Alan Gilbert is the first native New Yorker ever to become music director of the New York Philharmonic, and at 42, he was among the youngest ever, as well. Gilbert has led both concert and operatic performances, and his repertoire is broad, programming much contemporary music, often by American composers. This mixture of standards and contemporary works is evident in his fairly sizable discography, which is available from several major labels.
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 in 1994 with Georg Solti. In 1993, Gilbert was appointed assistant concertmaster in the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. Two years later, he accepted his first conducting post as the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra. He won the prestigious Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award in 1997.
In 2011, Gilbert became the director of conducting and orchestral studies at Juilliard, where he was the first person appointed the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. He has earned two Emmy Award nominations for his work on PBS' Live from Lincoln Center program.