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NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Alan Gilbert Leads Orchestra’s 75th-Anniversary Celebrations Live in Hamburg (Oct 30 & Nov 1)

Alan Gilbert (photo: Peter Hundert, NDR)

Last month, Alan Gilbert scored “a true home run” (Klassik Begeistert) in the concerts that launched his second season as Chief Conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. Next he looks forward to leading two programs featuring Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, to celebrate the orchestra’s 75th anniversary this year. Scheduled to stream live, free of charge, to home audiences worldwide, the first program recreates the NDR’s very first concert, which took place on the same date 75 years earlier (Oct 30), while the second showcases the world premiere of a major new NDR co-commission (Nov 1). Each only an hour in length, and performed with appropriate safety measures, these programs bookend the next installment of Gilbert’s “Conductors Talk” streaming series, for which he will be joined via Zoom on Facebook Live by Thomas Morris and Christoph von Dohnányi (Oct 31). Click here to see a video trailer for the NDR’s 75th-anniversary celebrations.

When it comes to Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, Gilbert has long proven himself to be a master. During his eight seasons as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, he led a “hypercharged” performance of the Russian composer’s Fourth Symphony at the orchestra’s “blistering Disney Hall debut” (Los Angeles Times) and a “magisterial account” of his Fifth that “culminated in breathless, exuberant playing of the symphony’s thrilling final moments” (New York Times). In Hamburg, in a recreation of the NDR’s inaugural concert, Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony shares the program with Beethoven’s “Egmont” Overture and Brahms’s Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, with International Classical Music Award-winners Julia Fischer and Daniel Müller-Schott as soloists. The performance will stream live at the orchestra’s website and Gilbert’s Facebook page on October 30 at 8pm CET (3pm EDT).

Two days later, Gilbert couples Tchaikovsky’s symphony with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, featuring Frank Peter Zimmermann (Nov 1). It was with Zimmermann that Gilbert and the NDR recently recorded the Shostakovich violin concertos, scoring the conductor his fifth Grammy nomination and prompting BBC Music magazine to observe:

“These recordings stand out as formidable achievements. They match technical mastery at the highest level with profound insight. No less impressive is the compelling interaction between Zimmermann and the excellent NDR Elbphilharmonie under Alan Gilbert.”

This second program concludes with the world premiere performance of Time Flies (2019) by Mark-Anthony Turnage, the eminent English composer who celebrated his 60th birthday in June. Scored for large orchestra with a prominent part for soprano saxophone, Time Flies was commissioned by the NDR in collaboration with BBC Radio 3 and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, of which Gilbert is the Principal Guest Conductor. It was he who led the American premiere of Turnage’s earlier work Frieze, drawing a “kaleidoscopic performance” (New York Times) from the New York Philharmonic.

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These anniversary celebrations follow on the heels of Gilbert’s season-opening concerts with the NDR, for which they undertook a complete Brahms symphonic cycle. After the opening-night concert, Die Welt described their account of the composer’s Second Symphony:

“Gripping and colorful and plastic … in Gilbert’s reading Brahms’s symphony was awakened to full, almost tangible bloom. One could luxuriate in this beguiling hearing.”

Similarly, of the symphony’s conclusion, Klassik Begeistert observed:

“An energized and electrifying Alan Gilbert [drove] the orchestra triumphantly into the symphony’s majestic climax: a true home run! Huge applause and cries of bravo for the exhilarated musicians and their completely exhausted but deeply moved conductor.”

Click here for high-resolution photos.

Alan Gilbert: fall engagements

Oct 30

Hamburg, Germany

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra 

75th Anniversary

Beethoven: “Egmont” Overture

Brahms: Double Concerto for Violin and Cello (with Julia Fischer, violin; Daniel Müller-Schott, cello)

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5

To livestream performance, click here or here on Oct 30 at 8pm CET (3pm EDT).

Oct 31

“Conductors Talk” (Zoom series)

With Thomas Morris and Christoph von Dohnányi

To livestream talk, click here on Oct 31 at 7pm CET (2pm EDT).

Nov 1

Hamburg, Germany

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra

75th Anniversary

Mark-Anthony Turnage: Time Flies (world premiere)

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto (with Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin)

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5

Nov 5 & 8: Hamburg, Germany

Nov 6: Lübeck, Germany

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra

LUTOSŁAWSKI: Dance Preludes for clarinet, harp, flute and strings (with Martin Fröst, clarinet)

COPLAND: Clarinet Concerto

SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 7

All programs are subject to change.

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© 21C Media Group, October 2020


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