7 Songs, 49 Minutes


About Albany Symphony Orchestra & David Alan Miller

The Albany Symphony Orchestra, of the upstate New York city of Albany in the U.S., is notable for its strong commitment to contemporary music, rivaled in America perhaps only by the Louisville Orchestra. Yet the Albany Symphony also presents programming of broad mainstream appeal.

The orchestra was founded in 1930 as the People's Orchestra of Albany by conductor and Italian native John G. Carabella, a student of Pietro Mascagni who had come to New York state to take a job as an organist at a church in the Albany suburb of Cohoes. The Albany Symphony began with just 24 members, but it grew under subsequent conductors Rudolf Thomas, Ole Windingstad, Edgar Curtis, Julius Hegyi, and Geoffrey Simon. It was Hegyi, music director from 1965 to 1988, who steered the orchestra in the direction of performing and recording contemporary music. In 1992, David Alan Miller, former Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, became music director and remained in that post as of the late 2010s.

In New York's Capital District (Albany and surrounding areas), the orchestra performs at Albany's Palace Theatre and the acoustically noteworthy Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in nearby Troy. It is nationally recognized for its recordings, mostly made for labels specializing in contemporary American music. These have included New World Records, CRI, and Albany Records (unconnected with the orchestra, but headquartered in the same city). The group has also recorded for the Argo, Naxos, and London labels. The Albany Symphony won a Grammy award in 2014 for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for its Naxos recording of John Corigliano's Conjurer, featuring percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

In 2011, the Albany Symphony participated in the inaugural season of Spring for Music, a festival celebrating innovative programming by American orchestras, at Carnegie Hall in New York City; it was invited back in 2013. It has received 26 awards for adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers and Performers (ASCAP), more than any other American orchestra. ASCAP has also bestowed upon the Albany Symphony the John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music in 2013 and 2014. ~ James Manheim