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Make Music Day!

June 21, 2017


NPR Describes it as “A sonic street party thrown on a totally outsize scale.” It’s a day to celebrate music in every conceivable style, created by anyone to celebrate the pleasures of music making together.

There will be thousands of performances all across the city. Some are professional, others are massive participatory events (Mass Appeal) for musicians of all abilities. There have been site-specific performances (trombones on the lake in Central Park, 99 percussionists in Morningside Heights Park, percussionists using the buildings of the Flatiron district as their instruments…[I see this one is coming back for a repeat performance this year!]) and mobile recording studios that roam the city in search of fresh material.

Here’s a list of some of the special projects that were posted on the Make Music Blog this month to give you a taste of what’s to come:

49 Flutes at locations citywide throughout the day

A celebration of the 40th anniversary of John Cage’s 49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs that will feature 49-98 flutists performing citywide throughout the day. Cage’s artwork first appeared in the October 6, 1977 Rolling Stone magazine, a gala issue celebrating their move to New York City. For the piece, Cage constructed”waltzes” through chance operations as a series of 49 multi-colored triangles superimposed on a Hagstrom map of 147 locations throughout the city. Subsequently, he published a score for performers, listeners and/or record maker. Presented in partnership with Avant Media and flutist Martha Cargo.


Cantus and Chamber Music Center of NY at the Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park, 4:30-7pm

Cantus is hailed as “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the US” by Fanfare and are winners of the prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America.  Students from the Chamber Music Center of NY will kick the program off.  Cantus is presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall.


Concertos for Buildings at Greene Street between Broome and Grand, 5-7pm

Ensemble percussion compositions will be played using buildings on a historic SoHo block as instruments. Featuring professionals and students from Mantra Percussion and a woodwinds section from Rahway High School, NJ. The program features works by Daniel Goode, Miguel Bolivar and the debut of a new commission by composer Lainie Fefferman.


Ella Fitzgerald Piano Bar throughout historic Harlem, 11am-6pm

A celebration of the life and music of Ella on the occasion of her 100th birthday anniversary. A pickup truck decked out with a keyboard and PA system will travel to half a dozen Harlem locations that resonate with Ella’s music heritage ending with an after party at the Jazz Museum of Harlem. Additional stops along the route will include Red Rooster/Ginny’s Supper Club and Shrine. At each stop, audience members will be given songbooks and mics so that they can sing their favorite Ella song with piano accompaniment. Presented in partnership with the The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation


The Gauntlet Dalehead Arch, @64th Street, Central Park, time TBD

Make Music New York’s 2016 commission “The Gauntlet” returns to the festival in 2017. This vocal arrangement by composer Sxip Shirey calls for two rows of thirty singers to engage in a musical dialogue as audience members immerse themselves by walking, at their own pace, through the rows of paired singers. The audience member experiences the composition by moving through the Gauntlet as if being carried by a river. Featuring the ensemble Choral Chameleon.


Gerard Grisey’s Le Noir D’Etoile at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of the Universe 12:30pm lecture presentation, 1:00-2:00pm concert

In 1990, Gérard Grisey composed an immersive and rigorous composition for six percussionists in which they play along to the amplified sonic emanations of pulsars. Conductor Douglas Perkins leads an ensemble in this special program, with a pre-concert lecture presentation on pulsars by Mordecai-Mark Low, Curator, Department of Astrophysics, Division of Physical Sciences, Computational Sciences. Presented with support from FACE Foundation.


Inside the Bird Chorus at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Wave Hill (Bronx), Fresh Kills Park (Staten Island), Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve (Queens) and Central Park, from dawn to dusk

Back by popular demand for a second season, musician and philosopher David Rothenberg and friends will perform dawn and dusk concerts in tandem with the local avian population from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Additional musicians adept at improvising with wildlife will be stationed in picturesque parks and recreation areas representing every borough.


Mp3 Experiment #14 at Battery Park, 6-7pm

Mp3 Experiments, produced by Improv Everywhere, are free, open- to-the-public, participatory audio adventures where attendees download a smartphone app and listen to synchronized secret instructions in a public space via headphones. In a very special collaboration between Make Music NY and Improv Everywhere, this program will debut a new composition to be performed by thousands of participants on Boomwackers–lightweight, color-coded percussion tubes that are tuned to musical pitches by length. Park goers and passersby will be taken by surprise as a new music score is created before their eyes!


Offerings and Songs to the Solstice Sun at Fort Tryon, 5-7pm

Irka Mateo, Neo-Dominican singer, folklorist and performer in collaboration with IgniVox Productions will guide the Make Music audience and local community through an ancestral Taino ritual performance to worship the summer solstice sun as passed from generation to generation in the Dominican countryside.The audience is invited to participate in a solstice ritual procession, the offering ceremony and a concert showcasing vocals, drums, guitar, bass and accordion to re-create the mix of the indigenous, African and European musical genres still played today in the Dominican Republic’s popular religious celebrations and social gatherings.


On the Waterfront  at Pier “I”  in Riverside Park, 4:30-7pm

Two grand pianos will face off on the Hudson River waterfront in this special program featuring American duo piano compositions. Karl Larsson and Hitomi Honda kick off the concert with with works by David Lang, Emily Cooley, and Scott Wollschleger, followed by two full hours featuring music by Thea Musgrave, Gregory Mertl, and others as performed by students from Mannes Prep and other NYC music schools. Co-presented by Summer on the Hudson with special thanks to Piano Piano.


Porch Stomp at Governors Island on Saturday, June 17 (special date) 12pm-5pm

Returning for its eleventh consecutive season, Porch Stomp is a festival within the Make Music New York festival that digs deep into the traditions of bluegrass, folk, old-time and roots music. The celebration features over fifty singer/songwriters and bands performing from noon to 5pm on the historic porches surrounding the timeless Nolan Park on Governors Island.


Punk Island at Randall’s Island on Sunday, June 18 (special date) 12pm-7pm

Punk Island is a festival within the Make Music Festival organized by a collective of artists, curators, musicians and educators whose goal is to bring the vitality, diversity, and intensity of the NYC punk scene into the light of day. Now entering its tenth consecutive season, Punk Island will star over 100 bands playing across eight micro-curated stages to create a truly only-in-New York experience.


Rhythm on Rikers at Riker’s Island, time TBD

Antibalas co-founder Martín Perna and teaching artists from NYC’s Afro-beat community will lead an intensive day-long workshop in percussion techniques that will culminate in a performance by and for the incarcerated population of Riker’s Island.


South Shore Lawn Party at the Kreischer Mansion, 12-9pm

South shore Staten Islanders, rejoice! The Kreischer Mansion is hosting the “South Shore Lawn Party” to celebrate the launch of the historic mansion’s summer programming. The Victorian porch will transform into a stage for Staten Island musicians, bands and performers to fill the South Shore with musical sounds usual reserved for the North side of the Island. Food and drinks will be available via local food trucks and caterers throughout the day.


Sousapalooza at Bryant Park, 5-7pm

Four wind instrument groups–saxophones, clarinets, trumpets & trombones– will improvise in the four corners of the park before assembling to perform the best-loved marches and fanfares of John Philip Sousa and his contemporaries, led by conductor Jeff W. Ball of the Brooklyn Wind Symphony.


Street Studio City at numerous locations citywide throughout the day

Ten teams of world-class DJs and producers will emerge from their studios and pour onto streets citywide to record, mix and loop the live ambient sounds of the streets. All the while, the public is encouraged to interact and to sing, play an instrument, or record audio to become part of the musical track. At the end of the day, each team of producers mixes down one 3-minute track, using only material recorded on site, to share that evening at a “Street Studio Smackdown” party at the offices of SoundCloud.


Uptown Funk throughout historic Harlem, throughout the day

Uptown Funk is a walking tour of historic Harlem that connects an assortment of Make Music New York concerts, presenting partners and venues, including the 3rd Annual Make Music Harlem block party, the Ella Fitzgerald Piano Bar, and special events produced in conjunction with the Jazz Foundation of America.

World Music Block Party at Astor Place Plaza, 11am-6pm

Produced in partnership with Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, this daylong block party will feature seven groups representing diverse immigrant populations in NYC. The party will also feature the finalists and celebrity judges of the first ever  “Drum Off Contest” a contest presented in partnership with Blue Man Group NY.


Make Music New York

Celebrates the musician in all of us

Connects New Yorkers to their communities and to each other

Energizes the shared social spaces that make NYC a cultural capital


June 21, 2017
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