In Wednesday’s (5/18) New York Times, Peter G. Davis writes, “Gustav Mahler, who died in Vienna a century ago today, was a New Yorker for the last three years of his life and, for that brief time, arguably the most famous musician in town. It’s not a trivial point—as a conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and then at the New York Philharmonic, he set musical standards that resonate even today. … Despite his short time among us, Mahler left as large a footprint as his successors. … Mahler needed little encouragement to accept the Philharmonic’s invitation to become its music director in 1909. … Fleeting traces of his influence on the Philharmonic may be heard even today. He reorganized the orchestra, hired new musicians, rehearsed them tirelessly and greatly increased the number of concerts, laying the foundation of the orchestra we know today. Indeed, even some Philharmonic musicians acknowledge feeling an extra sense of commitment when they play a Mahler symphony today, simply because the composer had once lived and worked with their predecessors.”

Posted May 18, 2011