Alan Gilbert Conducts in Munich, Amsterdam and Rome in February, Returns for 50th Birthday Celebration with New York Philharmonic

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Alan Gilbert Conducts in Munich, Amsterdam and Rome in February, Returns for 50th Birthday Celebration with New York Philharmonic

After a series of fall guest conducting appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and La Scala, as well as winter world premieres of major pieces by Wynton Marsalis and HK Gruber with the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert heads to Europe in February for return engagements with three preeminent orchestras in Munich, Amsterdam and Rome. With the Munich Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam and Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Gilbert leads three wide-ranging programs, from works that he has conducted to great acclaim with the New York Philharmonic to a world premiere from Dutch composer Joey Roukens and a rendering of his own Wagner compilation, A Ring Synthesis. Upon his return to New York, Gilbert’s 50th birthday celebration concert with the New York Philharmonic includes favorite collaborators from his tenure at the orchestra and beyond: violinists Lisa Batiashvili, Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, and concertmaster Frank Huang; pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman; and soprano Renée Fleming.

Before leaving for Europe, Gilbert – an enthusiastic educator and Juilliard’s Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies – conducts the Juilliard Orchestra in Dutilleux’s cello concerto Tout un monde lointain…, featuring student soloist Anne Richardson, and Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony. Gilbert has long championed the music of Dutilleux – recipient of the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music in 2011 – and more than a decade ago the composer himself commented that a festival of his music Gilbert conducted with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic represented “some of the brightest interpretations of my music I have ever heard.” Gilbert’s interpretations of Shostakovich’s symphonies have also been great critical successes. Two seasons ago, after he conducted the New York Philharmonic in Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, the New York Times raved about his “wrenching, blazing and vehement account” of the work.

After Gilbert made a guest appearance with the Munich Philharmonic in 2011, Der Pressespiegel declared: “This describes Alan Gilbert: spirit, joy in making music, communication, energy. Thus the musicians love him and the audience is similarly pleased.” For his upcoming concerts with the orchestra, Gilbert conducts works by French composers from three centuries: Édouard Lalo’s “Symphonie espagnole” violin concerto, with Grammy Award-winning German violinist Augustin Hadelich; Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suites No. 1 & 2; and Le Cycle des gris by Bruno Mantovani, a composer, conductor and radio broadcaster who has also been the Director of the Paris Conservatory since 2010.

The following week finds Gilbert in Amsterdam, joining the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to premiere a commissioned work from Dutch composer Joey Roukens, whose Out of Control the orchestra commissioned and premiered in 2011. Roukens’s new piece, Boundless, is scored for the same combination of instruments as Bernstein’s Serenade, a violin concerto on the same program, and Roukens dedicates his piece to Bernstein. The soloist is Romanian violinist Liviu Prunaru, the Concertgebouw’s concertmaster. Rounding out the program is Sibelius’s Symphony No. 4. Sibelius has been an important recent focus for the conductor, who has long made a specialty of Scandinavian music. December of 2015 was the 150th anniversary of the Finnish composer’s birth, and Gilbert conducted the New York Philharmonic in his Fourth Symphony that same month, along with the tone poems Finlandia and The Swan of Tuonela. The New York Times found that the latter piece “sounded utterly original in the glowing performance [he] drew from his players,” and that in the symphony Gilbert and the orchestra “powerfully conveyed the astonishing strangeness of this inventive work; the Philharmonic sounded magnificent.”

Gilbert’s Rome performances with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia open with John Adams’s The Black Gondola. The work is an orchestral arrangement of Lizst’s solo piano piece La lugubre gondola II, which is associated with the death of his son-in-law Wagner, who died less than two months after it was completed. Music by Wagner himself shares the bill, in the form of Gilbert’s compilation of music from Wagner’s Ring Cycle titled A Ring Synthesis, adapted from a symphonic synopsis arranged by conductor Erich Leinsdorf. Also on the program is Martinů’s Cello Concerto, featuring Argentinean cellist and 2010 Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Sol Gabetta.

Gilbert is now in his eighth and final season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, so when he celebrates his 50th birthday with the orchestra in February the concert will be one of many celebrations of his tenure as well. A stellar group of soloists joins him for the performance, including Mary and James G. Wallach Artists-in-Residence from three past seasons: pianists Emanuel Ax (2012-13) and Yefim Bronfman (2013-14), and violinist Lisa Batiashvili (2014–15), all three of whom are also featured separately as soloists this season. Also appearing are Renée Fleming, a frequent Philharmonic guest for whom Gilbert conducted the Grammy Award-winning Decca release Poèmes; and three more violinists: longstanding collaborators Joshua Bell and Pamela Frank, and Frank Huang, now in his second season as the Philharmonic’s concertmaster and featured earlier this season in Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

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Alan Gilbert: upcoming engagements

Jan 24

New York, NY

The Juilliard Orchestra

DUTILLEUX: Tout un monde lointain (with Anne Richardson, cello)

SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 4

Feb 3, 4 & 5

Munich, Germany

Münchner Philharmoniker

MANTOVANI: Le Cycle des gris

LALO: Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 21 “Symphonie espagnole” (with Augustin Hadelich, violin)

RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé Suites No. 1 & 2

Feb 8 & 9

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Concertgebouw

JOEY ROUKENS: Boundless (Homage to L.B.)

BERNSTEIN: Serenade (with Liviu Prunaru, violin)

SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 4

Feb 11

Herleen, Netherlands

Concertgebouw

JOEY ROUKENS: Boundless (Homage to L.B.)

BERNSTEIN: Serenade (with Liviu Prunaru, violin)

SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 4

Feb 16, 17 & 18

Rome, Italy

Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

ADAMS/LISZT: The Black Gondola

MARTINŮ: Cello Concerto No. 1 (with Sol Gabetta, cello)

WAGNER (arr. Gilbert): A Ring Synthesis

Feb 23

Alan’s 50th Birthday Celebration

New York Philharmonic

Program: TBA

Emanuel Ax, piano

Lisa Batiashvili, violin

Joshua Bell, violin

Yefim Bronfman, piano

Renée Fleming, soprano

Pamela Frank, violin

Frank Huang, violin 

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© 21C Media Group, January 2017

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