A High-Pressure Countdown for the New York Philharmonic’s New Maestro

September 20, 2018

Introducing Mr. van Zweden, 57, to New Yorkers is the Philharmonic’s first order of business. The orchestra has mounted a publicity campaign with posters, TV spots and web ads; programmed premieres to add spice to his opening weeks; and planned performances for city workers and others in April, at which all tickets will cost $5.

But rolling out a new maestro is not easy in 2018. The city may be a classical music capital, but the art form rarely breaks through to the broader culture, or even the local news. And the Philharmonic faces intense challenges as it greets him, most pressingly the much-delayed task of renovating its drab hall. So the stakes were high as the orchestra spent a week preparing to debut its new maestro on Thursday.

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