ALAN GILBERT: 2007-08 SEASON PREVIEW
MANHATTAN-BORN CONDUCTOR ALAN GILBERT, MUSIC DIRECTOR DESIGNATE OF THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC, LAUNCHES HIS FINAL SEASON WITH THE ROYAL STOCKHOLM PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA ON SEPTEMBER 12
GILBERT'S OPERA AND ORCHESTRA PERFORMANCES ON THREE CONTINENTS THIS SEASON INCLUDE HIS VIENNA STATE OPERA DEBUT AND RETURN ENGAGEMENTS WITH THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC, PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA, SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY, ORCHESTRE PHILHARMONIQUE DE RADIO FRANCE, TOKYO'S NHK SYMPHONY, AND ZURICH'S TONHALLE AND OPERA
AS PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR OF HAMBURG'S NDR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, GILBERT WILL CLOSE THIS YEAR'S SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN FESTIVAL, GIVE SUBSCRIPTION CONCERTS IN HAMBURG, LÜBECK, BREMEN AND KIEL, AND TOUR NDR TO COLOGNE, VIENNA, PRAGUE AND LUBLJANA, SLOVENIA
Alan Gilbert's concerts with the New York Philharmonic in March 2008, his first performances with the orchestra since being named its Music Director Designate, are just one highlight in an exciting new season for the young conductor that will feature opera and orchestra performances on three continents. Mr. Gilbert divides his time in 2007-08 between several orchestras in the US, Europe, and Asia, including seven programs with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra that will mark the end of his seven-year tenure there as the orchestra's chief conductor and artistic advisor.
With a mixture of acclaimed performances, compelling programming and extensive touring – including the orchestra's first performances at New York's Carnegie Hall in more than two decades – Gilbert and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra have achieved great success together since his appointment in 2000. They have championed Swedish composers and offered intensive composer festivals that have explored the music of contemporary masters such as Henri Dutilleux, Hans Werner Henze and John Adams. In the coming season, Gilbert will once again lead the RSPO in a great variety of music, ranging from Handel's Royal Fireworks to Christopher Rouse's Rapture; from orchestral music from Tristan und Isolde and Der Rosenkavalier to rollicking American works by Bernstein and Copland. Swedish composers Allan Petterson, Daniel Börtz, Hugo Alfven, and Anders Hillborg are represented; and so are Olivier Messiaen, Alexander Scriabin, Carl Nielsen, Béla Bartók and Edward Elgar. Benjamin Britten's masterpiece, the War Requiem, will be performed with Arvo Pärt's Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten on an October program. Gilbert will end his tenure in Stockholm in June with performances of Mahler's valedictory Ninth Symphony.
Gilbert has been principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra since 2004, and before his October concerts with the orchestra in Hamburg and other German cities he will lead the NDR in performances of Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival (September 1 and 2). In February, Gilbert will give performances with the NDR in Hamburg, Lübeck and Cologne before taking the orchestra on tour to three central-European capitals: Lubljana, Prague and Vienna.
In demand as an opera conductor, Gilbert will make an important debut early in the new season at the Vienna State Opera, where he conducts Bizet's Carmen (September 6, 10, 14, 18). Two months later, Gilbert returns to the Zurich Opera – where he made a thrilling debut three seasons ago conducting Alexander Zemlinsky's Brecht-based opera, The Chalk Circle – to lead three performances of Puccini's Turandot (December 14, 16 and January 2).
In addition to these European engagements, Gilbert's fall schedule also includes concerts in Japan, where he will lead four performances of Berg's Violin Concerto and Beethoven's Eroica Symphony with Tokyo's NHK Symphony Orchestra (December 1, 2, 7 and 8).
Back in the United States
Following concerts in January with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and with his home orchestra in Stockholm, Alan Gilbert heads to the United States for a number of concerts on both coasts.
Gilbert's first stop in America will be a return engagement with the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he will conduct a program featuring Anders Hillborg's Exquisite Corpse (a 2002 work Gilbert has conducted with the Chicago Symphony and elsewhere), Bartok's Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion, and Nielsen's Symphony No. 2, The Four Temperaments (February 7 – 9). Gilbert will remain in Philadelphia to lead the orchestra of his alma mater, the Curtis Institute (February 11), before taking the young musicians of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra to New York for their annual appearance at Carnegie Hall (February 12).
Alan Gilbert's two subscription weeks this season with the New York Philharmonic will give audiences and critics alike a chance to experience their special chemistry in a wide range of repertoire. The first program features high-spirited symphonies by Haydn (No. 48, Maria Theresia) and Beethoven (No. 4), and Luciano Berio's extraordinary Folk Songs (March 5 – 8). The following week, Gilbert will conduct the world premiere of American composer Marc Neikrug's Symphony No. 2, Quintessence, and Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben (March 12 – 15). The concerts will be augmented for audiences by an "Inside the Music" discussion between Gilbert and Gerard McBurney for Strauss's Heldenleben, (the sole work to be performed on March 14) and two "Hear & Now Premiere Previews" for Neikrug's Quintessence.
Gilbert's concerts with the New York Philharmonic this season mark the second year of a three-year arrangement during which he spends multiple weeks with the orchestra. He made his debut with the New York Philharmonic in October 2001 as the Diamond American Conductor, and has conducted the orchestra numerous times, including the acclaimed Philharmonic Festival: Charles Ives – An American Original in Context in May 2004, and most recently, in March 2007, when he led works by Bach, Ligeti, and Schumann. Gilbert begins his tenure as the 25th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in the 2009-10 season.
Additional spring concerts
Before heading back to Europe, Gilbert heads to California for a return engagement with the San Francisco Symphony. The program for his four concerts there features Steven Stucky's 1998 work Son et Lumière along with Nielsen's Symphony No. 2 and Mozart's B-flat major Piano Concerto, No. 18, performed by Richard Goode (March 26 – 29).
In between Gilbert's last two series of concerts in Stockholm – whose programs feature Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony (April 15 – 17) and Mahler's Symphony No. 9 (June 5 and 7) – Gilbert returns to Zurich, Switzerland for two weeks of conducting and a single concert playing chamber music with members of the Tonhalle Orchestra in May. He conducts Liszt's Faust Symphony as well as Daniel Börtz's Parados and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (with Joshua Bell) one week, and a program of Sibelius, Brahms, and Vaughan Williams the second.
Previous season highlights
Last fall, Alan Gilbert conducted Henze's Symphony No. 7 as part of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic's annual Composer Festival, and soon afterwards he made his debut at Los Angeles Opera conducting Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. The Los Angeles Times reported that Gilbert "brought a rare Gallic transparency to the score, without losing any of its Romantic flavor or forward momentum."
Following a return engagement with Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in January, Gilbert returned to the US for concerts with four of America's top orchestras. As well as conducting multiple programs with the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony, Gilbert also appeared with the San Francisco Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. Reviews in the Chicago Tribune praised Gilbert's programming and performances, beginning with this one:
The young American conductor has a flair for adventurous programming that is in short supply across our timid orchestral landscape, making him a useful fellow for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for one, to have around. Gilbert began a two-week CSO residency at Symphony Center on Thursday night with an aurally bracing tour of diverse 20th Century styles that didn't include a single overworked item."
The second review followed a program that included Copland's magnum opus, the Third Symphony:
Gilbert obviously loves this 40-minute symphony as much as he understands its simple songs and high-flown oratory. He made the big moments feel stirring rather than bombastic, and he kept the long line firmly in his sights. Textures felt uncluttered even where Copland piles on the counterpoint. The Third Symphony may be a technical minefield, but, apart from an occasional bobble in the otherwise admirable brasses, the CSO sailed through it without audible mishap. The crowd cheered its approval.
A chronological list of Alan Gilbert's 2007-08 season engagements follows.
Alan Gilbert: 2007-2008 concert engagements
Sep 1, 2: Lübeck, Germany – Schleswig-Holstein Festival
BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto (Frank Peter Zimmermann)
STRAVINSKY: The Rite of Spring
Sep 6 - 18 Vienna State Opera (debut)
BIZET: Carmen (Sep 6, 10, 14 & 18)
Sep 12, 13 Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
DVORAK: Carnival Overture
ALFVEN: Swedish Rhapsody
HANDEL: Suite from Royal Fireworks Music (9/13 only)
BERNSTEIN: Candide Overture
KODALY: Dances from Galanta
Sep 27, 29: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
R. STRAUSS: Suite from Der Rosenkavalier
WAGNER: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
SCRIABIN: Poem of Ecstasy
Oct 6: NDR Symphony Orchestra in Bremen
Oct 7, 8, 10: NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg
Oct 18, 20: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic
PÄRT: Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten
BRITTEN: War Requiem, Opus 66
Oct 26 – 28: NDR in Hamburg (10/26), Lübeck (10/27) and Kiel (10/28)
Dec 1, 2, 7, 8: NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo
BERG: Concerto for violin and orchestra
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3, Eroica
Dec 14, 16 Zürich Opera
PUCCINI: Turandot (also Jan 2)
Jan 11: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
QIGANG CHEN: Enchantments oublies
MENDELSSOHN: Piano Concerto No 1
SCHUMANN: Symphony No 3, Rhenish
Final program TBC
Jan 17, 19: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No 2
ELGAR: Enigma Variations
Jan 23, 24: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
HILLBORG: Eleven Gates
BERNSTEIN: Serenade after Plato's Symposium
COPLAND: Symphony No. 3
Feb 7, 8, 9: Philadelphia Orchestra
HILLBORG: Exquisite Corpse
BARTOK: Concerto for Two Pianos & Percussion
NIELSEN: Symphony No. 2, The Four Temperaments
Feb 11: Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Philadelphia
Feb 12: Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, NYC
Program TBA (same as for Feb 11)
Feb 19: NDR-Hamburg
Feb 22: NDR-Hamburg
SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto
SCHUMANN: SYMPHONY NO. 3, Rhenish
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 2
Final program TBC
Feb 23-Mar 1: NDR Symphony Orchestra tour in Lübeck (2/23), Cologne (2/25), Llubljana
(2/27), Prague (2/28, 29), and Vienna (3/1) (program as above).
Mar 5-8: New York Philharmonic
HAYDN: Symphony No. 48, Maria Theresia
BERIO: Folk Songs for mezzo-soprano
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4
Mar 12: New York Philharmonic
R. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben (Rush Hour concert)
Mar 13, 15: New York Philharmonic
MARC NEIKRUG: Quintessence: Symphony No. 2
R. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben
Mar 14: New York Philharmonic
R. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben ("Inside the Music" with Gerard McBurney)
Mar 26 - 29: San Francisco Symphony
STUCKY: Son et Lumière
MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 18 (Richard Goode)
NIELSEN: Symphony No. 2, The Four Temperaments
Apr 10, 12: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
MAHLER: Des Knaben Wunderhorn
PETTERSSON: Symphonic Movement
Apr 15 - 17: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
MESSIAEN: Turangalîla Symphony
May 21 - 23: Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto (J. Bell, 5/21 & 5/22)
BÖRTZ: Parados (5/23)
LISZT: A Faust Symphony
May 25: Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich –
Chamber Concert (Gilbert on violin)
BRAHMS: Clarinet Quintet in B minor
BRAHMS: Sextet No.2 in G major
May 27 - 29: Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich
SIBELIUS: En Saga (5/27 & 5/29)
VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS: Concerto for Tuba (5/27 & 5/29)
BRAHMS: Serenade No. 1 in D major
Jun 5, 7: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
MAHLER: Symphony No. 9
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