The Webcast will showcase the event's 360-degree experience, allowing viewers to see the Philharmonic from different perspectives and unique angles. With multiple stages and performance areas, movement, lighting, and costumes - directed and designed by Michael Counts, and with choreography by Ken Roht, lighting design by Kyle Chepulis and Brian Aldous, and costume design by Kaye Voyce - the Philharmonic 360 concerts will make use of the large scale and flexibility of the Armory's 55,000-square-foot space to create a dynamic and fluid performance space, fundamentally altering the relationship of audience to performer and sound. As designed by Fisher Dachs Associates, several seating sections will be arranged throughout the Armory's Drill Hall, on risers and balconies, and in a large central area with floor seating that allows for an immersive relationship between soloists, orchestra, and audience.
The concert features works that will be staged to make use of the space in unique ways, including Pierre Boulez's Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna, the Finale of Act I from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, and Ives's The Unanswered Question.
The centerpiece of the concert will be Stockhausen's Gruppen, a work composed between 1955 and 1957 that requires three orchestras and three conductors. Gruppen offers an unusual sonic landscape through groups (or "Gruppen") of sounds, noises, dynamics, and tempos that exist and move independently through space, yet come together in a massive and colorful tour de force. Sharing the conducting duties with Alan Gilbert will be Magnus Lindberg, the Philharmonic's Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in- Residence, and composer-conductor Matthias Pintscher, in his Philharmonic conducting debut.
Performing in Don Giovanni will be bass-baritone Ryan McKinny (as Don Giovanni), bass-baritone Keith Miller (Leporello), soprano Julianna di Giacomo (Donna Anna), tenor Russell Thomas (Don Ottavio), soprano Keri Alkema (Donna Elvira), mezzo- soprano Sasha Cooke (Zerlina), baritone Kelly Markgraf (Masetto), and dancer Brian T. Scott (Waiter), all in their New York Philharmonic debuts, as well as the Oratorio Society of New York and Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir, Kent Tritle, director.
The Armory collaboration continues the Philharmonic's now three-year tradition of mounting major theatrical events - beginning with Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre in 2010 and continuing with Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen in 2011 - which has become a hallmark of Alan Gilbert's tenure. Correspondingly, since its inception in 2007, the Armory has presented several seminal works that, due to their size and technical requirements, could not have been produced elsewhere in the city. These include Bernd Alois Zimmermann's opera Die Soldaten; the U.S. premiere of Heiner Goebbel's Stifters Dinge; and the New York (and indoor) premiere of John Luther Adams's Inuksuit, which featured dozens of percussionists arranged in concentric circles, spreading out, appearing and disappearing throughout the performance, and using the Armory's grand space to envelop the audience in the experience.