Future NY Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden To Lead New York Premiere

Mike Lawson • News • October 18, 2016

Jaap van Zwedenwill become music director of the New York Philharmonic beginning in the 2018–19 season, after serving as music director designate in 2017–18 — will make his first appearances with the Philharmonic since his appointment was announced, Thursday, November 17; Friday, November 18; and Saturday, November 19. He will lead the Orchestra in the New York Premiere of Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release (Concerto for Viola and Orchestra) — a Philharmonic co-commission with the League of American Orchestras — with principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, for whom the work was written, as soloist; Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4; and Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin.

“Returning to conduct the New York Philharmonic fills me with great joy.” Jaap van Zweden said. “This is a program in which I feel the combination of pieces works well. It responds to listeners’ curiosity through a great new piece played by the Philharmonic’s outstanding Principal Viola, and it also offers the world of Wagner sound and the virtuosity of Tchaikovsky. I think these should combine into a very balanced ‘musical dinner’ for the listener.”

The commission stems from the relationship established between Julia Adolphe and the Orchestra in June 2014, when the Philharmonic — in collaboration with the American Composers Orchestra’s program EarShot, the National Orchestra Composition Discovery Network — selected Ms. Adolphe as one of three emerging composers to have works premiered by the Philharmonic in the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL. Alan Gilbert led the Orchestra in the World Premiere of Julia Adolphe’s critically acclaimed Dark Sand, Sifting Light. In its review, The New York Times called Dark Sand, Sifting Light “a colorful, mercurial, deftly orchestrated piece.” Ms. Adolphe received the commission for the Viola Concerto in 2014 as part of the initiative engaging women composers supported by the League of American Orchestras and EarShot.

“Working with Cynthia Phelps is a dream come true, and her exquisite musicianship and generosity of spirit are truly inspiring,” Julia Adolphe said. “The concerto journeys through shifting relationships between the viola and the orchestra. The viola strives to find her voice, at first attempting (and failing) to take on the entire orchestra single-handedly, then hovering in a distant sonic landscape, and finally, nurturing a playful dialogue and loving relationship with her fellow instrumentalists. It is an honor to receive this commission.”

Cynthia Phelps said of Julia Adolphe: “I love how her imagination works, almost Zen-like and sparse, and the way she treats musical color seems always pertinent.”

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