchestra.  It will be beautiful to have the orchestra play in the Laeiszhalle, the elegant old hall there. Ljubljana is a really charming town.  Packing is always a drag and never seems to get easier!  But touring is always a special thing for an orchestra to do, and I’m glad we’re going to be playing in so many wonderful cities.
Q:  Your first concerts when you return to New York will feature Mendelssohn’s Elijah.  What made you decide to program this work?
AG:   Elijah has meant a lot to me personally over the years.  It is one of Mendelssohn’s greatest pieces because of the way this biblical story is expressed in music, how that music is connected with the text, and the way in which Mendelssohn uses language. It’s a great piece: a very dramatic and a vivid telling of the story.  Some of today’s great storytellers are singing in these performances, which use the English translation on which Mendelssohn himself collaborated.  Gerald Finley, who will sing Elijah, is someone I worked with very closely in completely different music — John Adams’s opera, Doctor Atomic. His way with language, his beautiful voice, and the way he puts words across are powerful and unique. 
Q:  Speaking of John Adams, in between the second and third Elijah you’ll be doing a concert at Carnegie Hall that features Harmonielehre, one of his landmark orchestral works.
AG:  It’s such a fantastic piece.  The rehearsal for Harmonielehre went so well.  It was just a first reading, but it already had shape and flare and precision.  It’s a really difficult piece for the orchestra, but from what I’ve already heard in the rehearsal I’m confident the orchestra is going to give it a very powerful performance.
Q:  CONTACT!, the orchestra’s new-music series, returns for its second season this fall, with two programs in November and December.  Are you happy with how the series was received last year?
AG:  The reaction to our CONTACT! series has definitely exceeded our expectations and I believe the momentum we’ve generated will carry into this year.  This series really underscores the fact that this orchestra has an extraordinary ability to play the most challenging music.  It’s no exaggeration to say that they can really play anything.  The November concerts will feature the world premiere of another New York Philharmonic commission by Magnus Lindberg, who is continuing as our Composer-in-Residence.  The new piece is called Souvenir, and he’s written it as a tribute to his teacher Gérard Grisey.  Grisey’s own Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil is the other work on the program.  I’m excited that Barbara Hannigan will be singing the Grisey work with us:  she was the Gepopo in our performance of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre last season and she was fabulous. 
Q:  You’ll be teaming up soon with another person who worked with you on Le Grand Macabre: designer/director Doug Fitch.
That’s right.  In Paris in late November, Doug will be doing a visual component to my performances with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France of Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande, and I’m very excited about that.   And of course I’m already looking forward to another big project with Doug in New York next spring, when we’ll do Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen with the New York Philharmonic. After the wonderful success we had with Le Grand Macabre, I’m sure everyone will be excited to see what he has come up with for this magical score by Janácek.

Alan Gilbert:  upcoming fall engagements 

Oct 24 – Nov 4
“Europe / Autumn 2010”: European tour with the New York Philharmonic
            Belgrade, Republic of Serbia (10/24)
            Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia (10/26)
            Warsaw, Poland (10/28)
            Warsaw, Poland (10/29)           
            Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania (10/30)
            Hamburg, Germany (11/1)
            Paris, France (11/2)
            Luxembourg, Luxembourg (11/3)
            Luxembourg, Luxembourg (11/4)
Nov 10, 11, 13
Mendelssohn: Elijah  
With Carolyn Sampson, soprano; Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano; Allan Clayton, tenor; Gerald Finley, bass-baritone; New York Choral Artists / Joseph Flummerfelt, director
Nov 12
New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall
Beethoven: Violin Concerto (with Midori, violin)
John Adams: Harmonielehre 
Nov 19
CONTACT! (the New York Philharmonic’s new-music series at Symphony Space, NYC)
Magnus Lindberg: Souvenir (in memoriam Gérard Grisey) (world premiere)
Gérard Grisey: Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (with Barbara Hannigan, soprano)
Nov 20
CONTACT! (the New York Philharmonic’s new-music series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art , NYC)
Magnus Lindberg: new work
Gérard Grisey: Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (with Barbara Hannigan, soprano)
Nov 26-27
Paris, France; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
School concert, Nov 26 
  Schoenberg: Pelleas und Melisande
Family Concert, Nov 27, matinee 
  Schoenberg: Pelleas und Melisande
Concert, Nov 27, evening 
  Zemlinsky: Sechs Gesänge After Poems by Maurice Maeterlinck, Op. 13      
  (with Yvonne Naef, contralto)  
  Schoenberg: Pelleas und Melisande
Dec 9-10, 12
NDR Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg
Hamburg, Germany (Dec 9)
Lübeck, Germany (Dec 10)
Hamburg, Germany (Dec 12)  
  Mahler: Symphony No. 6
Dec 17
CONTACT!, the New York Philharmonic’s new-music series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC)
Julian Anderson: The Comedy of Change (U.S. premiere)
James Matheson: New work (world premiere)
Jay Alan Yim: New work (world premiere) 
Dec 18
CONTACT!, the New York Philharmonic’s new-music series at Symphony Space (NYC)
Julian Anderson: The Comedy of Change (U.S. premiere)
James Matheson: New work (world premiere)
Jay Alan Yim: new work (world premiere)
Dec 28-30
Vivaldi: Concerto for Four Violins, Op. 3, No. 10
Aaron Jay Kernis: a Voice, a Messenger (world premiere, New York Philharmonic commission)
Hindemith: Horn Concerto
Christopher Rouse: Oboe Concerto (New York premiere)
Ravel: Boléro
Dec 31
Tchaikovsky: “Polonaise” from Eugene Onegin
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Lang Lang, piano)
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Act II
(broadcast on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS stations)

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