The Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) presented a gala evening with the New York Philharmonic and conductor Alan Gilbert at Lincoln Center on March 27. Concertgoers gathered in Avery Fisher Hall for the highly anticipated premiere of Scheherazade.2, a dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra by John Adams, winner of the Bienen School’s inaugural Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition. Signaling to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic poem of 1888, Scheherazade.2 is a modern retelling of Arabian Nights and tribute to the collection’s storyteller and heroine, Scheherazade.


The New York Philharmonic includes five Bienen alumni: Ethan Bensdorf ’07, acting associate principal trumpet; Matthew Muckey ’06, acting principal trumpet; Mark Nuccio ’86 MMus, associate principal clarinet, solo E-flat clarinet; Alcides Rodriguez ’03 MMus, bass clarinet; and Sherry Sylar ’81 MMus, associate principal oboe.


This was the second event the Bienen School has hosted with the New York Philharmonic. Nearly 150 Northwestern students, alumni, and parents populated the audience, joined by the school’s namesake, President Emeritus Henry Bienen, as well as Provost Daniel Linzer and Bienen School Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery. The convergence of music supporters from across University schools, transcending backgrounds and generations, affirmed and celebrated Northwestern’s commitment to the arts.



“This Northwestern alumni event provided an ideal venue for highlighting the talent of our alumni who are members of the New York Philharmonic,” said Dean Montgomery. “In addition, I was confident that members of the Northwestern alumni community would be thrilled to hear the premiere of a work by John Adams, the ‘dean of American composers’ and first recipient of our school’s Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize. We were honored that John agreed to speak to the attendees at a post-concert reception.”


Composer Adams received the Bienen School’s Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition in 2004. The biennial prize honors classical composers of extraordinary achievement and creativity and includes a $100,000 cash award, performance of the composer’s work by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and a four-week campus residency where the recipient interacts with faculty and students. Nominations are solicited worldwide, and the award is determined by a three-member committee of musicians.


The NAA and Bienen School extend thanks to the following University alumni and parents who contribute to the continued success of the New York Philharmonic:


Board and Staff

Kenneth A. Buckfire ’16 P, director, Philharmonic Board

Kate Oberjat ’97, single ticket marketing manager

Gary W. Parr ’80 MBA, immediate past chairman, Philharmonic Board

Laura Weiner ’09, teaching artist faculty (horn), Philharmonic Schools