Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, will lead the New York Philharmonic in Mahler's Symphony No. 9 at the Annual Free Memorial Day Concert, today, May 28, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. This will be the 21st Annual Free Memorial Day Concert offered by the New York Philharmonic, a tradition begun in 1992 as a gift to the people of New York City. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the performance. The audio of the performance will be broadcast onto the adjacent Pulpit Green, weather permitting.
Speaking about the program, Mr. Gilbert noted that he selectEd Mahler's Ninth Symphony because of its particular resonance on this occasion. "It ends with a powerful, valedictory moment, which seems like death, or perhaps the attainment of the ultimate spiritual peace. All of Mahler's symphonies all attempt to encapsulate the human experience, but the Ninth probably goes the farthest. It really does say it all, and it seems to give a picture of what it means to be human in every sense, both the joys of living and the difficulty of coming to the end of one's life. Mahler's Ninth Symphony never fails to go straight to the heart."
New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, began his tenure in September 2009, creating what New York magazine called "a fresh future for the Philharmonic." The first native New Yorker to hold the post, he has sought to make the Orchestra a point of civic pride for both the city and the country.
Mr. Gilbert's creative approach to programming combines works in fresh and innovative ways. He has forged artistic partnerships, introducing the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in- Residence, an annual three-week festival, and CONTACT!, the new-music series. In 2011–12 he conducts world premieres, Mahler symphonies, a residency at London's Barbican Centre, tours to Europe and California, and a season-concluding musical exploration of space at the Park Avenue Armory featuring Stockhausen's theatrical immersion, Gruppen. He also made his Philharmonic soloist debut performing J.S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins alongside Frank Peter Zimmermann in October 2011. Last season's highlights included two tours of European music capitals, Carnegie Hall's 120th Anniversary Concert, and Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen, hailed by The Washington Post as "another victory," building on 2010's wildly successful staging of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, which The New York Times called "an instant Philharmonic milestone."
In September 2011 Alan Gilbert became Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, where he is the first to hold the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts the world's leading orchestras, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic.