New York Philharmonic to celebrate Bernstein, ‘Star Wars’
The New York Philharmonic will mark the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with a festival of his works in a season that will also feature John Williams’s music from the “Star Wars” saga.
Announcing its 2017-18 season on Wednesday, the leading US orchestra announced it would perform all three symphonies of Bernstein, who served as the Philharmonic’s music director from 1958 to 1969 and as a conductor for years later.
The Philharmonic will also perform the best-known works of Bernstein — his music to Broadway shows including “West Side Story.”
In a separate event likely to pull in crowds, the Philharmonic will play Williams’ scores to four “Star Wars” films set to screenings of the blockbuster movies.
The “Star Wars” concerts will be conducted by David Newman, himself a prolific composer in Hollywood who followed in the footsteps of his father Alfred Newman.
The upcoming season comes at a moment of transition for the New York Philharmonic, with Alan Gilbert stepping down as music director this year.
Gilbert will nonetheless return to conduct select performances including some during the Bernstein festival.
Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden, who formally takes over in 2018-19, will lead the Philharmonic on a tour of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in March 2018.
Zweden will also conduct on the opening night of the upcoming season on September 19 as he presents Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
The Philharmonic season will include two commissioned world premieres — works by Danish composer Bent Sorensen and Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir.
Anna, who holds the position of emerging composer at the Philharmonic, said in a statement that her work was inspired by “the natural phenomenon of chaos and its relationship to structure, order and beauty.”
Esa-Pekka Salonen, a leading contemporary composer who made his name leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will conduct the work.
Salonen, who is the New York Philharmonic’s composer-in-residence, will also select works next year for the latest biennial, which will explore modern music.