14 August 2013
Forever Becky Young
Before she became the Philharmonic’s Associate Principal Viola, before she became host of the Very Young People’s Concerts, Rebecca Young hobnobbed with Leonard Bernstein at a Young People’s Concert back when she was a young person herself.
As host of the VYPCs, Becky says she gets to “run around the stage in a fun and lively way, engaging our youngest concert-goers as we introduce them to classical music.”
Photo courtesy of the New York Philharmonic Digital Archives.
2 August 2013
Enjoy the Weekend
Maybe even go native, as Leonard Bernstein did during the Phil’s 1960 tour to Hawaii, where a coconut palm was planted in his honor. See more from the luau in the Philharmonic’s Digital Archives.
24 July 2013
The New York Philharmonic Club, a chamber ensemble of Philharmonic musicians, clowning for their public-relations photograph in the 1880s. New York Philharmonic Archives
5 July 2013
24 June 2013
Three Ways of Looking at Petrushka
This week’s performances of A Dancer’s Dream will, in part, bring Stravinsky’s Petrushka to the stage in a way that hasn’t been seen before at the New York Philharmonic. And that’s saying something, as over the years the Orchestra has seen a number of incarnations of the commedia dell’arte fantasy. Three sit in the Digital Archives, all marked by Leonard Bernstein to different degrees of thoroughness. You can browse all three here.
17 June 2013
Eye on Igor
"My music is best understood by children and animals."
A happy 131st birthday to Igor Stravinsky, composer, conductor, and Honorary Member of the Philharmonic. We’re squeezing a lot of Stravinsky into our final few weeks of the 2012–13 season, with performances of his suite from The Firebird concluding tomorrow and two of his ballets — The Fairy’s Kiss and Petrushka — forming the basis of our season finale, A Dancer’s Dream.
Unsurprisingly, the New York Philharmonic Digital Archives is a treasure trove of Stravinsky photos and other memorabilia. Some of our favorites (including shots with Leonard Bernstein and, separately, Elliott Carter, as well as a moment in which Igor takes time to stop and smell the roses) are above. You can browse through more here.
13 June 2013
An oldie-but-goodie from our friends at the Kaufman Music Center rings (ahem) particularly apt this week with the bassoon showcase that is Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. In a score from our Digital Archives, the famous melody for the often-maligned instrument is shown in its full glory, as marked by Andre Kostelanetz.
12 June 2013
The Bird is the Word
The Firebird, that is. This week’s concerts at the Philharmonic feature the suite from Stravinsky's popular ballet, based on a popular snippet of Russian folklore. However, the music as we know it now almost never was: Ballets Russes impresario Sergei Diaghilev commissioned the 27-year-old Stravinsky to create the score after composer Anatol Liadov missed out on the opportunity and other candidates (including Tcherepnin, Glazunov, and Sokolov) backed out.
Stravinsky had his misgivings, but Diaghilev, along with Ballets Russes colleagues Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Léon Bakst, and Alexandre Benois, met with him in a summit that led the young composer to accept the commission, which premiered just over 100 years ago, on June 25, 1910. It also sparked a longstanding collaboration with Diaghilev, which included the momentous Rite of Spring and another work that will be performed by the Philharmonic this month, Petrushka.
(Images of costume and set designs for The Firebird courtesy of the New York Philharmonic Digital Archives.)
11 June 2013
Today marks the 149th anniversary of the birth of composer Richard Strauss, who can be heard on two separate programs in the New York Philharmonic’s upcoming 2013-14 season: First up in November, Alan Gilbert conducts both Also sprach Zarathustra and Don Juan, following which Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos steps in to lead Ein Heldenleben in December (both of these concerts are also highlights of our concertmaster Glenn Dicterow's farewell season).
Seen here in a caricature from the New York Philharmonic Digital Archives that played on his famous and scandalous opera Salome, Strauss had a relationship with his wife (soprano Pauline de Ahna) that often became stranger than drama. One famous story recounted by Elizabeth Lunday describes a particularly famous row in de Ahna’s dressing room. Several orchestra musicians intervened following a bout of screams and crashes to tell their maestro that, out of loyalty, they would no longer play for any production involving Pauline.
"That distresses me," replied Strauss, "as I have just become engaged to Fraulein de Ahna."