Review: A Safe Start to Alan Gilbert’s Final Season With the Philharmonic

Aaron Diehl
New York Times

Then the acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Aaron Diehl played an animated and uncommonly sensitive account of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. The New York Symphony Society, which merged with the Philharmonic in 1928, gave the premiere of this concerto in 1925 with Gershwin at the piano, so, officially the orchestra can claim premiership.
Making his Philharmonic debut the day before his 31st birthday, Mr. Diehl played magnificently. He had brilliance when called for during jazz-tinged passages of Lisztian runs and octaves. The roomy freedom of Mr. Diehl’s playing in bluesy episodes was especially affecting. He also folded short improvised sections into the score, and it’s hard to imagine that Gershwin would not have been impressed. The audience was: It gave Mr. Diehl an enthusiastic ovation. He must be invited back.