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New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009, and is the first native New Yorker to be appointed to that post. He simultaneously maintains a major international presence, making regular guest appearances with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Gilbert is Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, where he served as Music Director for eight years, and was Principal Guest Conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra (formerly known as NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg) for more than a decade. He has led operatic productions for the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Zurich Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, where he served as the first appointed Music Director and conducted repertoire including Carmen, Eugene Onegin, Falstaff, and Peter Grimes among other works. In August 2015 he led the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the U.S. stage premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, a special co-production of the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center.

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New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009, and is the first native New Yorker to be appointed to that post. He simultaneously maintains a major international presence, making regular guest appearances with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Gilbert is Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, where he served as Music Director for eight years, and was Principal Guest Conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra (formerly known as NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg) for more than a decade. He has led operatic productions for the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Zurich Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, where he served as the first appointed Music Director and conducted repertoire including CarmenEugene Onegin, Falstaff, and Peter Grimes among other works. In August 2015 he led the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the U.S. stage premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, a special co-production of the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center.

At the New York Philharmonic, Gilbert has widened the artistic reach of the 174-year-old institution. He initiated annual residencies for composers (with Magnus Lindberg the first appointment, and Esa-Pekka Salonen this season) and leading performing artists (this season, bass-baritone Eric Owens and pianist Inon Barnatan). Staged productions of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Janácek's Cunning Little Vixen, Stravinsky's Petrushka and Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake have been presented to critical acclaim and capacity audiences. Gilbert also encouraged the development of two series devoted to contemporary music: CONTACT!, introduced in 2009, and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers, which was inaugurated in 2014 and returns in 2016.

Among Gilbert’s highlights this season with the New York Philharmonic are performances of Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben to welcome newly appointed Concertmaster Frank Huang; Carnegie Hall’s opening night gala; world premieres by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Magnus Lindberg, Franck Krawczyk, William Bolcolm, and Marc Neikrug; Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde; works by Sibelius to celebrate his 150th anniversary; music by Wagner, featuring Eric Owens; and an all-Mozart program including the Gran Partita. Gilbert also co-curates the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL, during which he will conduct the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Trombone Concerto, the Salonen premiere, and a work by Per Nørgård. Gilbert also swaps his baton for a violin, joining the Philharmonic’s Artist-in-Association pianist Inon Barnatan, Principal Cello Carter Brey and Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill for Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time as part of the orchestra’s “Messiaen Week.”

This season, Gilbert makes debuts with four great European orchestras: Milan’s La Scala, Staatskapelle Dresden, London Symphony, and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; he also returns to podiums in Hamburg (NDR Symphony, where he has been Principal Guest Conductor for more than a decade), Tokyo (Metropolitan SO), Paris (Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France), Leipzig (Gewandhausorchester), and Cleveland. The LSO and Cleveland Orchestra programs include works by Carl Nielsen, a composer Gilbert has championed ardently. Last season’s release of Nielsen’s three concertos (for violin, flute and clarinet respectively) completed Gilbert’s “Nielsen Project” with the New York Philharmonic: four albums representing the complete symphonies and concertos on Denmark’s Dacapo label that celebrated the Dane’s 150th birthday. A Gramophone survey of best recordings of Nielsen’s Third Symphony named Gilbert/NY Phil’s as its top choice.

In September 2011 Alan Gilbert became Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at the Juilliard School, where he is also the first holder of Juilliard’s William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008, leading a production of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic that, when released on DVD, went on to win a Grammy Award. Gilbert also conducts on Renée Fleming’s Grammy Award-winning Decca release, Poèmes, and was nominated for the 2015 Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction in PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center broadcast of the New York Philharmonic’s celebrated staging of Sweeney Todd. He received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2010, and Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award, which recognizes his “exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music,” the following year. Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2014, he has now also been named an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He gave the 2015 lecture for London’s Royal Philharmonic Society, speaking on “Orchestras in the 21st Century – a new paradigm,” and received a 2015 Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy.

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Reviews

"Alan Gilbert has made an indelible mark on the orchestra’s history and that of the city itself"

Russell Platt, The New Yorker

"Alan Gilbert’s second concert with the LSO this debut week opened with a spacious and clearly routed account of Sibelius’s En Saga (the familiar revised version from 1902), full of atmosphere and well-incremented power until the cymbal clash that halts progress and cues a melancholy clarinet solo, played here with the utmost tenderness by Andrew Marriner, his contribution matched by subtle halos of sound for a spellbinding envoi. Having launched the work with unanimity, the baton-less Gilbert presided over a tension-filled, vivid and enchanted account that sported a wide dynamic range, of music that is not specifically programmatic but more a private self-portrait that feeds the imagination. Daniil Trifonov lifted the lid off Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto (1913/24), the greatest example of his Five. Music that is earthy and ecstatic, it starts simply but there are always satanic undercurrents, and in the sensational first-movement cadenza – from benediction to volcano – Trifonov made sure the lava flowed and that craziness was unconfined. Throughout, the LSO and Gilbert offered a smart and secure accompaniment, complementary and colourful, the second-movement ‘Scherzo’ nifty and always articulate ... It’s good that Carl Nielsen’s music is still being played regularly following last year’s 150: his is music for all seasons. The combative if life-enhancing ‘Inextinguishable’ Symphony (completed in 1916) is indomitable. Gilbert is an unwavering champion of Nielsen’s Symphonies and Concertos. He ensured an explosive opening, emotions laid bare, and if the first movement’s contrasts were perhaps exaggerated in terms of tempo there was no doubting that it brought a heightened sense of conflict, momentarily relieved by the pastoral second movement that is scored mostly for woodwinds, and here played beguilingly. Plenty of strings for the intense sear of the next movement, which with hindsight echoes Mahler and anticipates Shostakovich and (arguably) does so with greater intrinsic persuasion – Nielsen's music really touches the listener’s feelings in a very special way. There was plenty of crackling apprehension to lead us into the timpani-fuelled Finale, the two sets as far back and as ‘stereo’ as it’s possible to be on the Barbican stage. This may have contributed to the drums being less antagonistic than usual, although bit by bit they became unlocked in volume and unified in their global threat, and anyway the fur had been flying at a high-octane tempo, Gilbert authoritative and the LSO hugely responsive. There was a particular glory to the concluding bars. Alan Gilbert seems to have hit the ground running in his first engagements with the LSO. There was a palpable positive connection that should ensure numerous return bookings. "

Colin Anderson, Classical Source

"The NYPO has made a magnificent choice. [Gilbert is] energising, contemporary, inclusive."

James Jolly, Gramophone Magazine

"Mr. Gilbert is excellent at revealing, without being didactic, the way the phrase-to-phrase layout of a composition fits into its larger structural arcs. His inquisitive mind lights on inner details, harmonic clashes and contrapuntal intricacies, and makes the music leap off the stage… His account of Bach’s Mass in B minor, utilizing the full resources of a modern orchestra, was lucid, sensitive and urgent. I have found his performances of Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner symphonies consistently involving and insightful. I learn something when he conducts this repertory… His Beethoven is insightful and strong. And by programming these and other staples alongside new and recent pieces, he presents them in revealing historical context… He is building a legacy that matters and is helping to change the template for what an American orchestra can be."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

"Alan Gilbert set out Friday to demonstrate with the Cleveland Orchestra that music from the Second Viennese School isn't all thorny and intellectual, and in that he certainly succeeded. And yet Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic and a former assistant conductor here, also managed, perhaps inadvertently, to do something else, something just as important: model a new, refreshing way forward for conductors of major orchestras. The myth that Schoenberg and his pupils had no musical heart Gilbert, conducting in Cleveland for the first time since his New York appointment, shot to smithereens. No one who experienced his vital, sweeping accounts Friday of Webern's 'Im Sommerwind' or Schoenberg's 'Pelleas und Melisande' can have left Severance Hall clinging to such a relic. Neither can anyone have failed to appreciate Gilbert's efforts before the Schoenberg, when he grabbed a microphone and offered a full ten minutes of commentary. Not dull, academic stuff, either, but rather live musical excerpts and key insights. Just the tools essential to a basic appreciation of the score. If only more conductors felt so at ease... Just as he kept listeners engaged, Gilbert also kept the orchestra on its toes, demanding lushness, delicacy and transparency throughout. The result was a scintillating performance of tremendous but never violent volatility, a gentle maelstrom of colors and emotions... Gilbert, even with his history here, was something of an eye-opener, and now we can say for certain we want more."

Zachary Lewis, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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Discography