The New York Philharmonic plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world.

Each season the Philharmonic connects with up to 50 million music lovers through live concerts in New York City and on its worldwide tours and residencies as well as with its digital recording series; international broadcasts on television, radio, and online; and as a resource through its varied education programs. The New York Philharmonic’s 2017–18 season celebrates the Philharmonic’s greatest strengths and essential commitments while looking to the future as an innovative, global ensemble, spotlighting its musicians and partners, dedication to new music, wide-ranging repertoire, education programs, and accessibility. This season Jaap van Zweden serves as Music Director Designate of the New York Philharmonic. He becomes Music Director in the 2018–19 season, succeeding musical leaders including Alan Gilbert (2009–17); Lorin Maazel (2002–09); Kurt Masur (Music Director 1991–2002; named Music Director Emeritus in 2002); Zubin Mehta (1978–91); Pierre Boulez (1971–77); Leonard Bernstein (appointed Music Director in 1958; named Laureate Conductor in 1969); Arturo Toscanini (1928–36); and Gustav Mahler (1909–11).

Ureli Corelli Hill
American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, founder and first Conductor of the New York Philharmonic

Today, the Orchestra’s performances are enriched by collaborations among today’s leading artists and institutions. This season, Esa-Pekka Salonen completes his three-year tenure as The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes serves as The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence.

As a champion of the new music of its time, the Philharmonic has commissioned and / or premiered works by leading composers from every era since its founding — Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; Gershwin’s Concerto in F; and Berio’s Sinfonia, in addition to the U.S. Premieres of works such as Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 8 and 9 and Brahms’s Symphony No. 4. This pioneering tradition has continued to the present day, with works of major contemporary composers regularly scheduled each season, including John Adams’s Pulitzer Prize– and Grammy Award–winning On the Transmigration of Souls, dedicated to the victims of 9/11, and Scheherazade.2 — Dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto and Karawane; Christopher Rouse’s Symphony No. 4 and Prospero’s Rooms; Magnus Lindberg’s EXPO and Piano Concerto No. 2; Wynton Marsalis’s The Jungle (Symphony No. 4); John Corigliano’s One Sweet Morning, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra; and  Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos.

A resource for its community and the world, the New York Philharmonic complements annual free concerts across the city — including the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, which celebrated 50 years in the summer of 2015 — with Philharmonic Free Fridays, which offers free tickets to young people ages 13 to 26. The Orchestra has continued its famed Young People’s Concerts (ages 6–12), which began in 1924, and subsequently developed Very Young People’s Concerts (ages 3–6) and Young People’s Concerts for Schools (grades 3–12). The Philharmonic reaches thousands of students through Philharmonic Schools, the immersive classroom program spearheaded by the Philharmonic’s Teaching Artists; and Very Young Composers, which enables students to express themselves through original works, often performed by Philharmonic musicians. The Philharmonic also offers Insights at the Atrium, free discussions delving into the themes of the season. 

Committed to developing tomorrow’s leading orchestral musicians, the Philharmonic established the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and Residency Partnership and partnerships with Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and the University Musical Society of the University of Michigan.

Long a leader in American musical life, the Philharmonic has become renowned around the globe, having appeared in 432 cities in 63 countries on five continents. In October 2009 the Orchestra, led by then Music Director Alan Gilbert, made its debut in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the Hanoi Opera House. In February 2008 the musicians, led by then Music Director Lorin Maazel, gave a historic performance in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the first visit there by an American orchestra and an event that was watched around the world, and for which the Philharmonic received the 2008 Common Ground Award for Cultural Diplomacy. Other historic tours have included the groundbreaking 1930 tour to Europe, the first European tour with Toscanini; the first tour of South America and Latin America, in 1958; the first tour to the USSR, in 1959 with Leonard Bernstein; the 1984 Asia Tour, including the first tour of India with Zubin Mehta; the 1998 Asia Tour, with the first performances in mainland China with Kurt Masur; and the 75th Anniversary European Tour in 2005 with Lorin Maazel. In 2012 the Orchestra became an International Associate of London’s Barbican Centre; extended residencies in 2012, 2015, and 2017 have featured signature Philharmonic projects including a staged production and London editions of Young People’s Concerts and Very Young Composers. The ASIA 2018 tour, led by Jaap van Zweden, includes eight performances in Beijing, Kyoto, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Taipei.

The New York Philharmonic, a longtime media pioneer, began radio broadcasts in 1922 and is currently represented by The New York Philharmonic This Week — the award-winning series syndicated nationally 52 weeks per year and available on On television, in the 1950s and ’60s, the Orchestra inspired a generation through Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts on CBS. Its television presence has continued with annual appearances on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS, and in 2003 it made history as the first orchestra ever to make a solo appearance on the Grammy awards, one of the most-watched television events worldwide. Since 1917 the Philharmonic has made more than 2,000 recordings, with more than 500 currently available. In 2006 the New York Philharmonic was the first major American orchestra to offer downloadable concerts, recorded live, and followed this innovation with a self-produced digital recording series. In September 2016 the Philharmonic, which has the most Facebook fans of any American orchestra, produced its first-ever Facebook Live concert broadcast, and reached more than one million online viewers through three broadcasts that season. The Philharmonic launched its partnership with Decca Gold, Universal Music Group’s newly established U.S. classical music label, in February 2018 with the release of Jaap van Zweden and the Philharmonic’s performances of Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7, on CD and for streaming and download.

The Orchestra also shares its treasure trove of music history online through the ever-expanding New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, which currently makes available every printed program since 1842 as well as scores and parts marked by Philharmonic musicians and Music Directors, including Gustav Mahler and Leonard Bernstein; by the end of 2018 more than three million pages of documents from the Archives, one of the world’s most important orchestral research collections, will be available for free.

Founded in 1842 by local musicians led by American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. The roster of composers and conductors who have led the Philharmonic includes such historic figures as Theodore Thomas, Antonín Dvořák, Gustav Mahler (Music Director, 1909–11), Otto Klemperer, Richard Strauss, Willem Mengelberg (Music Director, 1922–30), Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini (Music Director, 1928–36), Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Bruno Walter (Music Advisor, 1947–49), Dimitri Mitropoulos (Music Director, 1949–58), Klaus Tennstedt, George Szell (Music Advisor, 1969–70), and Erich Leinsdorf.