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NY Philharmonic Returns
News Bytes 04/19/2021 47 Comments

The famed New York Philharmonic orchestra had not gathered before an audience for exactly 400 days. But last week, guest conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen crossed the stage. He stood before the assembled musicians and raised his arms. The concert hall—though not completely filled with spectators—was filled with music.

“On behalf of all us on stage, welcome back,” the conductor told the crowd Wednesday night. “We have been dreaming of this moment for a long time.”

The philharmonic gave its first public performance after a historic hiatus of more than 13 months. It played at the Shed in Hudson Yards, about two miles from its under-renovation Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

“I’m kind of on a euphoric high right now, because I missed it more than I realized,” concertmaster Frank Huang said afterwards.

There was a reduced force of 23 strings—all masked—and no brass or woodwinds for a program that lasted one hour. The cavernous Shed, which opened in April 2019, hosted a masked audience of just 150. Listeners were spaced out in groups of one and two folding chairs, about 10 feet between each set, in a venue that usually seats about 1,200.

During the gap between performances, many musicians taught. They had the benefit of continued but reduced salaries, a contrast to their Lincoln Center neighbor the Metropolitan Opera (the Met), which stopped pay for its unionized employees for long periods.

The last time the Philharmonic had gathered before an audience was on March 10 last year for a night of Claude Debussy compositions. Since then, at most a handful of Philharmonic musicians had played together in public, at small, outdoor performances that moved around the New York City area and as a quartet in Florida where there were less stringent COVID-19 regulations.

The Philharmonic hopes to resume regular subscription concerts in September. Its musicians will open the summer series of Picnic Performances in New York City’s Bryant Park with four nights starting June 9 and also hope to play in Vail, Colorado. The limited return is ahead of Broadway shows, which could resume in September, and the Met, which will open September 27 if it can reach new labor agreements. 

“If there’s one thing we musicians have loved during these 14 months or so, it is that nothing—absolutely nothing—can replace the act and the ritual of a live concert,” Salonen told the audience. “The three works we have chosen to play tonight all share a sense of moaning, nostalgia, and loss elevated to something deeply and essentially human by sheer beauty. Of course, no single program can even begin to sum up our feelings and emotions after these months. Instead, we should see tonight’s concert as a new beginning, a signal for happier times ahead, filled with music and other things that give meaning to our existence in this troubled world.”

The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord. — Isaiah 38:20

(Concertgoers take their seats before a live performance of the New York Philharmonic, which performed for the first time since March 10, 2020, at The Shed in Hudson Yards on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in New York. AP/Kathy Willens)

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Most recent comments


good for them!

2nd Comment

Glad they could get playing again.

Check out my comment and answer if you want to!

Poor brass players :(

Poor brass players :(
Well, it's good that they're coming out...even if they have to wear a mask.
I personally would suffocate having to play violin with a mask on xD


This is good!

did anybody notice the light

did anybody notice the light in the picture looks like the Smash Bros logo?

I'm glad they are able to do

I'm glad they are able to do what they love again.

I am a

I am a Percussion player, and in February our band did our first live concert in over a year. Our town did not care about social distancing or masks, we just played the music. And even though I'm Percussion I didn't wear a mask. Our band had Brass and Woodwind players. I would like to know what you guys play.

@ Noah

I used to play piano but I stopped last year cause I didn't really like it.

this is mylee

@Elijah S it kinda looks like the smash bro logo i guess you could say. Im glad they can have music again. 14 months without opening imagine how many people were jobless. :(.

this is mylee

Sarah F I didn't like piano too... Also if ya'll know anyone that lost there job during covid i would love to pray.


I play clarinet and piano. I’m in a homeschool band, and we are the only band in the county practicing right now. My sister plays percussion too

I absolutely LOVE piano!!!!!!

I absolutely LOVE piano!!!!!! And I would really love to be in a homeschool band xD But sadly there are no kids/teens in my area that love music :((((((

*I play piano and violin,

*I play piano and violin, going on 9 years of piano

I play piano too! How long

I play piano too! How long have you guys been playing? I have for about ten years and love it so much.


I wanted to learn violin but just don't have the patience to learn.

I've been playing the violin

I've been playing the violin for seven solid years and the piano for four. Our family is musical, so everyone plays an instrument. My younger brother plays the piano with me and my mom, and then my two sisters play the violin with me.

@ All

Does anyone have or know a super big family?

I know a family of 14 and a

I know a family of 14 and a family of 12 and 7, 9 and 10 :) oh, and 11



@ N&M

Wow! That's a lot of big families! :) I know a family of 11, 8, 8, and 9. Are you in a homeschool group if you don't mind me asking?

this is mylee

my family has 10, I know some 14, and some other big numbers. 21, (I know the duggars and bates )

@ Mylee

You know the Duggars? Like personally?? That is cool! I've read there book and been to one of their talking conferences once. It was pretty good!

@ Abigail

I think I know of an 8 and 11.

My brother is in a homeschool

My brother is in a homeschool band, and I can play the recorder, (I think) the harmonica, the lap harp, (sort of) and the piano a bit. I wish I could play harp though.

this is mylee

@Isebel F yes i know them personally i see them at a camp twice a year.And play with there kids.

@ Bethy

I think the lap harp sounds fun! I'd like to try it sometime. Is it fun? Do you like it?

@ Mylee

That is so cool!!

Wow! 400 days exactly.

Wow! 400 days exactly.
I play guitar and in my family we have 8. And ALL of you know of a super huge huge huge family! (Why has no one mentioned it?) God's family!

I play violin and piano. For

I play violin and piano. For my violin lessons, my teacher and I have to wear masks. It takes a while to get used to it and is super annoying when the mask keeps on getting caught on the chin rest. My piano lesson are online as it is that my teacher lives over the Atlantic Ocean.

@ Isabel

No :(
But I do homeschool drama camp and there are a lot of big families

32nd comment

@ N&M that is really cool!
@ Alaina I know, it's really annoying! My teacher is very strict with masks and stuff which is annoying. I end up fiddling with my mask instead of my violin! Lol XD

@ Abigail

Yeah I like it...I basically taught myself how to play it (same with the harmonica and recorder, after I learned about notes from the piano) and the one I have is out of tune...but yes, I like it a lot!

@ Bethy

Maybe I should try it, it doesn't sound too hard...

@ Bethy

Have you read the Ashtown Burials yet?

@ Abigail F

Not yet! I'll go and request them from the library! Thanks for reminding me!

@ Bethy

I hope you enjoy them!!


I play piano, trumpet, and flute. But this year I focused on piano I have an awesome teacher she is so amazing and helpful!!!!
My family is big, but wow like 14!!!! That is huge!!!! But probably fun!!!


I know someone who plays a harp!!!!


OMG The people are more spaced watching than the people doing the opera!!!!!!!! That is both sad and funny....I am having mixed emotions rn XD

@Grace D

Lol, Ikr. That should say something about the real deadliness of Covid, in of itself...

Yeah, Cuz COVID is def gonna

Yeah, Cuz COVID is def gonna say "Aw man, they're 5 ft 11 in, I can't touch them....."

N&M A.

lol, I have some six foot friends who make this joke when people ask where their mask is, "I don't need a mask, I am already 6ft away from everyone." (they do where masks when they have to but it is a pretty goofy saying XD)


That is hilarious!!!! I should tell that to my friend who is my age and six four!!!!!!

AHAHA! I'm telling that to

AHAHA! I'm telling that to some of the kids j m kw who are 6ft xDD

@ Grace D

XD XP Ha-ha! :)

@ Grace

This might sound weird but does your last name start with "Der" ?

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