Marin Alsop

The sound of America: Age of Anxiety

The NDR festival »Age of Anxiety« is brought to an end by Leonard Bernstein’s Second Symphony conducted by Marin Alsop. The soloist is Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

»Age of Anxiety« is the title of the festival where the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra highlights 20th century American music. And it’s the name given by Leonard Bernstein to his Second Symphony, first performed in 1949, which can be heard in the Grand Hall at the festival’s closing concert. New York native Marin Alsop is on the conductor’s rostrum, while French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet plays the solo part.

The Artists

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester

Jean-Yves Thibaudet Klavier

Dirigentin Marin Alsop


Samuel Barber
Second Essay for Orchestra op. 17

John Adams
Fearful Symmetries für Orchester oder Kammerorchester

Leonard Bernstein
Sinfonie Nr. 2 für Klavier und Orchester »The Age of Anxiety«

Marin Alsop Marin Alsop © Adriane White
Jean-Yves Thibaudet Jean-Yves Thibaudet © Andrew Eccles
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra © Nikolaj Lund

About the music

Where can people find identity and security in the rapidly changing modern world? What ideals are they led by in an era of wars and unrest? These were the issues that inspired British-American writer W. H. Auden to his award-winning poem »The Age of Anxiety« in 1947. A year later, the American composer Leonard Bernstein began work on his Second Symphony, which took Auden’s idea as its underlying motif. He produced an impressive, purely instrumental portrait of the four individuals presented in the poem, whose search for identity is reflected by a wide range of musical styles. 

The conductor of the concert, New York native Marin Alsop, juxtaposes Bernstein’s masterpiece with works by two of his American colleagues, Samuel Barber and John Adams. The great Neo-Romantic Barber likewise made use of a literary form: like a writer, in his »Essay for Orchestra« he evolved a short work rich in ideas from one basic musical motif.

Festival »Age of Anxiety«

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