Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Alan Gilbert Returns to Podiums of Boston Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Alan Gilbert’s first season as the new Music Director of the New York Philharmonic doesn’t begin until September 2009, but he’ll be back this spring to lead his hometown orchestra in two programs (Apr 30 – May 5 and May 7–9, respectively) that will include his first performance of a Mahler symphony with the orchestra as well as the world premiere of The World in Flower, a new work by composer Peter Lieberson, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic. Before those concerts, however, Gilbert will return to the podiums of several major orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Mar 5–10), Hamburg ’s NDR Symphony Orchestra (Mar 27–29), and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Apr 18 and 19). Before returning to New York , he will also make his debut with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Mar 18–21).

In Boston , Gilbert will conduct Charles Ives’s haunting (and daunting) Symphony No. 4, which he conducted to great acclaim with the New York Philharmonic in June 2004. Alex Ross reported on the occasion for the New Yorker:

“After intermission [Gilbert] turned in a stupendous performance of the Ives Fourth. Often, this piece comes off as a kind of spring break for orchestra, oboes gone wild; … Gilbert made the notorious ‘Comedy’ movement into an overwhelming force of nature, almost scary in its progress. Then, in the fugal slow movement, he led with a hypnotic slow beat, at once liquid and exact. The strings sang out in endless intertwining lines, and emotion surged through the music. This man can conduct.”

Anne Midgette wrote presciently in the New York Times: “The Ives concert he led on Saturday night sounded fantastic. He leads with authority, energy, humor. And he seems to be on the way to a big career.”

With the Berlin Philharmonic, Gilbert will conduct an all-Czech program featuring Dvorák’s beloved Cello Concerto, with soloist Steven Isserlis, and Martinu’s deeply expressive Symphony No. 4. Gilbert led the Chicago Symphony in the latter work in February 2005, prompting veteran critic John von Rhein to write in the Chicago Tribune,

“This meaty neoclassical score abounds in memorable ideas, good-humored energy, and scoring that’s remarkably airy despite its size, including an athletic piano part. Gilbert and the orchestra gave back to the audience everything that is affirmative in this masterpiece.”

Gilbert first conducted the storied BPO in February 2006, substituting at the last minute for an indisposed Bernard Haitink. Klaus Geitel, the dean of German music critics, was on hand to give this glowing account in the Berliner Morgenpost:

“Only a month after his triumphant Berlin debut with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester in a glorious performance of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony in the Konzerthaus, Alan Gilbert … was on the podium again, this time in the Philharmonie and in front of the Berlin Philharmonic. … He is a bundle of energy who fully understands how to coax his orchestra into a real frenzy. The outer movements [of Schumann’s First Symphony] swell in his hands right up to their gigantic releases. But he also proves to be a master of delicate nuances. The larghetto was absolutely poetic – dying away as if breathing its last … Gilbert is the name of the man on the podium, and we hope he’ll come back to Berlin again soon. He is absolutely aquiver with musicality and a clear view of his goal, but he’s self-contained, not nervous or high-strung, and not flashy. He knows exactly which way he wants to take the music. And that’s the way music works: anyone who doesn’t know what’s at the end can’t find the way there. Gilbert never takes his eye off it, and all his passion never distracts him from that goal. His gestures are extremely clear and his body-language speaks volumes, especially the musical language of the score in front of him. He is the embodiment of a conducting ‘event.’”
Alan Gilbert – highlights of upcoming engagements

March 5, 6, 7, and 10 ( Boston , MA )
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Sibelius: Night Ride and Sunrise
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini(with Stephen Hough)
Ives: Symphony No. 4

March 18, 19, 20, and 21 ( Vienna , Austria )
Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven: “Coriolan” Overture
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2 (with Heinrich Schiff)
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

March 27–29 ( Hamburg [Mar 27 and 29] and Kiel [Mar 28], Germany )
NDR Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg
Maurice Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Suites 1 and 2
Debussy: Three Nocturnes
Program includes Messiaen: Poèmes pour Mi (Mar 27 and 29) Haydn: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in C major (with Roland Greutter – Mar 28)

April 18 and 19 ( Berlin , Germany )
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Dvorák: Cello Concerto (with Steven Isserlis)
Martinu: Symphony No. 4

April 30, May 1, 2, and 5 ( New York , NY )
New York Philharmonic
Dvorák: The Golden Spinning Wheel
Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3 (with Joshua Bell) Martinu: Symphony No. 4

May 7–9 ( New York , NY )
New York Philharmonic
Mahler: Blumine
Lieberson: The World in Flower (world premiere)
    New York Philharmonic commission with:
      Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano
      Russell Braun, baritone
      and the New York Choral Artists
Mahler: Symphony No. 1

For additional information visit Alan Gilbert’s new web site: www.alangilbert.com.

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