This month kicks off the New York Philharmonic’s Contact! series. Concerts in December and April feature seven composers and seven premieres, played first at Symphony Space and then a day or two later at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Phil tells us that “performances will include personal introductions to the music from the composers themselves, in a less formal and more intimate setting.”

The list is a really great mix of styles and careers from a few different continents: The December 17 and 19 concerts feature music by Marc-André Dalbavie, Arthur Kampela, Lei Liang and Arlene Sierra, conducted by Magnus Lindberg; then on April 16 and 17 Alan Gilbert leads the musicians and baritone Thomas Hampson, with works by Nico Muhly, Matthias Pintscher and Sean Shepherd.

And the New York Philharmonic would like a few lucky souls to come hear it for free! We have three pairs of tickets to the Dec 19th 7p.m. concert at the Met Museum, and we’d like to give them away to the first three correct answerers of these five questions:

1) In 1998 Marc-André Dalbavie was named “Best Young Composer of the Year” by what rather surprising U.S. source?

2) Which Arthur Kampela piece did pianist Jenny Lin record for her Koch CD “The Eleventh Finger”?

3) At what age did Lei Liang begin composing?

4) Arlene Sierra‘s first orchestral work won the 2001 Takemitsu Prize and was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic; what was the title of the piece?

5) In 1980 Magnus Lindberg and Esa-Pekka Salonen together formed an experimental performance ensemble; what was its name?

Send your five answers directly to me at: (not to the S21 email, or they could be lost in the administrative shuffle!). The three winners will have tickets waiting for them at the box office.

I have links to all the answers of course, but I’ll only post them next Tuesday (hey, they’re not hard at all, and I think a little effort on your part is a darn good thing!).

And for those that miss out, I think we’ll be able to do the same thing all over again in April. Happy hunting!