Clive Gillinson, Carnegie's executive and artistic director, announced details of the upcoming season during a press conference held on the Perelman Stage of the hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium this morning.
One new initiative will be Carnegie Hall's first major festival: "Berlin in Lights," which will run November 2-18. The event will culminate in a residency by the Berlin Philharmonic and its music director, Simon Rattle, from November 11 _18; they will perform three concerts, including Mahler's last three major works and the U.S. premiere of Thomas Ads's Tevot. Also taking part in the festival will be the Sim‹n Bol‹var Youth Orchestra of Venezuela with conductor Gustavo Dudamel (Rattle will conduct half of one of their concerts). Other "Berlin in Lights" concerts will be given by the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berliner Barock Solisten.
There will also be a series of Berlin-related events in the week proceeding the Philharmonic residency, with a performance of cabaret music by Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester, techno music concerts, a performance by musicians from the German capital's Turkish and Kurdish communities, film screenings, and literary, political and architecture panels and exhibitions.
Opening Carnegie's season, in its first North American appearance, will be the Lucerne Festival Orchestra led by Claudio Abbado; the October 3 program features Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. The Lucerne band, with a core of musicians from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (both groups were founded by Abbado), will give seven performances over a five-day period.
Carnegie will offer more of its artist-curated Perspectives series; there will be three in 2007-08, featuring Valery Gergiev, Bobby McFerrin and Yefim Bronfman.
During his nine-event series, Gergiev will lead the Kirov Orchestra and Chorus, the Vienna Philharmonic and the MET Orchestra. The Kirov musicians (from St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, of which Gergiev is artistic director) and soloists will perform Act I of Glinka's Ruslan and Ludmila, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden, and Act II of Borodin's Prince Igor. As part of his Perspectives, Gergiev will also conduct Prokofiev's War and Peace and The Gambler at the Metropolitan Opera.
Bobby McFerrin, whom Gillinson called a "a generous musician and educator," will host seven Perspectives events, conducting and performing with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Alison Krauss, Chick Corea, and Jack DeJohnette. A highlight will be a performance with Voicestra, his 12-member vocal ensemble, which draws on everything from rhythm-and-blues to opera to world music traditions.
Pianist Yefim Bronfman will offer seven Perspectives concerts, including performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Mariss Jansons, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Gergiev, the MET Chamber Ensemble with James Levine at the piano, the New York String Orchestra conducted by Jaime Laredo, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; repertoire will range from Mozart to Webern to Prokofiev. Bronfman's series also includes a solo recital featuring the premiere of a new Carnegie Hall commission by J‹rg Widmann and a chamber music concert featuring the world premiere of a new work for piano trio by Marc-Andr_ Dalbavie, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall.
Thomas Ads will hold Carnegie's Composer's Chair next season; the position, previously a four-year commitment, has been reduced to one year. Gillinson explained that Carnegie wants to focus on a larger, more diverse and younger group of composers, pointing out that most young composers don't have a large enough body of works to sustain a four-year tenure. One highlight of the Ads residency will including the U.S. premiere of Tevot (commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Berlin Philharmonic); another will be Ads's New York solo recital debut as a pianist in Zankel Hall.
Making Music, Carnegie's series in which composers appear on stage for concerts where their works are discussed as well as performed, will feature Ads, Pierre Boulez, and Frederic Rzewski next season.
The new Ads work is among the 11 world premieres, 5 U.S. premieres, and 21 New York premieres offered in the upcoming season, among them Carnegie Hall commissions or co-commissions from composers Steve Reich, John Adams, David Lang and J‹rg Widmann. The American Composers Orchestra will give seven world premieres by composers including saxophonist Steve Coleman, Balinese gamelan specialist Michael Tenzer, and pianist Uri Caine.
Jazz offerings at Carnegie during 2007-08 include tenor saxophonist and composer David Sšnchez performing the New York premiere of Melaza, his new work for jazz sextet, and pianist Chick Corea and drummer Jack DeJohnette playing with Bobby McFerrin (as part of his Perspectives). Other artists include The Bad Plus, Manhattan Trinity with Cyrus Chestnut, and SFJAZZ Collective, featuring saxophonist Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas on trumpet, and Stefon Harris on vibraphone and marimba.
Conductors making Carnegie Hall debut appearances as music directors of their orchestras include Kent Nagano with the Orchestre symphonique de Montr_al, Marin Alsop with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Bernard Haitink as principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The vocal recital lineup includes Te Kanawa, the New York recital debut of mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, tenor Rolando Villaz‹n in his Carnegie Hall recital debut, and a joint, all Schubert recital with soprano Dorothea R‹schmann, tenor Ian Bostridge and bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff.
There is a strong lineup of pianists as well. Andršs Schiff inaugurates a two-year performance project of the complete Beethoven sonatas; also appearing are Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Alfred Brendel, Till Fellner, Angela Hewitt, Stephen Hough, Lang Lang, Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Mitsuko Uchida, and Krystian Zimerman.
As announced last November, the Juilliard School and Carnegie Hall will jointly form a music academy for post-graduate students, who will receive training and performance opportunities and teach in New York City schools. The pilot phase of the program (officially called "The Academy — A Program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute") will launch in January 2007 with 16 instrumental fellows, finishing in June.
For the moment, Carnegie concerts will only be available in real time and real space (that is to say, in person at the concert hall and not over the Web). Asked about disseminating concerts online, which more and more institutions are doing these days, Gillinson said Carnegie certainly aspires to do so, but that he doesn't "negotiate in public."
One press conference attendee commented that the ambitious programming must be costly; the new festivals will reportedly cost about $4 million in total. "We have to live within our means, but I always think that you go for the extraordinary, then figure out how to do it," said Gillinson. "Claudio Abbado [with whom Gillinson has worked both as a cellist and in his former position as managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra] told me, 'You've got to dream and then find a way to make it happen.'"