Critic’s Choice

Wed Jan 23, 2019 at 8:00 am

A Julia Wolfe multimedia work has its world premiere Thursday through Saturday at David Geffen Hall. Photo: Peter Serling

A Julia Wolfe multimedia work has its world premiere Thursday through Saturday at David Geffen Hall. Photo: Peter Serling


Right after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday comes a big week for 20th-century American history in the concert hall.  The highest-profile event, the New York Philharmonic’s world premiere of Julia Wolfe’s multimedia work Fire in my mouth, joins music by Steven Stucky and Copland in a program that manages to address civil rights, Vietnam, immigration, and the labor movement all in one evening.

For another perspective on that time, check out “Sounds of the American Century,” Friday’s concert at Carnegie Hall by the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein with piano soloist Charlie Albright, featuring music by four of the era’s legendary composer/teacher/mentors.

Vivian Fine and Jacob Druckman are represented, respectively, by the neoclassical Concertante for Piano and Orchestra and the dazzlingly innovative Prism. From Robert Mann, longtime first violinist of the Juilliard Quartet, comes the enigmatic Fantasy for Orchestra, seldom if ever heard since its Philharmonic premiere in 1957. Closing the program, the man who had the idea to found the Juilliard Quartet, and was president of Juilliard School and Lincoln Center, William Schuman looms large in his energetic Symphony No. 3, one of the high peaks in the mid-century quest for the Great American Symphony.

The American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein with piano soloist Charlie Albright, performs works of Robert Mann, Vivian Fine, Jacob Druckman and William Schuman 8 p.m. Friday at Carnegie Hall. americansymphony.org; 212-868-9ASO (9276).

The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Jaap van Zweden with clarinet soloist Anthony McGill, performs works of Stucky and Copland, and a world premiere by Julia Wolfe, 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at David Geffen Hall. nyphil.org; 212-875-5656.


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