NEW YORK, September 18 – After 556 days of pandemic cancellations and unconventional concerts, the New York Philharmonic opened its new season on Friday, a ‘homecoming’ for musicians limited to live broadcasts, occasional outdoor shows for over a year.
After enduring months of crisis, the Phil, one of America’s oldest musical institutions, reopened its subscription season with a program featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4, Anna Clyne In her arms, Aaron Copland Quiet town and George Walker Antifony.
The pandemic forced the famous symphony orchestra to cancel its 2020-21 season, resulting in a loss of ticket revenue of more than $ 21 million (RM 87.6 million).
Hundreds of people lined up outside Alice Tully Hall in Manhattan’s Upper Westside in formal dress, showing proof of compulsory vaccination in order to enter for the night of orchestral music.
Catherine Colson arrived with friends ahead of what she planned to be “a memorable night of phenomenal music”.
âIt’s been a very long year. I feel rejuvenated, “she told AFP.” It’s like a rebirth of sorts. “
Adam Baltin said he wanted to attend the opening night to “celebrate the city and the arts”.
“It’s been so long.”
“We feel like coming home”
In addition to the challenges presented by Covid, the Phil is homeless: The orchestra’s longtime base, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, is in the midst of a major $ 550 million renovation.
Most of the 2021-22 season will take place in two other venues at the Lincoln Center Arts Complex on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Still, Chris Martin, the orchestra’s lead trumpeter, said the start of a new season “seems to be coming home.”
“I’m very excited. I almost feel like a rebirth as a musician,” he told AFP during a dress rehearsal before the evening.
âWe play 130, 140 gigs a year, and you never take it for granted, but sometimes you think, ‘Oh, I’m a little tired today, I have to replay this,’ but not anymore – I really feel such gratitude.
During Phil’s canceled season, the members began playing small pop-up concerts at surprise locations across town, getting creative for New Yorkers hungry for live music.
âPlaying outdoors is wonderful,â said Martin, adding that it allows artists to âconnect with the city in a different wayâ.
“But coming back to that space … having an audience again is the part that really feels like going back to basics.”
“An exciting new start”
Friday’s show comes days after the announcement of the resignation of Jaap van Zweden, Phil’s maestro since 2018, following the 2023-24 season.
The conductor has spent much of the pandemic in his home country, the Netherlands, with his family, and cited shifting work-life balance priorities when announcing his decision.
“It’s not out of frustration, it’s not out of anger, it’s not because of a difficult situation,” van Zweden said. The New York Times.
“It’s just out of freedom.”
The pandemic, which struck an early and particularly deadly blow in New York City, struck midway through the second season of the violinist-turned-conductor as musical director.
He was isolated from his musicians, barred for months from traveling to New York due to a ban on European travelers to the United States.
Friday’s show comes amid a fast-paced arts program in the city, days after the extravagant fashion-centric Met Gala and ahead of the Governors Ball music festival as well as the Metropolitan Opera’s reopening on September 27.
Kathy Greene, violinist with the Philharmonic Orchestra for 30 years, told AFP that she believes the members of the orchestra “play an important role in bringing New York back to normal, even if it starts very early. slowly, and it is still very temporary “.
“We are aiming in the right direction – this is a very optimistic and exciting new start and we hope things will evolve from here,” she said. – AFP