In Friday’s (5/7) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “A bright red banner hanging over the entrances to Avery Fisher Hall on Wednesday indicated to all that the evening’s program by the New York Philharmonic was the orchestra’s 15,000th concert. No other orchestra comes close to matching that number. … The 15,000th concert happened to feature the next-to-last program of ‘The Russian Stravinsky: A Philharmonic Festival,’ the three-week survey of Stravinsky’s works that Valery Gergiev has been conducting. … Alan Gilbert (whose first concert as music director in September was No. 14,870, by the way) said that it was fitting for the 15,000th to be a Stravinsky program, since that composer made his American debut as a performer, 85 years ago, conducting the Philharmonic. Gary W. Parr, the orchestra’s chairman, gave a charming historical description of the first Philharmonic concert in 1842 at the Apollo Rooms on Broadway off Canal Street, at a time when development in Manhattan extended ‘way up to 14th Street.’ At that concert some 600 guests were greeted by the musicians in formal wear, complete with white gloves. Tickets cost a hefty 83 cents each. The program began with a work new to most listeners, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.”

Igor Stravinsky conducts the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in 1953.
Peter Stackpole/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Posted May 7, 2010