Press Room

Alan Gilbert’s Bernstein concerts

Following his triumphant debut at the Metropolitan Opera, leading the company in John Adams’s Doctor Atomic (the first Met production of an opera by the acclaimed American composer), Alan Gilbert,
the Music Director Designate of the New York Philharmonic, joins the
citywide celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s legacy and singular
contribution to New York’s cultural life, with two special concerts.

The first concert takes place at Carnegie Hall on Friday, November 14, when Gilbert will lead the New York Philharmonic in an all-Bernstein program featuring On The Waterfront Symphonic Suite, Serenade, and West Side Story
Suites Nos. 1 and 2. The performance marks the 65th anniversary of
Bernstein’s historic debut there with the orchestra and is part of a
citywide festival, Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds,
which the Philharmonic is presenting in collaboration with Carnegie
Hall to honor the legendary composer/conductor’s 50th anniversary as
Music Director and his 90th birthday year.

Soon after, Gilbert will lead the Juilliard Orchestra in another Philharmonic Bernstein festival presentation, this time at Avery Fisher Hall. Their concert on November 24 will feature two Third Symphonies: Bernstein’s “Kaddish” and Beethoven’s “Eroica”.

Alan Gilbert comments:

It’s really exciting to perform Bernstein’s music, especially during
this occasion that is resonant with historical meaning. The Carnegie
program showcases compositions from the three areas that Bernstein
worked in as a composer: film, serious music, and Broadway. No other
orchestra has as natural a way with Lenny’s music as the New York

Later in the season,
Gilbert will re-unite with the Philharmonic for two subscription weeks.
The first, April 30 – May 5, will feature Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto
No. 3, with soloist Joshua Bell, alongside Dvorák’s The Golden Spinning Wheel and Martinu’s Symphony No. 4. The three concerts from May 7-9 will feature the world premiere of Peter Lieberson’s The World in Flower,
a New York Philharmonic commission, to be sung by mezzo-soprano Joyce
DiDonato, baritone Russell Braun, and the New York Choral Artists.

Alan Gilbert made his debut with the New York Philharmonic in 2001 as
the Diamond American Conductor, and has returned to conduct the
orchestra numerous times, including during the acclaimed Philharmonic
Festival, Charles Ives: An American Original in Context, in
2004. This past summer, he made his debut with the orchestra in
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Manhattan’s Central Park, where he and the
Philharmonic drew an estimated crowd of more than 63,000 people to the
Great Lawn. When the Manhattan-born conductor begins his tenure as
Music Director of the orchestra next season, he will be one of the
youngest ever to hold the post as well as the only native New Yorker to
be so honored.

Other Fall Highlights

John Adams and Doctor Atomic

On Saturday, November 8, Gilbert will conduct the first of his two remaining performances with the Metropolitan Opera of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic. This performance will be part of the Met’s Emmy award-winning series of “Live in HD”
broadcasts to movie theaters. Gilbert’s performances of the opera have
been enthusiastically and widely acclaimed. Anthony Tommasini wrote in
the New York Times, “The big news may be the work of the
conductor Alan Gilbert, in his overdue Met debut. The performance he
draws from the Met orchestra and chorus is a revelation.” In New York,
Justin Davidson called the opening night performance, “spectacularly
conducted,” noting, “Gilbert has a gift for seeing the lucid core in
mountains of complex detail, and he reveals a score of microscopic
clarity and panoramic sweep.” Appropriately, Gilbert will present a
2008 Opera News Award to Adams at a gala event at New York’s Plaza
Hotel on November 16 (further information is available at

A new all-Rouse recording for BIS

On October 28, the BIS label issued the first of two recordings of music by Christopher Rouse (b. 1949) featuring Alan Gilbert conducting the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The program comprises Rouse’s Iscariot for chamber orchestra (described by the composer as his most privately autobiographical piece), the Clarinet Concerto – the frenetic atmosphere of which was inspired in part by 1950s game shows – with soloist Martin Fröst, and the powerful First Symphony.
The last of these works is a somber and introspective score, inspired
by the 19th-century concept of heroism – and its subsequent dismantling
in the 20th. Those familiar with Bruckner’s music will note Rouse’s use
of a motif from the adagio of the Austrian composer’s Symphony No. 7, a
work in which Bruckner paid special tribute to his own hero, Richard

Alan Gilbert calls Rouses’s music, “deeply
heartfelt and absolutely sincere,” noting, “This recording is a strong
representation of important music by this composer, especially his work
as a symphonist. BIS does terrific work and I’m very happy with the
sound quality on this release.”

After hearing the new disc, Christopher Rouse sent this note to his colleagues at BIS:

I’ve just had a chance to listen to the new CD, and I’m very much
overwhelmed. The sound is gorgeous, and Alan’s interpretations are so
on the mark and so full of musical understanding that I can only
marvel. Thank you all so much for making this happen! If there’s one
piece whose performance I’m especially grateful for, it’s the Clarinet
Concerto. Alan and the RSPO have found the music in the piece, and Mr.
Fröst’s performance is beyond superhuman! (I hope you will forward my
profoundest thanks to him.) It’s still a work of musical lunacy, but
Messrs. Gilbert and Fröst have played it the way I meant it to be
played. I can’t thank you all enough!

has already given the album its highest rating, 10/10 for Artistic
Quality/Sound Quality, calling the First Symphony “wholly gripping” and
giving the BIS engineers special credit for capturing “the work’s
volcanic climaxes with aplomb.”

Alan Gilbert was Chief
Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic
Orchestra from January 2000 through June 2008, after which he was named
Conductor Laureate of the orchestra. The final program of his tenure
with the RSPO featured Mahler’s valedictory Ninth Symphony, which
Gilbert also recorded with the orchestra for release later this season
on BIS.

Other fall engagements

Alan Gilbert will round out his fall season with performances in the U.S. and Europe. On December 5 and 6 he will lead an all-Tchaikovsky program with the Cincinnati Symphony. Later in the month he heads to Germany for performances with Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, where he has been principal guest conductor since 2004.

A list of concert dates and programs for Alan Gilbert follows.

Alan Gilbert: 2008-09 season engagements

November 8 (Live in HD webcast) and November 13
Last two of nine performances of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic at the Metropolitan Opera

November 14 (New York, NY)
New York Philharmonic concert at Carnegie Hall
All-Bernstein program: On The Waterfront Symphonic Suite, Serenade, and West Side Story Suites Nos. 1 and 2

November 24 (New York, NY)
Juilliard Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, presented by the New York Philharmonic
Bernstein: Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish”; Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”
Jennifer Zetlan, soprano; Samuel Pisar, speaker
Oratorio Society of New York; Kent Tritle, director
Young People’s Chorus of New York City; Francisco Núñez, director

December 5 and 6 (Cincinnati, OH)
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations (with Johannes Moser) and Manfred Symphony

December 21 and 22 (Hamburg, Germany)
NDR Symphony Orchestra
Bach-Stokowski: Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Tchaikovsky: Violin
Concerto (with Janine Jansen); Bach-Elgar: Fantasia and Fugue in C
minor; Elgar: “Enigma” Variations

January 8 and 9 (Amsterdam, Holland)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Brahms: Violin Concerto (with Leonidas Kavakos); Schubert: Rosamunde Overture; Schumann: Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish”

January 15 and 17 (Stockholm, Sweden)
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Mahler: Symphony No. 3

January 29, 30, 31, and February 3 (Hamburg [1/29 and 30], Bremen [1/31], and Kiel [2/3], Germany)
NDR Symphony Orchestra – Hamburg
Mahler: Symphony No. 3

March 5, 6, 7, and 10 (Boston/MA)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Sibelius: Night Ride and Sunrise; Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (with Stephen Hough); Ives: Symphony No. 4

March 18, 19, 20, and 21 (Vienna, Austria)
Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture; Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2 (with Heinrich Schiff); Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

March 27-29 (Hamburg [3/27 and 29] and Kiel [3/28], Germany)
NDR Symphony Orchestra – Hamburg
Maurice Ravel: Daphnis and Chloé, Suites 1 and 2; Debussy: Three Nocturnes
Program includes Messiaen: Poèmes pour Mi (3/27 and 3/29) and Haydn: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in C major (with Roland Greutter – 3/28)

April 18 and 19 (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Dvorák: Cello Concerto (with Steven Isserlis); Martinu: Symphony No. 4

April 30, May 1, 2, and 5 (New York, NY)
New York Philharmonic
Dvorák: The Golden Spinning Wheel; Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3 (with Joshua Bell); Martinu: Symphony No. 4

May 7-9 (New York, NY)
New York Philharmonic
Lieberson: The World in Flower (world
premiere and New York Philharmonic commission with Joyce DiDonato,
mezzo-soprano; Russell Braun, baritone; and the New York Choral
Artists); Mahler: Symphony No. 1

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