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Alan Gilbert Conducts the Vienna Symphony
Peter Vujica | The Standard (Vienna) | 20 March 2009

It was not necessarily a foregone conclusion that this concert would turn out to be without a doubt one of the most important of the season so far. ... The evening's not infrequent special moments came from the stirring impetus of Alan Gilbert, the 42 year-old conductor from New York. With his sturdy build and the combination in his gestures of sensitivity and almost commanding directness, he recalls Christian Thielemann from a certain distance. It's not surprising that the New York Philharmonic wanted, and fortunately got, him to succeed Lorin Maazel next season as chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, the first one born in New York.

Gilbert, who conducted 'Carmen' at the State Opera in 2007, clearly demonstrated his abilities in this concert with the Vienna Symphony. From the start of the Coriolan Overture it was clear that this orchestra, when properly challenged, can deliver Beethoven with emotional and dynamic conviction.

The balance between Shostakovich's desire to be modern and the folksiness required of him in the first cello concerto was brilliantly underlined, particularly because Gilbert clearly and precisely differentiated his gestures for the entrances by different groups within the orchestra. ...

All these characteristics were equally apparent in Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, which the audience acclaimed enthusiastically.