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Save the Date 2011  1  2 3  5 The Season PB
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Black Tie International:
Christopher Plummer with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic

Christopher Plummer

Photo by:  Richard Bain





SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2011 8:00 pm

Manhattan School of Music Symphonic Chorus and
Chamber Choir


American Boychoir
to perform in the Walton work.

The program will open with Overture and Bacchanal

from Wagner’s Tannhauser.


Christopher Plummer, one of the finest classical actors today, has spent 60 years in the theater and is a veteran of well over 100 motion pictures. In his long and  distinguished Broadway career, he has starred in many prestigious productions, and has also been a leading member of Britain’s National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare
Company, and Canada’s Stratford Festival. Among his honors are Tony, Emmy, and major awards in the UK and Canada, in addition to the National Film Critics’ Award and last year’s Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Tolstoy in The Last Station.

Mr. Plummer has written and directed for the stage, television, and the concert hall, and is the author of a memoir, In Spite of Myself. He holds an honorary doctor of fine arts from The
Juilliard School, and in 1986, was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Mr. Plummer played the Henry role in 1956 at the age of 26 at the Canada Stratford Shakespeare Festival. It launched his career.
” I was Suddenly taken seriously,” he told the New York Times in 1981. He has performed it several times since and, as an accomplished pianist, has also branched out musically to narrate concert versions of Henry V, Peer Gynt, and Ivan the Terrible.

New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, began his tenure in September 2009, creating what New York magazine called “a fresh future for the Philharmonic.”
The first native New Yorker to hold the post, he has sought to make the Orchestra a point of civic pride for the city
as well as for the country.

Mr. Gilbert’s creative approach to programming combines works in fresh and innovative ways. He has also forged artistic partnerships, introducing the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, an annual three-week festival, and CONTACT!,
the new-music series.

In 2011–12 he conducts world premieres, three Mahler symphonies, a residency at  London’s Barbican Centre, and tours to Europe and California, with a season-concluding musical exploration of space at the Park Avenue Armory, featuring Stockhausen’s theatrical immersion, Gruppen. Last season’s highlights included two tours of European capitals, Carnegie Hall’s 120th Anniversary Concert, and the acclaimed performance of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, hailed by the Washington Post as “another victory,”following on
the heels of 2010’s wildly successful staging of Ligeti’s
 Le Grand Macabre, which The New York Times called
 “an instant Philharmonic milestone.”

In September 2011 Alan Gilbert becomes Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, where he is also the first to hold the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and
Principal Guest Conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra,
he regularly conducts leading orchestras nationally and internationally, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Alan Gilbert made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in November 2008 leading John Adams’s Doctor Atomic. His recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards and received top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone Magazine. He
studied at Harvard University, The Curtis Institute of Music, and The Juilliard School, and served as the assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra (1995–97). In May 2010 Mr. Gilbert received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music.

The department of choral studies at the Manhattan School of Music, led by Kent Tritle since 2008, has two primary choral ensembles. The Symphonic Chorus is a large choral ensemble, made up of first- and second-year undergraduate students, designed to explore the great choral literature from Baroque to modern. Past performances have included Orff’s Carmina burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s cantata, Jesu, meine Freude, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, Brahms’s Ein deutches Requiem, Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, and Rossini’s Petit Messe Sollenelle.
The Chamber Choir is Manhattan School of Music’s premier small choral ensemble, comprising advanced undergraduate and graduate students, which explores a wide variety of choral literature from every corner of the international choral repertoire. Recently the Chamber Choir performed on tour in Washington, D.C., and made its debut at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The American Boychoir, under the direction of Litton-Lodal Music Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, is regarded as one of the United States’s premier concert boys’ choirs and one of the finest in the world. The American Boychoir is the only non-sectarian boarding
choir school for boys grades four through eight in the U.S. that integrates a professional  music education with rigorous academics. The American Boychoir performs and records regularly with world-class artists and ensembles such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, soprano Jessye Norman, pop diva Beyoncé, and Sir Paul McCartney. The American Boychoir last appeared with the New York Philharmonic in September 2009 in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, conducted by Music
Director Alan Gilbert.


Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser, an adaptation of the legend of the 13th-century Minnesinger (medieval German poet-musician) of the same name, completely befuddled the audience that attended its premiere in 1845. This was partly due to the new formal
and stylistic ground Wagner was beginning to explore as an opera composer. For his setting of the legend, Wagner combined two tales of Tannhäuser: his escape from the seductive clutches of Venus and subsequent redemption through religious devotion, and his participation in a singing contest at Wartburg Castle. The Overture lays out the opera’s themes of sacred and profane love, introducing the themes of both the Pilgrim’s Chorus and the Hymn to Venus. The subsequent Bacchanal, which opens the opera, depicts the frenzied revelries of Venus and her consort. The New York Philharmonic first performed the Overture and Bacchanal in March 1879, when Leopold Damrosch led the New York Symphony (which later merged with the New York Philharmonic to form the
present-day New York Philharmonic); most recently it was performed on tour in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2004, led by Lorin Maazel.

Sir William Walton (who was knighted by King George VI in 1951) was invited by Laurence Olivier to compose the score for the 1944 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V, which he was producing, directing, and in which he was starring. They became  fast friends, and Walton went on to provide the scores for Olivier’s subsequent films of
Hamlet and Richard III. Writing about Henry V, Olivier stated: “William Walton’s part in the success of the film was unique. Why he never achieved any Oscars for this or any of my other Shakespeare films must remain a prime example of the miasmicly mysterious conclusions reached by the award-winning organizations.” The film dramatizes Henry’s military campaign in France in 1415, showing the king as a skillful soldier and leader who is able to unite dissident factions in the English army and defeat the French at Agincourt. Christopher Palmer’s Henry V: A Shakespeare Scenario — presented in this performance — is divided into eight scenes: Prologue, At the Boar’s Head, Embarkation, Interlude, Harfleur, Agincourt, Interlude — At the French Court, and Epilogue.

* * *

Credit Suisse is the Global Sponsor of the New York Philharmonic.

* * *

Programs of the New York Philharmonic are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

* * *

Tickets for this performance are $35 to $145, and may be purchased online at

or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,
Monday through Saturday, and 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets may also be purchased at the
Avery Fisher Hall Box Office or the Alice Tully Hall Box Office at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 65th Street. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after

performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic’s Customer Relations Department 212-875-5656.
(ticket prices subject to change.


Joyce Brooks

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