Gilbert contemplates Vermeer

Posted on: September 10, 2009

In Wednesday’s (9/9) Wall Street Journal, Barrymore Laurence Scherer speaks with Alan Gilbert. “We are walking, through the soothingly empty halls of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, en route upstairs to one of Mr. Gilbert’s favorite galleries, containing works by Jan Vermeer and other 17th-century Dutch painters,” writes Scherer. “The museum is so quiet ¬because it’s a Monday, when the Met is closed except to special visitors. Mr. Gilbert is distinctly special: On Sept. 16 he opens his first season as music director of the New York Philharmonic. … Our visit, squeezed into Mr. Gilbert’s tight schedule, anticipates the museum’s small but important Vermeer exhibition, opening one floor below on Sept. 10. … One can understand why Vermeer’s serenity and balance appeal so strongly to Mr. Gilbert. While listening a few weeks earlier to him conduct the Philharmonic in works by Dvorak and Peter Lieberson, it seemed to me that these two qualities characterized his own energy on the ¬podium. … In previous conversations, Mr. Gilbert mentioned his desire to use his new Philharmonic ¬position to focus attention on all of New York’s cultural institutions, the Metropolitan ¬Museum—where the Philharmonic players perform chamber music—among them.”

Posted September 10, 2009