The New York Philharmonic (= NYPO), the oldest symphony orchestra in the USA and one of the oldest in the world, has played a leading role in American musical life since its founding in 1842. The NYPO has always championed the new music of its day, giving many important works, such as Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," their first performances. The pioneering spirit of the NYPO continues, with works by major contemporary composers scheduled each season. In 1991 Kurt Masur became Music Director of the NYPO, bringing his personal stamp to an Orchestra that has felt the influences of Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, and Zubin Mehta. Among the many distinguished composers, conductors, and soloists who have performed with the NYPO are Anton Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, Richard Strauss, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Igor Stravinsky.
Today the NYPO plays some 200 concerts a year, most of them in Avery Fisher Hall, during the 35 weeks of its subscription season. In 1922, the NYPO was the first major orchestra to broadcast a live concert. Decades later a television series hosted by Leonard Bernstein, the CBS Young People's Concerts, captured young imaginations. Since 1976, the NYPO has appeared regularly on "Live From Lincoln Center." The NYPO is the country's only symphony orchestra to be radio-broadcast live on a national scale, and on a regular basis. On February 18, 1999, the NYPO performed its 13,000th concert–a milestone unmatched by any other orchestra.