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Alan Gilbert Leads NY Phil on Europe/Winter 2012 Tour, Feb 2 - 18

Now in his third season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert returns with the orchestra to the musical capitals of Europe for 14 concerts in seven cities beginning on February 2 in Cologne, Germany. Concerts follow in Luxembourg (Feb 3, 4), Paris (Feb 6 and 7), Frankfurt (Feb 8, 9), Düsseldorf (Feb 11), and Amsterdam (Feb 13, 14); the Düsseldorf and Amsterdam concerts mark Gilbert's first performances with the orchestra in those cities. The last stop on the tour, London, inaugurates the New York Philharmonic's International Associates residency at the Barbican, with four concerts on February 16–18; programs include a Young People's Concert with Jamie Bernstein, as well as a series of educational and outreach activities. The soloists for the tour will be the Philharmonic's 2011–12 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence Frank Peter Zimmermann, pianist Lang Lang, and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Tour programs include works by Magnus Lindberg and the Philharmonic's Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, Thomas Adès (the UK premiere of his Polaris), as well as music by Bartók, Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev, Ravel, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. Complete tour dates and programs follow below.

Alan Gilbert is excited to return with the orchestra to Europe, where he has previously led the New York Philharmonic on three highly successful tours. Gilbert comments:
"We've had a great run of concerts in New York in the weeks leading up to our departure for Europe. The orchestra is playing with great joy and brilliance, and we'll be performing an array of pieces on tour that work really well together. I've enjoyed performing these programs in New York because it's not always obvious what the connections of the featured works are, but so many people have been talking about how much they've enjoyed the musical journey they've experienced during the course of each program. People have noticed connections and resonances in the music that they may not have expected and have found surprising, and these are exactly the kinds of programs that I want to do."
Gilbert has given acclaimed performances with the tour's featured soloists, who include the orchestra's current 2011–12 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, Frank Peter Zimmermann. "I work so well with Frank Peter," says Gilbert. "We breathe the same in our music-making, and he is one of the easiest and gratifying collaborators that I work with."

Spending an extended period in London offers an opportunity to connect with local audiences in a way that is usually difficult to do while touring. Gilbert notes: "On a busy tour, you often breeze through a town, giving you only one shot to make an impact and to create a connection with the audience. In London, though, we will have a great chance to express our personality, put down roots, and create a real dialogue with the sophisticated London public. This is something I'm very excited about."

Critics responded enthusiastically to performances in New York of the repertoire that will be heard on the Europe/Winter 2012 tour. Martin Bernheimer's five-star (out of five) review in the Financial Times began with these observations of an Adès/Mahler program: "The New York Philharmonic – emphatically Alan Gilbert's Philharmonic – offered an intriguing juxtaposition of opposites on Thursday. The evening began with a brief essay in glittery compression, Thomas Adès's Polaris, in its New York premiere. This was followed....by 80 minutes of hyper-expansive Mahler: the Weltschmerz, bombast, pathos and otherworldly shimmer of his Ninth Symphony." The verdict on Polaris: "It is all good music, splashy in affect, fascinating in context, rich in texture, clever in execution. And the Philharmonic played it beautifully... Adès held his own honourably. And then came monumental Mahler."

The Beethoven/Stravinsky/Ravel program was the final offering from Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic before their departure for Europe. Steve Smith's review for the New York Times was unequivocal in its praise:
"What Mr. Zimmermann provided...was fleet, clean and honest playing [of the Beethoven Violin Concerto] at a comfortably brisk pace in the outer movements, and a Larghetto of melting sweetness. He mastered the uncommon trick of sounding simultaneously authoritative and impulsive; in Fritz Kreisler's cadenzas he was positively incandescent.

"Mr. Gilbert and the orchestra provided expertly calibrated accompaniment, with playing in the Larghetto so dewy that it threatened to evaporate outright. At the conclusion the audience responded tumultuously.

"The second half of the concert showcased the orchestra to dazzling effect. Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements, completed in 1945 and introduced by the Philharmonic the next year, was a steely, splashy remix of the composer's styles and methods. The jagged rhythms of "The Rite of Spring" and the breezy propulsion of "Petrouchka" fused with the lucidity and poise of Stravinsky's Neo-Classical works to striking effect in Mr. Gilbert's adrenalized account.

"The concert ended with a voluptuous rendition of Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloé" Suite No. 2, with playing of liquid beguilement from the principal flutist, Robert Langevin."

Europe / Winter 2012 tour with New York Philharmonic

Feb 2
Cologne, Germany

Philharmonie
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

Feb 3
Luxembourg

Philharmonie Luxembourg
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2

Feb 4
Luxembourg

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Lang Lang, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

Feb 6
Paris, France

Salle Pleyel
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2

Feb 7
Paris, France

Salle Pleyel
Magnus Lindberg: Féria
Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 2
Lang Lang, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

Feb 8
Frankfurt, Germany

Alte Oper
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2

Feb 9
Frankfurt, Germany

Alte Oper
Magnus Lindberg: Féria
Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 2
Lang Lang, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

Feb 11
Düsseldorf, Germany

Tonhalle
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Lang Lang, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

Feb 13
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Concertgebouw
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2

Feb 14
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Concertgebouw
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Lang Lang, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5

Feb 16
London, England

Barbican
Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Feb 17
London, England

Barbican
Thomas Adès: Polaris (U.K. Premiere – New York Philharmonic Co-Commission)
Berlioz: Les Nuits d'été
Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2

Feb 18
London, England

Barbican
Young People's Concert: Bernstein's New York
Alan Gilbert, conductor; Jamie Bernstein, host; Benjamin Grosvenor, piano
Bernstein: Overture to West Side Story
Bernstein: "New York, New York" from On the Town
Copland: Selection from "Skyline" from Music for a Great City
Bernstein: "Ain't Got No Tears Left" from On the Town
Bernstein: "The Masque" from The Age of Anxiety, Symphony No. 2
Bernstein: Three Dance Episodes from On the Town

Feb 18
London, England

Barbican
Magnus Lindberg: Féria
Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 2
Lang Lang, piano
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5


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© 21C Media Group, February 2012