PHOTOS: Launch of Music Director Jaap van Zweden

New York, Meet Jaap — Opening Gala of the New York Philharmonic’s 177th season — inaugurated the Orchestra’s 26th Music Director, Jaap van Zweden, with a groundbreaking World Premiere by Ashley Fure, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with soloist Daniil Trifonov, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. The Gala also included a red carpet walked by the likes of Alec and Hilaria Baldwin and Patricia Clarkson, a festive cocktail reception, and a celebratory dinner. Relive the momentous evening.

Empire State Building To Glow Red for Launch of Jaap van Zweden’s Inaugural Season

 

We’ll paint the town red.

Whether or not you join us Thursday night for New York, Meet Jaap, look up: for yet another year, the Empire State Building will glow Philharmonic red, this time shining all the brighter in celebration of Music Director Jaap van Zweden’s inaugural season.

(The Empire State Building image® is a registered trademark of ESRT Empire State Building, L.L.C. and is used with permission.)

Philharmonic Musicians Welcome Jaap

Jaap is in the building! Hear what some of the musicians of the New York Philharmonic have to say about our new Music Director on the cusp of his inaugural season.

Want to experience Jaap live and in person? Attend his official launch at the Opening Gala Concert this Thursday, attend the Free Open Rehearsal on September 27, or catch one of his many programs with the Orchestra this season.

New York, meet Jaap!

Carter Brey and Cynthia Phelps On Reprising Musical Roles in Don Quixote

“Don Quixote takes himself seriously, and Strauss understands this,” Brey notes. “When he’s off tilting at windmills, he gets heroic battle music. When he’s jonesing after his girlfriend, you get the most meltingly beautiful love theme. Strauss leaves it to the audience to understand the tragedy implicit in the fact that this gentleman has lost his mind.”

A retired gentleman obsessed with books of chivalry, Don Quixote convinces himself that he is a valiant knight, leaving his squire, Sancho Panza, to clean up the mess. For the 15th time together, Principal Cello Carter Brey becomes the bemused knight and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps plays his beleaguered squire when the New York Philharmonic performs Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, November 9–14, led by Leonard Slatkin.

“I’ve learned a lot in my years of playing with Cindy,” Brey says. “Carter is one of the great, great Don Quixotes,” says Phelps.

Phelps perhaps came closest to embodying her besieged character back when she was principal viola of the Minnesota Orchestra. “I broke a string right before my first big solo entrance, and I had to grab my stand partner’s instrument. He in turn grabbed the No. 3’s viola, and she restrung mine for me.”

The performance is part of Bernstein’s Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival. Bernstein made his Philharmonic debut at age 25, then the Orchestra’s Assistant Conductor, leading Don Quixote — famously filling in with a few hours’ notice and without rehearsal for an ailing Bruno Walter. The New York Times ran a front-page story the next day, calling his performance “a good American success story.”

Break a string (or better yet, don’t!), Carter and Cindy!

Empire State Building To Glow Red for Opening Gala Concert

 

We’ll paint the town red.

Whether or not you join us Tuesday night for 106 All-Stars: Opening Gala Concert of New York’s Orchestra, look up: for yet another year, the Empire State Building will glow Philharmonic Red in honor of our 176th season.

By the way, if you won’t be joining us, you can still watch the concert free on Facebook! Tune in a few minutes before 7:30.

(The Empire State Building image® is a registered trademark of ESRT Empire State Building, L.L.C. and is used with permission.)

Jaap van Zweden Conducts: A Glimpse of the Future

Philharmonic audiences got a glimpse of the future when Jaap van Zweden (who will become Music Director in the 2018–19 season, after serving as Music Director Designate 2017–18), led the New York Premiere–Philharmonic Co-Commission of 28-year-old Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release, with Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as soloist, plus Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin.

The crowd and the critics went wild. Here are some highlights:

“Mr. van Zweden drew sensitive, confident and colorful playing from the Philharmonic. ... he drew out the shifting strands of the music with striking clarity and a clear sense of direction. … He balanced poignancy and gravity in his rich-textured account of [Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release].” — The New York Times

“His rapport with the players is already keenly palpable and, in the Tchaikovsky warhorse on the program’s second half, positively electrifying. … an epic journey, precision engineered to underscore the vitality of Tchaikovsky’s vision.” — Musical America

“A superb technician with crystalline intentions, van Zweden seemed most at home laying down a covering barrage of brass or catapulting into a big crescendo. But the New York premiere of Julia Adolphe’s viola concerto Unearth, Release also proved that he’s no slouch with a glimmering pianissimo or a complex new score. … In Wagner’s Lohengrin overture, he coaxed the strings to unspool the endless melody as in a single, ten-minute exhalation.” — Vulture

“An intelligent but emotional, sonically rich performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony” — New York Classical Review

“Both musicians and audience seemed galvanized by his presence throughout all three pieces.” — Bachtrack

The 175th Anniversary Season Begins

Wednesday marked many milestones: the launch of the New York Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season, Music Director Alan Gilbert’s farewell season, and The New World Initiative — the Philharmonic’s season-long, city-wide project revolving around Dvořák’s New World Symphony and its theme of “home” — plus the Orchestra’s first-ever live concert broadcast on Facebook. The day began with a free dress rehearsal open to the 70+ ensembles performing the New World Symphony across the city as part of The New World Initiative. That night, Mozart in the Jungle cast members Bernadette Peters and Lola Kirke, Josh Groban, Ben Vereen, Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller, Bill Moyers, Itzhak Perlman, and more were among the friends and supporters who gathered for the Opening Gala cocktail reception, glamorous dinner, and the concert itself — featuring Alan Gilbert leading works tied to the Philharmonic’s rich history of premieres by John Corigliano, Gershwin with Aaron Diehl as soloist, and Dvořák. The Empire State Building shone Philharmonic red in celebration.

Empire State Building To Glow Red for 175th Anniversary Opening Gala Concert

Empire State Building New York Philharmonic

We’ll paint the town red.

Whether you join us tonight for our 175th Anniversary Opening Gala Concert, look up: for yet another year, the Empire State Building will glow Philharmonic Red in honor of our 175th season, which, appropriately enough, celebrates our hometown.

By the way, if you won’t be joining us, you can still watch the concert free on Facebook! Tune in a few minutes before 7:30.

(The Empire State Building image® is a registered trademark of ESRT Empire State Building, L.L.C. and is used with permission.)