Alan Gilbert leads four major European orchestras this fall, including two debuts

1st November 2015

Following triumphant season-opening concerts with the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall and Carnegie Hall, Alan Gilbert heads to Europe for important debuts with the Staatskapelle Dresden (Oct 23–25) and London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Dec 13). He also returns this fall to the podiums of Munich’s Bavarian Radio Symphony (Dec 10 & 11) and Hamburg’s NDR Symphony (Oct 29–31), where he has served as Principal Guest Conductor for more than a decade. Already a favored guest of such top European orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic and Leipzig Gewandhaus, he launched his 2015-16 season last month in Milan with a debut with La Scala Orchestra, and looks forward to making his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra later this season.

As at the New York Philharmonic, where he is currently in his seventh season as Music Director, Gilbert’s programs in Europe span a wide range of repertoire. In addition to his “consistently involving and insightful” (New York Times) interpretation of such masterworks as Beethoven’s “Eroica,” Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, and Brahms’s “Haydn Variations,” Gilbert will also conduct the music of living composers György Kurtág and Christopher Rouse, who concluded a three-year tenure as the Philharmonic’s composer-in-residence last season. In Munich, Gilbert also undertakes Carl Nielsen’s Third Symphony, of which his recording with the New York Philharmonic was recently named the number-one choice of Gramophone magazine. The recording was made under the auspices of the Philharmonic’s multi-season Nielsen Project, which the New York Times calls “one of the great successes of Alan Gilbert’s tenure thus far.”

The conductor’s upcoming concerts showcase some of the soloists with whom he enjoys especial rapport. In London, where he recently gave the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2015 lecture, he rejoins Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan, for whom he created the position of Artist-in-Association at the New York Philharmonic. Similarly, with the Staatskapelle Dresden and NDR Symphony, Gilbert reunites with Frank Peter Zimmermann for Shostakovich’s Second Violin Concerto. In Hamburg, the concerto will be recorded for future album release, when it will be coupled with the Russian composer’s First Violin Concerto. This was also previously captured live in concert with Gilbert, Zimmermann, and the NDR Symphony, prompting the Hamburger Abendblatt to praise the “momentum and enthusiasm, perfection and beauty of sound” the conductor inspired.

Back in New York, Gilbert, who serves as Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at the Juilliard School, looks forward to leading the Juilliard Orchestra in its only Carnegie Hall appearance of the season: a pairing of works by Schumann and Berg with A Ring Synthesis, the conductor’s own arrangement of selections from Wagner’s “Ring” cycle.

The European trip follows twin triumphs at home with the New York Philharmonic, in season-opening events at both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. In the newly renamed David Geffen Hall, Gilbert’s treatment of Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben drew “pyrotechnic pleasures and swashbuckling sounds” (New York magazine) from the orchestra, striking the New Yorker as “the finest performance of standard repertory that Gilbert has ever given.” The Carnegie concert, launching the iconic venue’s 125th-anniversary season and featuring soloist Evgeny Kissin, drew a rare five-star review from the Financial Times. Praising Gilbert’s “incandescent performance” of Ravel’sDaphnis et Chloé suite, the New York Times reported:

“He captured the shimmering bloom of the ‘Daybreak’ section while bringing out its dangerous undertow and ambiguity. Though the ‘Pantomime’ had playfulness aplenty, currents of sexuality roiled these games. The final dance section was slashing, incisive and sonically glorious.”

Among the conductor’s upcoming Philharmonic highlights are a commemoration of the Sibelius sesquicentennial; an all-Mozart program including the “Gran Partita”; a festive New Year’s Eve celebration of “La Vie Parisienne,” with guest appearances from mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and pianists Barnatan and Makoto Ozone; and a star-studded 100th-birthday gala tribute to Frank Sinatra, presented with Lincoln Center, featuring such household names as Christina Aguilera, Bernadette Peters, Sting, and Seth MacFarlane.

For high-resolution photos, click here.

Alan Gilbert: fall engagements 
The New York Philharmonic concerts listed below take place at David Geffen Hall in New York, NY. 

Oct 23–25
Dresden, Germany
Staatskapelle Dresden (debut)
György KURTÁG: Grabstein für Stephan, Op. 15c
SHOSTAKOVICH: Violin Concerto No. 2 (with Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin)
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4

Oct 29 & 30
Hamburg, Germany
NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg
SHOSTAKOVICH: Violin Concerto No. 2 (with Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”

Oct 31
Bremen, Germany
NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg
SHOSTAKOVICH: Violin Concerto No. 2 (with Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”

Nov 4–7
New York Philharmonic
MOZART: Divertimento in D, K.136/125a
MOZART: Horn Concerto No. 2 (with Philip Myers, horn)
MOZART: Serenade for 13 Winds“Gran partita”

Nov 24
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
Juilliard Orchestra
SCHUMANN: “Manfred” Overture
BERG: Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
WAGNER (arr. Alan Gilbert): A Ring Synthesis

Dec 3
New York Philharmonic
“SINATRA: Voice for a Century”
With Christina Aguilera, Fantasia, Sutton Foster, Bernadette Peters & Sting, vocalists; Chris Botti, trumpet; Seth MacFarlane, host and vocalist; Lonny Price, co-director

Dec 10 & 11
Munich, Germany
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Christopher ROUSE: Rapture
MOZART: Piano Concerto C minor, K. 491 (with Lars Vogt, piano)
NIELSEN: Symphony No. 3, Op. 27, “Sinfonia espansiva” (with Christina Landshamer, soprano; Michael Nagy, baritone)

Dec 13
London, England

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (debut)
BRAHMS: Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Inon Barnatan, piano)
HAYDN: Symphony No. 90 in C

Dec 29 & 30; Jan 2
New York Philharmonic
SIBELIUS: The Swan of Tuonela
SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 4
MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto (with Joshua Bell, violin)
SIBELIUS: Finlandia

Dec 31
New York Philharmonic
“New Year’s Eve: La Vie Parisienne”
OFFENBACH: Selections from Gaîté parisienne
RAVEL: Pavane for a Dead Princess
SIMONS: “C’est ça la vie, c’est ça l’amour” from Toi c’est moi
OFFENBACH: “Ah! que j’aime les militaires” from La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein
OFFENBACH: “Ah! quel dîner” from La Périchole
PIAF & LOUIGUY: “La Vie en rose”
SAINT-SAËNS: Carnival of the Animals
(with Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano; Inon Barnatan and Makoto Ozone, piano)