New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert begins the month of April guest conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in a program covering Berg’s Seven Early Songs with mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major (K. 482) with pianist Emanuel Ax, and Stravinsky’s complete Firebird ballet (April 1-3). Gilbert returns to his home city to give the New York Philharmonic’s annual Erich Leinsdorf Lecture (April 4), which will be webcast live from the Walter Reade Theater on the orchestra’s web site (www.nyphil.org/leinsdorf). The subject of the lecture, entitled “Performance and Interpretation,” will be whether there is such a thing as a perfect interpretation. Next up is a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 with the Juilliard Orchestra (April 15). Gilbert closes out the month back on the podium with the New York Philharmonic, leading the orchestra in a program that presents Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Messiaen’s Couleurs de la Cité céleste with Emanuel Ax (April 28-30).
Gilbert, an alumnus of Juilliard, previously led the Juilliard Orchestra last April in a wide-ranging program at Alice Tully Hall, with music by Mozart, Beethoven, Schoenberg, and Ligeti. Gilbert conducted and recorded Mahler’s valedictory Symphony No. 9 in his final concerts as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in June 2008. Gramophone named the album, released on the BIS label, an Editor’s Choice selection, noting, “This must, I think, be the finest recording the work has received. … It is as exhausting and purifying an experience as any 80 minutes spent in your listening room has the right to be.” Gilbert’s performance of the work with the Juilliard Orchestra will take place at Avery Fisher Hall. He was recently appointed Juilliard’s Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies, beginning in fall 2011, and is the first holder of Juilliard’s William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies, appointed in 2009.