The New York Philharmonic’s 2016 Holiday Season

Mike Lawson • ChoralNews • October 31, 2016

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:Philip Smith leading the NY Philharmonic  Brass and Percussion at the 2014  Holiday Brass concert   Photo: Jennifer TaylorThe New York Philharmonic’s 2016 holiday season presents classical and seasonal favorites, the return of a former Philharmonic Principal musician, and a milestone for Music Director Alan Gilbert in his farewell season.

This schedule includes Handel’s Messiah conducted by Alan Gilbert, his first time leading the work as Philharmonic Music Director; the 21st annual Holiday Brass concert, featuring the New York Philharmonic Brass and Percussion, with former Principal Trumpet Philip Smith as conductor, host, and trumpet; and New Year’s Eve, led by Alan Gilbert and featuring mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in an evening of American classics, including works by Rodgers & Hammerstein. The New Year’s Eve concert will be telecast live nationally on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS stations.

  • December 13–15 and 17, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.; December 16, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. — Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s celebrated and celebratory oratorio returns, conducted by Alan Gilbert, his first time leading the work as Philharmonic Music Director, and sung by soprano Christina Landshamer in her Philharmonic debut, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, tenor Matthew Polenzani, and bass-baritone John Relyea, as well as the Concert Chorale of New York, James Bagwell, director.

  • December 18, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. — Holiday Brass

The 21st annual Holiday Brass concert features Christmas and Chanukah favorites from the Baroque to contemporary performed by the New York Philharmonic Brass and Percussion with former Principal Trumpet Philip Smith — who helped introduce this annual event in 1995 — as conductor, host, and trumpet.

  • December 31, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. — New Year’s Eve

Music Director Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve celebration, this year featuring mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in an evening of American classics, including music by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, and Copland. The concert will be telecast live nationally on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS stations.

HANDEL’S MESSIAH (December 13–17, 2016)
As Music Director of the New York Philharmonic since 2009, Alan Gilbert has introduced the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, and Artist-in-Association; CONTACT!, the new-music series; the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music; and the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, partnerships with cultural institutions to offer training of pre-professional musicians, often alongside performance residencies. The Financial Times called him “the imaginative maestro-impresario in residence.”

Alan Gilbert concludes his final season as Music Director with four programs that reflect themes, works, and musicians that hold particular meaning for him, including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony alongside Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, Wagner’s complete Das Rheingold in concert, and an exploration of how music can effect positive change in the world. Other highlights include three World Premieres, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, and Manhattan, performed live to film. He also leads the Orchestra on the EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour and in performance residencies in Shanghai and Santa Barbara. Past highlights include acclaimed stagings of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson (2015 Emmy nomination), and Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake starring Marion Cotillard; 28 World Premieres; a tribute to Boulez and Stucky during the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL; The Nielsen Project; the Verdi Requiem and Bach’s B-minor Mass; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey, performed live to film; Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony on the tenth anniversary of 9/11; performing violin in Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time; and ten tours around the world.

Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and former principal guest conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, Alan Gilbert regularly conducts leading orchestras around the world. This season he returns to the foremost European orchestras, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. He will record Beethoven’s complete piano concertos with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Inon Barnatan, and conduct Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, his first time leading a staged opera there. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams’s Doctor Atomic in 2008, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award, and he conducted Messiaen’s Des Canyons aux étoiles on a recent album recorded live at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, where he holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. His honors include Honorary Doctor of Music degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music (2010) and Westminster Choir College (2016), Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award (2011), election to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2014), a Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy (2015), Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2015), and New York University’s Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City (2016).

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