An American in Paris? No, in Hamburg! New Yorker Alan Gilbert has been in charge of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra since 2019. After the coronavirus wreaked havoc on his debut and second seasons in the role, it’s now finally time to really get going again. To that end, Gilbert has put popular classics of the musical interplay between the Old and New World on the programme, simultaneously providing a preview of the »Age of Anxiety« festival in February. In star guest Yo-Yo Ma, a long-time friend of Gilbert’s, the concert features another renowned figure who pioneered the promotion of international understanding through music.
»My passion is not really for music. My passion is actually for people. The exploration into different musics has to do with trying to figure out who these people are.«
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester
Yo-Yo Ma violoncello
conductor Alan Gilbert
Symphonic Dances from »West Side Story«
Concerto for violoncello and orchestra in a minor op. 22
- Interval -
An American in Paris / Tone Poem for orchestra
Leonard Bernstein's »West Side Story«, which transposes Shakespeare's Italian love story about Romeo and Juliet to 1950s New York, fired the starting shot for the development of an original American music theatre with its bold mixture of classical Western music, progressive jazz and Latin American rhythms.
Gershwin's »An American in Paris« in turn shows what happens when a jazz lover from New York visits a pulsating city in »old Europe«.
A rarity and a first performance
Samuel Barber was one of the best-known 20th century American composers, albeit one who is under-represented in Europe. With his 1946 Cello Concerto, a work that was advanced for its time, Yo-Yo Ma shows that Barber wrote more great music besides his famous »Adagio for Strings«.
The varied programme of the opening concert comes to an end with the overdue first performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage's »Time Flies«. This work, designed by the British composer as a trip around the world in three movements that takes us from London via Hamburg to Tokyo, was originally scheduled for performance last year at the 70th anniversary concert of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra. We are all the more delighted that this long-awaited premiere can now take place at the opening of the new season.