Stepping in to save New York Philharmonic’s Contact! new-music series for 2016-17

Posted on: October 17, 2016

“The New York Philharmonic “had quietly decided to suspend the Contact! new-music series, a defining feature of the Alan Gilbert era [as music director] at the orchestra … in an effort to save money,” writes Michael Cooper in Friday’s (10/14) New York Times. “But after Mr. Gilbert expressed his disappointment at its pending cancellation, a very unusual group of donors got together at the last minute to salvage at least a curtailed Contact! season. The donors … come from the orchestra itself: Matthew VanBesien, the orchestra’s president, who had reluctantly made the decision to suspend it; Mr. Gilbert, the music director; Jaap van Zweden, who will succeed him as music director; and Esa-Pekka Salonen, the orchestra’s composer in residence…. The Philharmonic had decided over the summer to … focus its new-music resources on larger-scale projects and symphonic commissions. The costs of the series were not very high … but it required significant staff time and planning … Mr. van Zweden … was dismayed when he heard that the Contact! series was being canceled and agreed to contribute his own money to help save it…. This curtailed Contact! series this season will probably involve a pair of chamber music concerts this spring.”

Posted October 17, 2016

Pictured: New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert rehearses with small ensemble for a Contact! concert