Alan Gilbert

Alan Gilbert was chief conductor from 2000–08. He was then appointed Conductor Laureate. To date, he has conducted the orchestra in 239 concerts (as of January 2017).

The American conductor Alan Gilbert debuted with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in December 1997, in a programme consisting of Rued Langgaard’s Symphony No. 6 and Mahler’s Symphony No 1. 

There would be no second rate-programme with the young conductor, who was 30 at the time – he had yet to prove himself, though his reputation as a new talent had begun to spread throughout the music scene. It was a promising meeting, and Alan Gilbert was booked promptly for several guest performances in 1998 and 1999. He appeared in spring 2000 as the orchestra’s new chief conductor.

Alan Gilbert was born in New York City in 1967 and both of his parents were violinists in the New York Philharmonic. He studied music at Harvard University, Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School of Music. In 1994, he won the George Solti Conducting Award and that same year, he won first place in the International Competition for Musical Performance in Geneva. Among other things, in the 1990s he worked with the Santa Fe Opera and was assistant conductor of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra in the mid-1990s. 

Given the occasionally turbulent decade of the 1990s for the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, which had undergone an extended period with no continuous and fixed leadership, the young American undeniably had his work cut out for him. In retrospect, it is also apparent that this was a period of shared growth for a conductor who was constantly improving and an orchestra that needed to further hone its precision.

In autumn 2001, Alan Gilbert led his first tour with the orchestra. They headed to Austria and Germany, with concerts in cities including Linz and Düsseldorf. Alan Gilbert also led a smaller tour in France in 2002 and a slightly more extensive tour in Spain the year after that. In 2004, the third tour of Japan was carried out, with eight concerts.

  • 2002 Alan Gilbert conducted the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in five concerts in France.
  • 2003 New tour in Spain. Alan Gilbert conducted the seven concerts.
  • 2003 The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra visited Romania and Bucharest for the first time. The Eric Ericson Chamber Choir was also on the tour in the performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
  • 2004 Anne Sofie von Otter was the soloist when the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Alan Gilbert visited London and gave a Proms concert in Royal Albert Hall.
  • 2004 The third tour of Japan was led by Alan Gilbert. Eight concerts were given.
  • 2005 Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducted the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra when they visited Estonia and Tallinn for the first time for a Tubin festival, playing a programme that included Tubin’s Symphony No. 10 and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. Next they travelled to Dortmund, and finally to Ravenna, Italy.
  • 2005 Alan Gilbert led the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in New York. Two concerts at Carnegie Hall and one at the UN General Assembly in conjunction with the commemoration of Dag Hammarskjöld. It cost SEK 1 million to temporarily turn the General Assembly into a concert space.
  • 2007 Alan Gilbert’s final tour as chief conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra went to the former Yugoslavia with concerts in Sarajevo, Belgrade and Zagreb.
  • 2007 A few days before Christmas, Vladimir Ashkenazy led the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in two concerts in Athens.

In conjunction with the farewell to Alan Gilbert, he was appointed the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate. In 2009, he took over as chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, an appointment that lasts until 2017.