News / Arts & Entertainment

Stepping Away from Classics, NY Philharmonic Celebrates New Music

Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic  at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City, March 3, 2014. (Chris Lee)
Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City, March 3, 2014. (Chris Lee)
If your idea of a symphonic concert is a program of music by dead classical European composers, think again. 

The New York Philharmonic is presenting an 11-day festival of new music. Its first-ever Biennial Concerts will be held at the Philharmonic’s home in Lincoln Center and all around New York City. The program features new works by established and emerging composers.

Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, is not scared of new music and he does not think audiences should be either.

"Frankly, the reason I do new music is I like a lot of it," he said. 
 
NY Philharmonic Celebrates New Music
NY Philharmonic Celebrates New Music i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

In addition to playing their own concerts, the Philharmonic is sharing the bill during the festival with some surprising partners, like Bang on a Can All-Stars. The six classically-trained musicians do not actually bang on cans.   

"With Bang on a Can, we’re looking at certain kinds of wild and crazy adventurous music that doesn’t fit so neatly into the box, so we’re ecstatic to be a part of it," said composer Julia Wolfe, one of the group's founders. 

The ensemble is going to perform Wolfe’s multi-media oratorio Anthracite Fields inspired by Pennsylvania's coal country, near where she grew up.

"I wanted to honor the people that worked there," she said. "And so on one hand I am looking at...how do I honor them? It certainly wasn’t about, 'Oh, coal is awful.'  There are things about coal that are awful, but it wasn’t reduced to that." 

The renowned Juilliard School and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are presenting HK Gruber’s opera Gloria - A Pig Tale.  
Alan Gilbert directs the rehearsal of Gloria - A Pig Tale, at Juilliard School, New York City, May 23, 2014. (Chris Lee)
Alan Gilbert directs the rehearsal of Gloria - A Pig Tale, at Juilliard School, New York City, May 23, 2014. (Chris Lee)
Visual artist and puppeteer Doug Fitch is directing it. He has also designed costumes that are sort of wearable art, for a story about a blonde pig, a wild boar, and avenging sausages.

"There’s a phalanx of nasty pig’s relatives and there is a chorus of frogs, of course, and a couple of be-bopping kind of oxen, with a couple of prophesy-spouting birds. So, it’s your regular opera," Fitch said with a laugh.

Juilliard grads Carlton Ford and Kevin Burdette could not resist croaking and be-bopping in one of the school’s practice rooms.  

"It’s fascinating music, because it’s intensely difficult," said Burdette, who sings the role of Roderigo, the wild boar. "But when it clicks in, it gets this kind of groove that sort of propels itself and it’s a hoot to sing, and I think, it’s probably for the audience, I think they’ll think it’s a gas."

Austrian composer HK Gruber’s work has been performed around the world, but one of the programs features completely unknown composers.

Last week, students at New York's Special Music School High School gathered to rehearse Beyond Outer, by 15-year-old Zachary Detrick.      

"I wanted to try to write a very atmospheric orchestra piece that kind of combines my feelings," Zachary said. "It ended up combining my feelings about the high school and, I don’t know, a little bit about how it feels to write music."

For New York Philharmonic music director Gilbert, making students' work part of the festival mix is absolutely crucial to his mission.

"Back in the 19th century, almost every concert was a new music concert," he said. "And I think that it’s so important for music to continue to encourage people, to give them the sense that they can compose."

He plans to make it a habit. In two years, Gilbert will again take a musical snapshot of the state of the art.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."