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Classical 101

New York Philharmonic: 15,000th Concert!

The New York Philharmonic is an orchestra that really keeps track of things. This evening (May 5) at 7:30pm, they will present their 15,000th concert. One of the premier symphony orchestras of our land is also the oldest in the United States, founded in 1842. Over the years 1,590 musicians have served as members of the orchestra, and they have performed for an estimated 46,835,718 people live in concert. The Wednesday evening concert will feature an all-Stravinsky program with visiting conductor Valery Gergiev. (In recognition of this event, one of the works on that program, the ballet score, Petrushka, will also be on Symphony at 7 tonight.) Alan Gilbert is the newest Music Director of the N.Y. Phil, having taken up that post in September of 2009. He follows an illustrious list of conductors who, in just the past 50 years include, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, and of course, Leonard Bernstein. If we go back farther in the orchestra's history, some truly important figures in music have led the ensemble: Antonin Dvorak, Gustav Mahler (Music Director, 1909-1911), Otto Klemperer, Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Mengelberg (Music Director, 1922-1930), Wilhelm Furtwangler, Arturo Toscanini (Music Director, 1928-1936), Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Bruno Walter, Dmitri Mitrpoulos (Music Director 1949-1958), and the list just seems to go on. Especially since the age of television, this orchestra and some of its notable guest artists have been well documented for people to see and hear if they can't make it to a live concert. Here's Stravinsky conducting the N.Y. Phil in some of his own music from The Firebird in 1960: [youtube CDy7xqDB6W8 490 344] --John Rittmeyer