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PHOTOS: Second Michigan Performance Residency

The New York Philharmonic went west this weekend — to Ann Arbor for its second residency with the University Musical Society (UMS) of the University of Michigan (U-M) in conjunction with the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Music Director Designate Jaap van Zweden led Mahler; Leonard Slatkin led Bernstein featuring Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons; U-M students got the chance to perform with Philharmonic musicians; the Philharmonic presented lectures and master classes; and all saluted composer-conductor-former Music Director Leonard Bernstein in his centennial year.

“Gripping Performance” of Kaddish Symphony Caps Bernstein Festival Finale

 

The bad news: our three-week Bernstein’s Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival, saluting our beloved Laureate Conductor, is wrapping up.

The good news: there are still two more nights to catch the “gripping performance” (The New York Times) of Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony narrated by Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons (The Lion King, Reversal of Fortune) and the “glittering account” of R. Strauss’s Don Quixote. “[Kaddish Symphony] exudes a theatricality that is all Bernstein,” and in Don Quixote  “the Philharmonic’s Carter Brey played the extensive cello solo magnificently, and Cynthia Phelps excelled in the solo viola passages,” reports the newspaper of record.

Fun fact: Bernstein made his Philharmonic debut at age 25, then the Orchestra’s Assistant Conductor, leading Don Quixote — famously filling in with a few hours’ notice and without rehearsal for an ailing Bruno Walter. The New York Times ran a front-page story the next day, calling his performance “a good American success story.”

Plus: we introduce our youngest fans to Bernstein at this weekend’s Young People’s Concert — the series Bernstein made famous on TV — and perform his greatest Broadway hits on New Year’s Eve.

See you Saturday at 8 PM or Tuesday at 7:30 PM!

 

 

(Photos: Chris Lee)

Watch Live: N.Y. Philharmonic String Quartet at 92nd Street Y

Can’t make Sunday’s New York recital debut by the New York Philharmonic String Quartet at 92nd Street Y? Or just want to stay in now that winter has finally come? Watch it live online.

The concert, which is on Sunday at 3:00 PM, will be streamed live at 92Y On Demand and on our Facebook page.

The program is Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 4; Dvořák’s String Quartet in F major, American; and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in F minor. Formed in January 2017, the New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprises Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, and Principal Cello Carter Brey.

The quartet made its debut in March 2017 as the solo ensemble in John Adams’s Absolute Jest and reprised its performance on the Orchestra’s EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour. The group also performed during the Philharmonic’s annual Bravo! Vail summer residency, in July 2017. The New York Times called the ensemble “marvelous” and The Times called the players “exemplary” in their reviews of the performances of Absolute Jest in New York and London, respectively.

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Carter Brey and Cynthia Phelps On Reprising Musical Roles in Don Quixote

“Don Quixote takes himself seriously, and Strauss understands this,” Brey notes. “When he’s off tilting at windmills, he gets heroic battle music. When he’s jonesing after his girlfriend, you get the most meltingly beautiful love theme. Strauss leaves it to the audience to understand the tragedy implicit in the fact that this gentleman has lost his mind.”

A retired gentleman obsessed with books of chivalry, Don Quixote convinces himself that he is a valiant knight, leaving his squire, Sancho Panza, to clean up the mess. For the 15th time together, Principal Cello Carter Brey becomes the bemused knight and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps plays his beleaguered squire when the New York Philharmonic performs Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, November 9–14, led by Leonard Slatkin.

“I’ve learned a lot in my years of playing with Cindy,” Brey says. “Carter is one of the great, great Don Quixotes,” says Phelps.

Phelps perhaps came closest to embodying her besieged character back when she was principal viola of the Minnesota Orchestra. “I broke a string right before my first big solo entrance, and I had to grab my stand partner’s instrument. He in turn grabbed the No. 3’s viola, and she restrung mine for me.”

The performance is part of Bernstein’s Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival. Bernstein made his Philharmonic debut at age 25, then the Orchestra’s Assistant Conductor, leading Don Quixote — famously filling in with a few hours’ notice and without rehearsal for an ailing Bruno Walter. The New York Times ran a front-page story the next day, calling his performance “a good American success story.”

Break a string (or better yet, don’t!), Carter and Cindy!

In the Swing of the Bernstein Festival

Bernstein’s jazzy side took over David Geffen Hall last night when Alan Gilbert led the second program in our three-week salute to our former Music Director, Bernstein's Philharmonic: A Centennial Festival. Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill took on Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs, while our friend Makoto Ozone returned to play Bernstein’s part — literally, since he performed both pieces as a pianist! — in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Bernstein’s own Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety. After the concert the soloists met up with Board Member Laura Chang and Arnold Chavkin, who are providing major support for the festival.

You can still catch this fun program Saturday night.

And get excited with this New York Times Facebook Live video of Makoto Ozone talking about the program:

(Photos: Chris Lee)

On the Cover: Ru-Pei Yeh

“You were the best one in your row.” — Bill Murray to Ru-Pei Yeh, quoting his character in Ghostbusters

Ru-Pei’s journey to the New York Philharmonic began when she made a deal with her dad as a six-year-old growing up in Taiwan: if she continued studying cello through sixth grade, she could then choose to keep going or quit. 

Watch her Q & A video above to find out what happened! (Take a wild guess.) Ru-Pei also shares the story of meeting Bill Murray at a Philharmonic concert abroad, how she found her cello, and which cello section she thinks is the best in the world. 

In November you can find Ru-Pei on the cover of Playbill and featured on the Philharmonic’s social media channels. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr for more!

In December On the Cover will feature violinist Yulia Ziskel.

Learn more about Ru-Pei Yeh

New Young People’s Concerts Play! Explores Sibelius

Young People’s Concerts Play! (nyphil.org/ypcplay) has been making our beloved Young People’s Concerts (YPCs) accessible from the comfort of your own home or classroom with free on-demand streaming and learning games since the platform was unveiled this time last year.

Now, a new release, “Jean Sibelius — Music of a Hero, Music of a Nation,” explores what makes music sound heroic and how anthems can unite. There’s a composition game designed by NYU Steinhardt’s Music Experience Design Lab; videos featuring lessons with Philharmonic Teaching Artists and the Orchestra performing original music by Very Young Composers; and “Build Your Own Orchestra,” an interactive audio-visual experience that allows students to explore an orchestral piece with Philharmonic players.

Start playing!

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