Biography

The Grammy Award-winning conductor Alan Gilbert, served for more than a decade as Principal Guest Conductor of the ensemble when it was known as NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg; it has since adopted the name of its already-iconic new home, the Elbphilharmonie, which opened in January 2017 to worldwide acclaim.

Gilbert’s new position as Chief Conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, follows on the heels of his truly transformative eight-year tenure as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, where he was the first native New Yorker to hold the post, making “an indelible mark on the orchestra’s history and that of the city itself” (New Yorker), “building a legacy that matters and … helping to change the template for what an American orchestra can be” (New York Times).

In eight years as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Gilbert succeeded in transforming the orchestra, already one of the nation’s most venerable arts institutions, into a leader on the cultural landscape. He initiated the positions of Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, and Artist-in-Association. Staged productions of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen, Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake were presented to critical acclaim and capacity audiences, and he oversaw the development of two series devoted to contemporary music: CONTACT!, introduced in 2009, and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers, which was inaugurated in 2014 and returned in 2016 to a fanfare of critical approval.

Highlights of Gilbert’s recent European guest conducting engagements saw him make his staged operatic debut at La Scala with a new production of Porgy and Bess; reunite with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields to continue their recording of Beethoven’s complete piano concertos with Inon Barnatan; and make his first appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, where his program included works by Carl Nielsen, a composer he has consistently and ardently championed.

Elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2014, Gilbert has also been named an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He gave the 2015 lecture for London’s Royal Philharmonic Society during the New York Philharmonic’s European tour, speaking on “Orchestras in the 21st Century – a new paradigm,” and received a 2015 Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy.

 

Photo by Peter Hundert

Discography

Beethoven - Piano Concertos Part 1

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