The New York Philharmonic has chosen a native son - 40-year-old Alan Gilbert - to become its music director. He will lead an ensemble that includes his mother.

Gilbert becomes the first native New Yorker in the position, ending years of speculation over the successor to Lorin Maazel, who said in 2004 that he would leave after the 2008-2009 season.

The appointment was announced Wednesday.

Gilbert's parents have performed as violinists in the Philharmonic: Yoko Takebe, who is with the orchestra, and Michael Gilbert, who retired in 2001.
Gilbert, chief conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra since 1999, first led the New York Philharmonic in October 2001. Since that season, he has conducted the orchestra in extended appearances.

"Every time he's come here, it's been better than the prior time," Zarin Mehta, the orchestra's president, told The New York Times, which first reported the hiring on its Web site. "We've watched him grow. He's a good musician. He's approaching the prime of his career. He's young and a New Yorker, and he has family in the orchestra."

Gilbert told the Times he has no plans yet for the Philharmonic. But he said he wants to see it "connecting with the city in a way that's really fresh and really alive and really current." He said his job would be to keep the orchestra at its musical best.

It is possible Gilbert will commute from Stockholm, Sweden, to New York City during his first season as the new music director, a person familiar with the hiring told The Associated Press before the appointment was announced. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

This season, Gilbert also takes up the post of principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra. The Santa Fe Opera announced in May that he was stepping down as music director after four years.
Gilbert was born in New York in 1967 and began playing violin and viola at a young age. He continues to perform as a chamber musician, having studied at Harvard University and The Juilliard School, among other conservatories. He has won numerous awards.

The Philharmonic becomes the second major U.S. orchestra in recent months to turn to a new generation for a music director. In April, the Los Angeles Philharmonic selected 26-year-old Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel to succeed longtime music director Esa-Pekka Salonen in the 2009-20010 season.

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