New York Philharmonic “Coming Home” After 18 Months In The Dark

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(AFP) – After 556 days of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the philharmonic orchestra of New York finds Friday a classic scene for its season 2021 – 21, a “return à la maison “which relieves its musicians.

On display for this new season are Beethoven’s piano concerto n ° 4 and more contemporary works by Aaron Copland (“Quiet city”), George Walker (“Antifonys”) and Anna Clyne (“Within her arms”).

The pandemic had forced the famous symphony orchestra, one of the oldest American musical institutions, to put aside its season 2020 – 2021, or 21 millions of dollars in box office losses.

And the orchestra now finds itself without its case traditional, the David Geffen room in the Lincoln Center being in full renovation, a project to 140 millions of dollars. But even if the “Phil” will have to fall back on two other venues in downtown Manhattan, the orchestra’s main trumpeter, Chris Martin, feels like “coming home.”

“As a musician, I see it almost as a rebirth,” he told AFP during a dress rehearsal.

“We play 130, 130 concerts per year (…) sometimes you you say + I’m a little tired today, I still have to play this + but it’s over, I really feel a lot of gratitude “, he explains.

Throughout the season, the musicians performed at impromptu sessions in town, to satisfy New Yorkers deprived of concerts.

“Playing outdoors is wonderful”, agrees Chris Martin, adding that it allows artists to stay “connected to the city in a different way.”

The preparation for this premiere was also marked by the announcement this week from dep art of conductor Jaap van Zweden after season 2023 – 24.

“It is not a question of frustration, nor anger, nor coming from a difficult situation”, explained to the New York Times the Dutch musician, who lived the pandemic with his family, in their country of origin. “It’s just out of freedom,” he added.

The Covid hit New York hard in the middle of the second season of the Philharmonic’s musical director, who found himself isolated from his orchestra, with the impossibility of traveling to the United States.

The opening of the philharmonic season is one more step in the return to a form of normalcy for New York’s cultural life, following the extravagant Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) gala on Monday evening. On 27 September, it will be the turn of the Metropolitan Opera. For all indoor shows, the obligation to be vaccinated against Covid is in effect in New York.

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