Tom talks to American conductor Alan Gilbert in his first season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, ahead of his first UK appearances with the orchestra at London’s Barbican Centre.
Gilbert follows in the footsteps of recent incumbents Lorin Maazel and Kurt Masur, and inherits a legacy which also includes Mahler, Toscanini and Leonard Bernstein. But in recent years, despite the technical brilliance of the orchestra under Maazel, the New York Phil has lost some ground to other US orchestras including Los Angeles and Cleveland. Gilbert talks about new repertoire and a new vision for the orchestra – and how he plans to make it the pride of New York.
Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic at the Barbican Centre in London on 3 and 4 February
Composer Nico Muhly, who lives in New York, has been hailed as one of the brightest young talents on the American music scene. Still in his late 20s, he has worked as an arranger and collaborator with Björk and Philip Glass, and created studio albums fusing the worlds of acoustic and electronic music.
Muhly is currently touring with the Britten Sinfonia, for whom he’s written two new works including one for tenor Mark Padmore and violinist Pekka Kuusisto. Tom meets him at the Roundhouse in Camden and discovers that his biggest musical inspirations are English composers – from Byrd, Tallis and Gibbons to Benjamin Britten.
The Camden Roundhouse concert on 24 January will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now on 17 April
First performed in the Royal Opera’s Linbury Studio in 2008, composer Helen Chadwick’s music theatre piece Dalston Songs draws on the stories of people in her local community of Dalston – an area of East London which is home to an astonishing diversity of metropolitan life.
Drawing on interviews with the people who live on her street, Chadwick has created a work which explores the concept of ‘home’ – as a place, but also lived out in relationships and experiences. Tom drops in on a rehearsal to hear the song-cycle come to life and ask Chadwick about the inspiration behind the project.
Dalston Songs runs 3-6 February at the Royal Opera House, London
British conductor Julia Jones was born on the Isle of Man and trained at the Guildhall School of Music in London, yet nowadays her time is spent between Lisbon (where she runs the San Carlo opera house and Portuguese Symphony Orchestra), her home in France and travelling as a guest conductor to some of the world’s major opera houses.
Despite not being a household name in the UK, Jones is one of the most successful British conductors in the world. During rehearsals for her Covent Garden debut conducting Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, she tells Tom what home means for her and why the UK is far behind the rest of the world in gender-equality on the conductor’s podium.
Julia Jones conducts Cosi fan Tutte at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 29 January – 17 February