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Alan Gilbert Returns to U.S. for La Jolla SummerFest (July 28 & 30) & Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (Aug 6–13)

(June 2023)— A native New Yorker, Grammy-winning conductor Alan Gilbert returns to the U.S. for two summer festival residencies. Besides playing violin alongside a world-class roster of chamber artists at both festivals, he leads the Opening Night concert and more at La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest (July 28 & 30) before heading to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival for the festival premiere of Ligeti’s Piano Concerto and a special performance of Messiaen’s monumental Des canyons aux étoiles… to mark its 50th anniversary season (Aug 6–13). These U.S. engagements follow a return to Japan, where, as Principal Guest Conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Gilbert kicks off the summer with works by Nielsen and others (July 14–20). Meanwhile he completes his fourth season as Chief Conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra with performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (July 1 & 2).

Opening Night and more at La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest

During Gilbert’s transformative eight-year tenure as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, he appointed Inon Barnatan, “one of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times), as inaugural Artist-in-Association. Barnatan remains one of his most trusted musical associates, and the two reunite in California this summer for two programs at La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, where the pianist is in his fifth season as Music Director.

In keeping with the theme of the 2023 festival, “The Great Unknown,” repertoire for the Opening Night concert, “Expect the Unexpected,” will not be announced in advance. However, patrons can look forward to Gilbert’s leading an all-star cast of musicians in a mixed chamber and orchestral program featuring a virtuosic showstopper, a lush symphony, an iconic piano concerto, and – as a dedicated and accomplished chamber musician himself – his own participation on violin (July 28).

Two days later, Gilbert showcases his versatility once again in “A Song to Remember,” which pairs Brahms’s Horn Trio in E-flat with Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. In the Brahms, Gilbert plays violin alongside Barnatan and Berlin Philharmonic principal horn Stefan Dohr, before conducting two-time Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, Tucker Award-winning tenor Paul Groves and the SummerFest Chamber Orchestra in Schoenberg’s chamber orchestral arrangement of Mahler’s great song cycle (July 30).

Epic Messiaen & more for Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s 50th anniversary season

Inspired by the landscape of southwestern Utah, Olivier Messiaen’s epic and otherworldly Des canyons aux étoiles… (“From the Canyons to the Stars…”) was written to mark the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. Eight years ago, as Artist-in-Residence of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Gilbert led an account of this orchestral masterpiece that was captured live for release by Entertainment One Music. Now, to celebrate the New Mexico festival’s 50th anniversary season, he reprises the twelve-movement, 90-minute work with a world-class quartet of instrumental soloists – Gilmore Artist Award-winning pianist Kirill Gerstein, horn player Dohr (as in La Jolla), Juilliard percussion chair Daniel Druckman and MET Orchestra principal percussionist Gregory Zuber – together with a 40-piece orchestra (Aug 13).

The performance crowns a weeklong residency at Santa Fe. The late György Ligeti would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year, and Gilbert conducts Gerstein and a 21-piece orchestra in the festival premiere of the great Hungarian modernist’s Piano Concerto (Aug 6 & 7), before playing violin in two chamber works by Mozart: the second “Prussian” string quartet and String Quintet in G-minor (Aug 9).

Nielsen and more with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony

Gilbert rounds out his summer with Japan’s Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, of which he is Principal Guest Conductor. An ardent and longtime champion of Carl Nielsen, his New York Philharmonic recording of the Danish composer’s Third Symphony was chosen as Gramophone’s favorite recorded version of the work. For his first upcoming program with the Japanese orchestra, Gilbert combines Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony and Helios Overture with Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, featuring (as in Santa Fe) Kirill Gerstein (July 14 & 15). Next, Gilbert conducts the orchestra in an all-Viennese evening of Mozart, Richard Strauss and Webern, with horn player Stefan Dohr (as at both U.S. festivals) as their concerto soloist (July 19 & 20).

Elijah with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra

Gilbert concludes his fourth season as Chief Conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Lübeck, where he and the NDR will be joined by vocal soloists Christina Landshamer, Sasha Cooke (as in La Jolla), Andrew Staples and Florian Boesch with the WDR Radio Choir and NDR Vocal Ensemble, for Mendelssohn’s beloved oratorio Elijah (July 1 & 2). Their performances will stream live at the orchestra’s website and app.

Click here for high-resolution photos.

Alan Gilbert: upcoming engagements
July 1 & 2
Lübeck, Germany
Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra

July 14 & 15
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
NIELSEN: Helios Overture
NIELSEN: Symphony No. 5
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Kirill Gerstein, piano)

July 19 & 20
Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
WEBERN: Im Sommerwind
MOZART: Horn Concerto No. 4 (with Stefan Dohr, horn)
R. STRAUSS: Eine Alpensinfonie

July 28 & 30
La Jolla, CA
La Jolla Music Society: SummerFest
July 28
Opening Night: “Expect the Unexpected”
SummerFest Chamber Orchestra and soloists
This program will not be announced in advance.
July 30
“A Song to Remember”
BRAHMS: Horn Trio in E-flat (with Stefan Dohr, horn; Inon Barnatan, piano)
MAHLER, arr. Schoenberg: Das Lied von der Erde

Aug 6–13
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Aug 6 & 7
LIGETI: Piano Concerto

Aug 9
MOZART:String Quartet in B-flat (“Prussian,” No. 2)
MOZART: String Quintet in G minor

Aug 13
MESSIAEN: Des canyons aux étoiles (“From the Canyons to the Stars”)

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© 21C Media Group, June 2023


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