The New York Philharmonic, globally known as New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO) or New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, is a symphony orchestra based in New York City. It is one of the leading American orchestras popularly referred to as the "Big Five". The Philharmonic's home is the Avery Fisher/ David Geffen Hall, located in New York's Lincoln Center. The music director is Alan Gilbert (USA, born Feb 23, 1967), who began his tenure in 2009.
The New York Philharmonic has received a vast number of Grammy Awards of Best Albums and Best Performances. Organized in 1842, the orchestra is one of America's oldest musical institutions. Its record-setting 14,000th concert was given in December 2004. On May 5, 2010, the New York Philharmonic performed its 15,000th concert, a milestone unmatched by any other symphony orchestra in the world.
The Avery Fisher/ David Geffen Hall is a 2,738 seat auditorium which was opened in 1962. The facility, designed by Max Abramovitz, was originally named Philharmonic Hall and was renamed in honor of philanthropist Avery Fisher, who donated $10.5 million to the orchestra in 1973. In November 2014, Lincoln Center officials announced Fisher's name would be removed from the Hall so that naming rights could be sold to the highest bidder as part of a $500 million fund-raising campaign to refurbish the Hall. David Geffen has donated $100 million US dollars to rename the Hall after him. The facility will be renamed David Geffen Hall in 2015.
The New York Philharmonic was founded in 1842 by the American conductor Ureli Corelli Hill, with the aid of the Irish composer William Vincent Wallace. The orchestra was then called the Philharmonic Society of New York. It was the third Philharmonic on American soil since 1799, and had as its intended purpose, "the advancement of instrumental music." The first concert of the Philharmonic Society took place on December 7, 1842 in the Apollo Rooms on lower Broadway before an audience of 600. The concert opened with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, led by Hill himself.
Alan Gilbert is the Philharmonic's current music director, since 2009. Gilbert plans to leave the Philharmonic in 2017, ahead of the major renovation planned for the Avery Fisher/ David Geffen Hall. Matthew VanBesien is the orchestra's Executive Director.
Music directors in the past decades
• 1958-1969 Leonard Bernstein
• 1969-1970 George Szell (music advisor)
• 1971-1977 Pierre Boulez
• 1978-1991 Zubin Mehta
• 1991-2002 Kurt Masur
• 2002-2009 Lorin Maazel
• 2009–2017 Alan Gilbert
The Big Five orchestras of the United States are the five symphony orchestras that led the field in "musical excellence, calibre of musicianship, total contract weeks, weekly basic wages, recording guarantees, and paid vacations" when the term gained currency in the late 1950s and for some years afterwards. In order of foundation, they were: New York Philharmonic (1842), Boston Symphony Orchestra (1881), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1891), Philadelphia Orchestra (1900) and Cleveland Orchestra (1918).
People still refer to the "Big Five", but many believe the classification to be outdated. Several critics have suggested that the top echelon is expanded. Seven American orchestras were numbered among the world's top 20 orchestras in a 2008 critics' poll by Gramophone. They were, in rank order, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (5th), the Cleveland Orchestra (7th), the Los Angeles Philharmonic (8th), the Boston Symphony Orchestra (11th), the New York Philharmonic (12th), the San Francisco Symphony (13th), and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (New York City) (18th). While The Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra would expand the American “Big Five”, the Philadelphia Orchestra did not rank among the world’s top 20.