Alan Gilbert, Chillin’ with Death

05/14/2010 12:37 PM |


The New York Philharmonic has been making pains to connect with The Kids, and not just with a Twitter feed and a Facebook. For its “Contact!” concerts, highlighting new works by young composers, they not only invited bloggers to the show, but set up a live-blogging area for them to work. For the upcoming New York premiere of György Ligeti’s opera “Le Grand Macabre,” they’ve been going all out, posting to the website character sketches, clips, podcasts, and backstage video.

But nothing as strange as what’s went up yesterday.

At 1:48 a.m. Thursday, I received an email from “nekrotzar” with a broken link and a YouTube URL, bringing me to the homepage of a user named “breughelland,” which happens to be the name of the town in which Ligeti’s opera is set. The page features three videos of Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert hanging out with Death, the upcoming opera’s lead character, dressed here face-to-foot in black robes: they play Guitar Hero, discuss ice cream flavors, and, in my favorite, discuss the premiere of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. (Watch it below.)

I’m glad we finally have a musical director in New York with a sense of humor and a modest understanding of the modern world, even if he doesn’t have crazy hair. It’s little things like this that make me really, really like e adorable Alan Gilbert.