The New Health Care: Sorry, There’s Nothing Magical About Breakfast

However, they also found major flaws in the reporting of findings. People were consistently biased in interpreting their results in favor of a relationship between skipping breakfast and obesity. They improperly used causal language to describe their results. They misleadingly cited others’ results. And they also improperly used causal language in citing others’ results. People believe, and want you to believe, that skipping breakfast is bad.

Good reviews of all the observational research note the methodological flaws in this domain, as well as the problems of combining the results of publication-bias-influenced studies into a meta-analysis. The associations should be viewed with skepticism and confirmed with prospective trials.

Few randomized controlled trials exist. Those that do, although methodologically weak like most nutrition studies, don’t support the necessity of breakfast.

Further confusing the field is a 2014 study (with more financial conflicts of interest than I thought possible) that found that getting breakfast skippers to eat breakfast, and getting breakfast eaters to skip breakfast, made no difference with respect to weight loss. But a 1992 trial that did the same thing found that both groups lost weight. A balanced perspective would acknowledge that we have no idea what’s going on.

Many of the studies are funded by the food industry, which has a clear bias. Kellogg funded a highly cited article that found that cereal for breakfast is associated with being thinner. The Quaker Oats Center of Excellence (part of PepsiCo) financed a trial regarding consumption of oatmeal or frosted cornflakes (if you eat it in a highly controlled setting each weekday for four weeks), and found that only the no-breakfast group, which lost weight, experienced an increase in cholesterol.

Many studies focus on children and argue that kids who eat breakfast are also thinner, but this research suffers from the same flaws that the research in adults does.

What about the argument that children who eat breakfast behave and perform better in school? Systematic reviews find that this is often the case. But you have to consider that much of the research is looking at the impact of school breakfast programs.

One of the reasons that breakfast seems to improve children’s learning and progress is that, unfortunately, too many don’t get enough to eat. Hunger affects almost one in seven households in America, or about 15 million children. Many more children get school lunches than school breakfasts.

It’s not hard to imagine that children who are hungry will do better if they are nourished. This isn’t the same, though, as testing whether children who are already well nourished and don’t want breakfast should be forced to eat it.

It has been found that children who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight than children who eat two breakfasts. But that seems to be because children who want more breakfasts are going hungry at home. No child who is hungry should be deprived of breakfast. That’s different than saying that eating breakfast helps you to lose weight.

The bottom line is that the evidence for the importance of breakfast is something of a mess. If you’re hungry, eat it. But don’t feel bad if you’d rather skip it, and don’t listen to those who lecture you. Breakfast has no mystical powers.

Correction: May 26, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated the result of a study by the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence. It showed that a no-breakfast group had higher cholesterol levels, not that those eating oatmeal or frosted cornflakes had lower cholesterol levels or lower weight.

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Automakers Befriend Start-Ups Like Uber, Girding Against a Changing Car Culture

In some American cities, small groups of people are already choosing not to own cars by relying on ride-hailing services like Uber, through which consumers can order a ride through their smartphone, and car-sharing companies like Zipcar, where they essentially pick up a car whenever they need to drive one. Eventually, self-driving cars will be a reality, which would let Uber and others field fleets of driverless vehicles that can operate around the clock and further cut the cost of ride services.

“Ride-sharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility,” Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota, said in a statement about partnering with Uber. “We would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.”

Karl Brauer, an analyst at the research firm Kelley Blue Book, said there was no sign that car-sharing or ride-sharing — sometimes called “mobility services” — was slowing auto sales today. Auto sales in the United States hit a record high in 2015 and are on the rise this year, and China and other international markets will ensure the global auto market continues to grow.

Nevertheless, auto companies are investing in companies like Uber “to be ahead of the curve” if they do shake up car ownership down the road, Mr. Brauer said. “History has shown that if you wait for the market to decide, you’re dead,” he said.

In January, General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft, the ride-hailing app popular with American users, with a focus on developing networks of autonomous vehicles. Ford Motor is making over its Dearborn, Mich., headquarters into a Silicon Valley-like campus of green buildings connected by self-driving shuttles.

And a few weeks ago, Fiat Chrysler and Google agreed to produce a test fleet of driverless minivans. Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz have started to pilot ride services.

Even other technology companies only tangentially related to automobiles are becoming more involved in ride services. Apple, which is working on its own autos project, said this month it had invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing company that competes fiercely with Uber.

The scale of ride-hailing as a phenomenon is encapsulated in China. Uber operates in more than 30 Chinese cities with plans to expand to 100 by the end of the year. Didi is in well over 300 cities and towns throughout the country.

Last June, Uber said it had approximately 20,000 regular drivers in the Chinese city of Chengdu alone, on par with the approximately 22,000 drivers in San Francisco and 26,000 in New York at the time.

But global expansion requires capital — lots of it. Companies like Uber have tapped venture capitalists, strategic partners and large institutional investors at the rate of about once every six months to amass enough money to keep introducing operations in new cities. In total, Uber has raised more than $10 billion from several firms to wage its land war across multiple continents.

With the Toyota partnership, Uber gets other perks apart from money. The company, based in San Francisco, which was valued at $62.5 billion in December, plans to expand its vehicle financing program with Toyota, whose cars are among the most popular with Uber drivers. Customers can lease Toyota vehicles through the program and are able to pay down the cost by driving for Uber.

Toyota said that in its work with Uber, the companies would also cooperate on trials in countries where ride-hailing is growing.

The companies also plan to develop in-car apps that support Uber drivers, and to share their knowledge and research, they said.

Volkswagen has been slower to jump on the mobility bandwagon, partly because it has been consumed by an emission-cheating scandal involving its diesel models. After those revelations, Volkswagen replaced its chief executive, about a dozen top managers departed, its VW-brand sales skidded in the United States and it set aside $18 billion to cover scandal-related costs.

Next month, Volkswagen is supposed to detail a plan to buy back or repair about 500,000 diesel models that had the cheating software and were sold in the United States.

About the same time, Volkswagen is also planning to unveil a “Strategy 2025” in which mobility initiatives will play major roles. In April, Volkswagen said it intended to set up a separate mobility company to oversee investments and initiatives on this front.

“We aim to become a world leading mobility provider by 2025,” Matthias Müller, chief executive of Volkswagen, said in a statement.

Shahar Waiser, Gett’s chief executive, stressed the synchronicity his company had with Volkswagen’s European sales, and how the companies were focused on both consumer and business clients. Mr. Waiser said Gett had $500 million in revenue, 30 percent of which came from the company’s 4,000 corporate and business clients, and that it was profitable in some markets.

Gett, which is popular in more than 60 European cities, as well as Moscow and New York, said it planned to use the capital to continue expanding its European operations.

“By now, people realize that the landscape is so big — and every market is so different — there will be more than a monopoly or a duopoly,” Mr. Waiser said. “You will always see two, maybe three major players in this space, wherever you go.”

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Trilobites: Squid Are Thriving While Fish Decline

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Population numbers of cephalopods like this giant Australian cuttlefish from Spencer Gulf, South Australia, have been increasing in the past 60 years. Credit Scott Portelli

The squids are all right — as are their cephalopod cousins the cuttlefish and octopus.

In the same waters where fish have faced serious declines, the tentacled trio is thriving, according to a study published Monday.

“Cephalopods have increased in the world’s oceans over the last six decades,” Zoë Doubleday, a marine ecologist from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and lead author of the study, said in an email. “Our results suggest that something is going on in the marine environment on a large scale, which is advantageous to cephalopods.”

Dr. Doubleday and her team compiled the first global-scale database of cephalopod population numbers, spanning from 1953 to 2013. It included historical catch rates for 35 cephalopod species, including the Japanese flying squid, the giant Pacific octopus and the common cuttlefish. The species inhabit marine ecosystems all over the world, from Australia and the United States to Morocco and Madagascar, among other countries.

“When we looked at the data by cephalopod group we were like ‘Oh my God — they’re all going up,’ ” she said.

More Reporting on Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefish

She said it was remarkable how consistent the increases were among the three cephalopod groups, which included species that swim in the open seas and creatures that scuttle through tide pools. They published their findings in the journal Current Biology.

According to a 2015 World Wildlife Fund report, some 1,200 marine vertebrate species, including fish like mackerels and tunas, declined by nearly half between 1970 and 2012.

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Public Health: You’d Be Surprised at How Many Foods Contain Added Sugar

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Some pasta sauces have high amounts of added sugar. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

You may know there’s added sugar in your Coke or cookies. But did you know that it’s in your salad dressing, pasta sauce and bread?

The Food and Drug Administration came out Friday with its new template for nutrition labels. One big change was the addition of a line for “added sugar,” to be placed below a line for total sugar. The change is designed to distinguish between sugars that are naturally occurring in a food — like the milk sugar in a plain yogurt — and the sugars that food manufacturers include later to boost flavors — like the “evaporated cane juice” in a Chobani Kids strawberry yogurt.

A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina conducted a detailed survey of the packaged foods and drinks that are purchased in American grocery stores and found that 60 percent of them include some form of added sugar. When they looked at every individual processed food in the store, 68 percent had added sugar. Some of those products are more obvious sugary foods, but not all. The list includes many sauces, soups, fruit juices and even meat products.

You might think it’s easy to figure out whether the food manufacturer added sugar to your food, but it isn’t always so. While some foods include “sugar” in their ingredients, many use different words for products that are nutritionally similar. Most of us have heard of high-fructose corn syrup, a sugar made from processing corn. But there are also things like the “evaporated cane juice” in the yogurt, and “rice syrup” and “flo-malt,” which are less obvious and amount to the same thing.

Words That Really Just Mean ‘Added Sugar’

  • agave juice
  • agave nectar
  • agave sap
  • agave syrup
  • beet sugar
  • brown rice syrup
  • brown sugar
  • cane juice
  • cane sugar
  • cane syrup
  • clintose
  • confectioners powdered sugar
  • confectioners sugar
  • corn glucose syrup
  • corn sweet
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • date sugar
  • dextrose
  • drimol
  • dri mol
  • dri-mol
  • drisweet
  • dri sweet
  • dri-sweet
  • dried raisin sweetener
  • edible lactose
  • flo malt
  • flo-malt
  • flomalt
  • fructose
  • fructose sweetener
  • glaze and icing sugar
  • glaze icing sugar
  • golden syrup
  • gomme
  • granular sweetener
  • granulated sugar
  • hi-fructose corn syrup
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • honibake
  • honi bake
  • honi-bake
  • honi flake
  • honi-flake
  • invert sugar
  • inverted sugar
  • isoglucose
  • isomaltulose
  • kona ame
  • kona-ame
  • lactose
  • liquid sweetener
  • malt
  • malt sweetener
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple
  • maple sugar
  • maple syrup
  • mizu ame
  • mizu-ame
  • mizuame
  • molasses
  • nulomoline
  • powdered sugar
  • rice syrup
  • sorghum
  • sorghum syrup
  • starch sweetener
  • sucanat
  • sucrose
  • sucrovert
  • sugar beet
  • sugar invert
  • sweet n neat
  • table sugar
  • treacle
  • trehalose
  • tru sweet
  • turbinado sugar
  • versatose

Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, and one of the paper’s authors, said that the wide variety of sugars is not always meant to confound consumers. Instead, he said, the many sugar types are chosen by food scientists to give their products the best flavor and texture. Some sugars are better for baked goods, while others are better in soft drinks. Some are also cheaper than others. Sugar tariffs and import laws make it expensive to bring in too much foreign sugar. But not all of the sugar formulations count toward the laws’ quotas.

There’s also the matter of fruit juice concentrates, which are juices that have been stripped of nearly everything but sugar and evaporated. A lot of seemingly natural foods include ingredients like “apple juice concentrate.” That’s sugar. That will be a lot clearer when the labels are updated.

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Want to Buy a Self-Driving Car? Big-Rig Trucks May Come First

Those costs are coming down, but it will be some time before they have a realistic price for consumers. But a new, big tractor-trailer truck can easily cost more than $150,000, so the added cost of robotic features could make more sense.

In addition, it could make trucking more efficient, allowing, for example, a human driver to rest in the sleeper cabin while the truck takes the wheel.

Still, automating commercial driving is controversial and — potentially — a job killer.

There are more than three million truck drivers in the United States, according to the American Trucking Associations, and about one in every 15 workers in the country is employed in the trucking business.

There is concern that if commercial trucking is completely automated, it would be economically devastating for small towns in America that thrive from supporting the long-haul trucking industry.

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Otto’s offices in San Francisco. Credit Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times

“The removal of truckers from freeways will have an effect on today’s towns similar to the effects the freeways themselves had on towns decades ago that had sprung up around bypassed stretches of early highways,” wrote Scott Santens, an independent researcher, in a blog post last year.

Autonomous vehicles have in recent years become one of the tech industry’s favorite projects. Uber sees them as a way to stop dealing with its pesky drivers. Tesla, along with other car manufacturers, sees autonomous technology as an important safety feature to help human drivers.

Even Apple is thought to be working on some sort of self-driving car tech.

Google, in particular, has aggressively advocated and developed autonomous vehicle tech, and its self-driving cars are regularly seen on Bay Area roads. The company also announced a deal earlier this month with Fiat Chrysler to install its technology in a fleet of minivans.

Since the Google car and map veterans, Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron, founded Otto in January, the company has expanded to 41 employees and has been test-driving three Volvo trucks, logging in more than 10,000 miles.

Over the weekend, Otto tested a self-driving truck in Nevada.

Mr. Levandowski achieved some celebrity in 2004 while he was an industrial engineering graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. He designed a self-driving motorcycle, stabilized by a gyroscope, that was entered in the Pentagon’s first autonomous vehicle contest. Later, his start-up, 510 Systems, was acquired by Google when it began its self-driving car project.

He said that he had decided to leave Google because he was eager to commercialize a self-driving vehicle as quickly as possible.

“Google is very focused on doing what they’re doing and I felt that it was time to see something come to market and I really liked the idea of bringing trucks to market,” he said.

Mr. Ron, Otto’s co-founder, is also a veteran Google software engineer. With a background in Israeli Army intelligence, he was originally the lead engineer for Google Maps.

He also worked in the company’s Motorola mobile phone business for three years and then in its secretive robotics research effort.

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Eyal Cohen, a software engineer at Otto, codes in the cab of one of the company’s trucks. Credit Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times

But start-up life isn’t like working for Google on its bucolic Silicon Valley campus.

Otto has set up shop in a rickety auto garage, close to a freeway entrance in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. But the new office has enough space to house the firm’s three new Volvo trucks, which have been equipped with cameras, radars, and spinning laser sensors known as Lidar.

It is basically the same sensor array used on prototype vehicles being developed by Google, Nissan, Baidu and others. But Mr. Levandowski said that costly commercial trucks gave his designers more freedom to add high-quality sensors.

Otto will offer its technology as an upgrade that a long-haul truck owner could purchase, or perhaps as a service a trucking operator could subscribe to.

“Initially there will be certain roads that we know we can drive more safely,” Mr. Levandowski said. “On those roads we’ll tell the driver, ‘You’re welcome to go take your nap or your break right now.’ If that’s 500 miles, that’s 10 hours, so he gets his full rest.”

The co-founders declined to reveal how much has been invested in the new company so far. They also would say only that they intend to “demonstrate commercial viability soon.”

Even as their technology progresses, Otto still faces a regulatory maze and plenty of competition.

A Silicon Valley start-up called Peloton is focusing on truck convoys for fuel efficiency. Last year, Daimler Trucks North America demonstrated a selfdriving truck in Nevada. Volvo and other truck manufacturers have also held autonomous freeway driving demonstrations in Europe.

California motor vehicle regulations prohibit Otto’s vision of a truck traveling on the freeway with only a sleeping driver in the cab, for example. But many states would permit that technical advance.

“Right now, if you want to drive across Texas with nobody at the wheel, you’re 100 percent legal,” said Mr. Levandowski, who as a Google engineer, helped write draft legislation that permitted self-driving vehicles, which later became law in Nevada.

The company is initially aiming for the owner-operators market — truck drivers who own their own rigs and would be able to increase their productivity by sleeping during long-haul trips and dispensing with the need for a second driver.

“It will take a very long time to transition three million people,” Mr. Levandowski said, referring to the number of truck drivers in the United States. “However, it’s also the nature of progress. There used to be elevator operators in New York City and there are not anymore.”

Correction: May 20, 2016

An article on Tuesday about a start-up that is developing self-driving tractor-trailer trucks described incorrectly 15 employees of the start-up, called Otto, who came from Google. Eight of them are engineers, not all 15.

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Long-Lost Letter from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac Headed to Auction (Again)

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The 16,000-word letter written by Neal Cassady, which helped inspire Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.”Credit Reuters

A rambling 1950 letter from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac that helped inspire “On the Road” will be auctioned next month by Christie’s in New York, apparently bringing to an end an 18-month legal battle over its ownership.

The 16,000-word typed letter, which carries an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000, had been considered lost before it surfaced in the discarded files of Golden Goose Press, a now-defunct small San Francisco publisher, and listed for sale by a Southern California auction house in 2014. That auction was suspended after the Kerouac estate and Cassady’s children said they were the owners.

Jami Cassady, a spokeswoman for the family, told The San Francisco Chronicle this week that the three parties had reached “an amicable settlement.” She also said the family, which owns the copyright on the letter, intended to publish it at some point.

The missive, known as the Joan Anderson letter, after a woman with whom Cassady described an amorous relationship, had been known only from a fragment, apparently retyped by Kerouac, that was published in 1964. In an interview in 1968, Kerouac said he had got the idea of the “spontaneous style” of “On the Road” from “seeing how good old Neal Cassady wrote his letters to me, all first person, fast, mad, confessional, completely serious, all detailed, with real names in his case, however (being letters).”

“It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves,” Kerouac said.

After receiving the letter Kerouac lent it to Allen Ginsberg, who passed it along to another poet, who was living on a houseboat, who “lost the letter, overboard, I presume,” Kerouac said. Instead, it was sent to the offices of Golden Goose for possible publication, but went unnoticed for decades, according to Christie’s.

The letter will be on public view starting on May 31 in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and then New York, where the sale will be held on June 16.

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New-York Historical Society Plans ‘Summer of Hamilton’

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Alexander HamiltonCredit Associated Press

Alexander Hamilton already rules Broadway. Now, starting over the July 4 weekend, the nation’s first treasury secretary will also be taking over the New-York Historical Society, which has announced a museumwide “Summer of Hamilton” celebration.

The event, inspired by the runaway success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton,” will feature an exhibition of Hamilton-related artifacts like his desk and life-size statues depicting his duel with Aaron Burr. There will also be important documents from the collection of the historical society and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, including a love letter from Hamilton to his fiancée; the infamous pamphlet in which he admitted to an extramarital affair with Maria Reynolds; the first federal budget printed in his Report on Public Credit; and a letter supporting Thomas Jefferson over Burr in the election of 1800.

There will also be Hamilton-themed group tours, a weeklong Hamilton-themed summer camp for middle-school students, Friday-night screenings of musicals that influenced Mr. Miranda, and even appearances by a living historian dressed as Hamilton.

The “Summer of Hamilton” is not the historical society’s first big bet on the man. “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America,” a $5 million exhibition mounted in 2004 in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute, drew some 150,000 visitors, according to the society, as well as criticisms from some scholars who thought that the show exaggerated his impact.

Since then, “we never could have expected that Hamilton, the man, would have captured the popular imagination in the way that he has,” Louise Mirrer, the president and chief executive of the historical society, said in a statement. “Now admirers of the Broadway hit and those interested in learning more about one of New York City’s most influential citizens can decide for themselves, as the show says, ‘who lives, who dies, who tells your story.’”

More information is at nyhistory.org/summer-of-hamilton.

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Think You Know the Next James Bond? Don’t Bet on It

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Tom HiddlestonCredit Markus Schreiber/Associated Press

LONDON — You can get odds on almost anything here. But Coral, the British bookmakers, have suspended betting on the identity of the next James Bond after the odds on the actor Tom Hiddleston shortened sharply in recent days.

Ever since Mr. Hiddleston played a hotel-manager-turned-spy this year in the BBC series “The Night Manager,” rumors have been swirling about his potential move to the Bond franchise. After the Mirror newspaper reported on Thursday that Mr. Hiddleston had been seen with the Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and the director Sam Mendes at Soho House here, a flurry of bets moved Mr. Hiddleston’s odds from 2-1 to 1-2.

“We’ve had no choice but to pull the plug on the market,” Nicola McGeady, a spokeswoman for Coral, which suspended the betting on Mr. Hiddleston on Sunday, said in a BBC report.

“There is no smoke without fire,” she said.

Close behind Mr. Hiddleston in the Bond sweepstakes were Aidan Turner, the star of the BBC series “Poldark,” at 3-1, and Tom Hardy (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) at 4-1, with Idris Elba at 9-1 and Damian Lewis at 14-1. (Showing the fickleness of fashion, the bookmakers Ladbrokes suspended betting on Mr. Hardy in February, before Mr. Hiddleston entered the picture.)

The recent flurry of betting comes without confirmation that Daniel Craig, who has played Bond since 2005, will leave the role, although he memorably told “Time Out London” in October that he would rather “slash my wrists” than reprise the part. His representative later denied that he was leaving.

“The position isn’t vacant as far as I’m aware,” Mr. Hiddleston said on “The Graham Norton Show” on May 6. “I think the rumors have come about because in ‘The Night Manager’ I play a spy, and people have made the link.”

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Miller Theater Focuses on New, Old and Young Next Season

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Lucy Dhegrae, left, Alice Teyssier, in a Composer Portraits concert in February.Credit Richard Termine for The New York Times

The Miller Theater at Columbia University will continue its focus on the very new, the very old and the very young next season, it announced on Wednesday. The Miller will feature work by composers from around the world in its signature Composer Portraits series, present leading early-music groups and expand its programming for families.

The season will open on Sept. 15 with the music of Steve Reich, who turns 80 this fall. Ensemble Signal will play two Reich works, his “You Are Variations” and “Daniel Variations,” a tribute to Daniel Pearl, the journalist who was killed in Pakistan in 2002.

The theater, led by Melissa Smey, its executive director, will offer seven concerts in its Composer Portraits series, featuring John Zorn, Lei Liang, Zosha Di Castri, Beat Furrer, Misato Mochizuki, Johannes Maria Staud and Klas Torstensson. Early-music programs will feature the Tallis Scholars, Stile Antico, Orlando Consort and New York Polyphony. Tim Munro, the former flutist of the group Eighth Blackbird, will make his New York recital debut in November on a program with Kate Soper, the vocalist and composer.

And the theater will bring back its staging of Saint-Saëns’s “Carnival of the Animals” for families in December, and will add a new family show in May: “The Bremen Town Band,” a retelling of the Grimm fairy tale with an original score by Courtney Bryan. The full schedule can be found at millertheatre.com.

Correction: May 11, 2016
An earlier version of this post referred incorrectly to a musician who will make his New York recital debut in November. The musician, Tim Munro, is the former flutist of Eighth Blackbird, not its current flutist. Nathalie Joachim stepped into the role for the 2015-16 season.
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