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New York Philharmonic Orchestra

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The New York Philharmonic, founded in 1842 by a group of local musicians led by American-born Ureli Corelli Hill, is by far the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. It currently plays some 180 concerts a year, and on December 18, 2004, gave its 14,000th concert — a milestone unmatched by any other symphony orchestra in the world.

Lorin Maazel began his tenure as Music Director in September 2002, the latest in a distinguished line of 20th-century musical giants that has included Kurt Masur (Music Director from 1991 to the summer of 2002; named Music Director Emeritus in 2002); Zubin Mehta (1978–91); Pierre Boulez (1971–77); and Leonard Bernstein, who was appointed Music Director in 1958 and given the lifetime title of Laureate Conductor in 1969. In September 2009 Alan Gilbert will become the Orchestra's next Music Director.

Since its inception the Orchestra has championed the new music of its time, commissioning or premiering many important works, such as Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, From the New World; Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3; Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F; and Copland's Connotations. The Philharmonic has also given the U.S. premieres of works such as Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 8 and 9 and Brahms's Symphony No. 4. This pioneering tradition has continued to the present day, with works of major contemporary composers regularly scheduled each season, including John Adams's Pulitzer Prize– and Grammy Award–winning On the Transmigration of Souls; Stephen Hartke's Symphony No. 3; Augusta Read Thomas's Gathering Paradise, Emily Dickinson Settings for Soprano and Orchestra; and Esa-Pekka Salonen's Piano Concerto.

The roster of composers and conductors who have led the Philharmonic includes such historic figures as Theodore Thomas, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvorák, Gustav Mahler (Music Director, 1909–11), Otto Klemperer, Richard Strauss, Willem Mengelberg (Music Director, 1922–30), Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini (Music Director, 1928–36), Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Bruno Walter (Music Advisor, 1947–49), Dimitri Mitropoulos (Music Director, 1949–58), Klaus Tennstedt, George Szell (Music Advisor, 1969–70), and Erich Leinsdorf.

Long a leader in American musical life, the Philharmonic has over the last century become renowned around the globe, appearing in 422 cities in 59 countries on five continents. In February 2008 the Orchestra, led by Music Director Lorin Maazel, gave a historic performance in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the first visit there by an American orchestra, and an event watched around the world and for which the Philharmonic received the 2008 Common Ground Award for Cultural Diplomacy. Other historic tours have included the 1930 Tour to Europe, with Toscanini; the first Tour to the USSR, in 1959; the 1998 Asia Tour, the first performances in mainland China; and the 75th Anniversary European Tour, in 2005, with Lorin Maazel.

A longtime media pioneer, the Philharmonic began radio broadcasts in 1922 and is currently represented by The New York Philharmonic This Week — syndicated nationally 52 weeks per year, and available on and XM Satellite Radio. The Orchestra’s concerts are also broadcast throughout Europe on BBC Radio 3. On television, in the 1950s and 1960s, the Philharmonic inspired a generation through Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts on CBS. Its television presence has continued with annual appearances on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS, and in 2003 it made history as the first Orchestra ever to perform live on the Grammy Awards, one of the most-watched television events worldwide. More recently, the Philharmonic became the first major American orchestra to offer downloadable concerts, recorded live, and released by DG Concerts. Since 1917 the Philharmonic has made nearly 2,000 recordings, with more than 500 currently available.

On June 4, 2007, the New York Philharmonic proudly announced a new partnership with Credit Suisse, its first-ever and exclusive Global Sponsor.

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