In 2009 Alan Gilbert became the first native New Yorker ever to become music director of the New York Philharmonic. At 42, he was among the youngest ever, as well. Gilbert has led both concert and operatic performances and briefly served as an assistant concertmaster in Santa Fe. Though his repertory is broad, he has programmed much contemporary music, often by American composers. Indeed, in his debut at the Met he led an acclaimed performance of John Adams' Doctor Atomic, and he has conducted concert works by Corigliano, Glass, Rouse, and non-Americans Magnus Lindberg, Daniel Börtz, Thomas Adès, and others. But Gilbert has led much mainstream fare, too, from Mozart and Beethoven to Mahler and Stravinsky. This mixture of standards and contemporary works is evident in his fairly sizable discography, which is available from BIS, Sony, and other major labels.
Alan Gilbert was born in New York City on February 23, 1967. His mother is a violinist with the New York Philharmonic, as was his father, who retired in 2001. From his childhood, Gilbert studied violin, viola, and piano. His first advanced studies were at Harvard University. He also took instruction during his Harvard years from violin virtuoso and pedagogue Masuko Ushioda. Gilbert later studied conducting at Curtis Institute and Juilliard, and briefly (1994) with Georg Solti.
In 1993 Gilbert was appointed assistant concertmaster in the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. He accepted his first conducting post in 1995, as assistant conductor with the Cleveland Orchestra. Two years later he won the prestigious Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award.
From 2000-2008 Gilbert served as chief conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2003 he returned to Santa Fe to take the post of music director of the opera company, serving until 2006. Meanwhile, Gilbert was also making many guest-conducting appearances with the New York Philharmonic, eventually totaling up 37. On July 18, 2007, the orchestra's management announced his appointment as music director, beginning with the 2009-2010 season.
Gilbert's 2008 recording of Prokofiev's Scythian Suite, on CSO Resound, was nominated for a Grammy Award. In 2009 he was appointed William Schuman Chair in music studies at Juilliard. After taking the helm in New York, Gilbert created new composer- and artist-in-residence posts. Magnus Lindberg has served in the former, while Anne-Sophie Mutter held the latter for the 2010-2011 season. Among Gilbert's more acclaimed operatic recordings is Doctor Atomic, a 2011 Sony DVD.