May 22, 2017
During its 175th anniversary season (2016–17), the New York Philharmonic chose to celebrate New York City and its role as home to the Orchestra and as an adopted home for many. The New World Initiative (NWI) evolved from a major event in the Philharmonic’s history: the 1893 World Premiere of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World — the first major work composed in New York that became immediately and enduringly popular. The complete work represents a yearning for new beginnings while also looking back to where we came from. Through the NWI, the Philharmonic has engaged with New Yorkers citywide by making the New World Symphony a cultural touchstone for as many New Yorkers as possible.
We aimed to have as many interpretations of the work reach as many ears as possible and to foster connections in our vast music community by collectively taking ownership of this very New York work. To achieve this, the NWI has created countless opportunities for all New Yorkers to hear and creatively engage with Dvořák’s New World Symphony, understand its significance, and appreciate its role within New York City’s cultural history. The NWI was designed to focus not only on past accomplishments, but to step outside orchestral routine and make a special contribution that will bring recognition to New York’s vibrant music community.
“I can think of no better way for the New York Philharmonic to help mark this milestone than through The New World Initiative, which celebrates our connection to this iconic work and its central idea of home. In addition to season-spanning performances of a symphony that has long held a special place for audiences around the world and in this Orchestra’s heart, we are proud to work with collaborators across our hometown to engage with our community in an exploration of the idea of home through our performances, education programs, and archival resources.” — New York Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien