Make Music New York 2015 to Kick Off 6/21
Make Music New York, dubbed "the largest music event ever to grace Gotham" (Metro New York), returns for its ninth year with a wild and wonderful mix of free, outdoor, public concerts all around the city on Sunday, June 21, the first day of summer. Last year, more than 1,300 concerts were given, spanning all five boroughs, and Make Music New York is on track to surpass that number in 2015. Wrote Vivien Schweitzer of The New York Times, "part of the fun is the unexpected: discovering a string quartet, a rock band or an opera singer in the city's many nooks and crannies."
Make Music New York is the flagship event of Make Music Day, celebrated in more than 20 cities around the US, and a highlight of the international Fête de la Musique, taking place on June 21 in 700 cities across 120 countries.
Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music Day is open to anyone who wants to take part, enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend. In New York, any musician, amateur or professional, young or old, is invited to sign up at www.makemusicny.org; registration closes on April 29. Likewise, businesses, buildings, schools, churches, and others can visit the website to offer their outdoor spaces as concert locations. A full schedule of events, starting times, and locations will be posted on the site on May 21.
There is truly something for everyone in Make Music New York 2015, from hip-hop to opera, large-scale spectacles to street-corner concerts, virtuosic showmanship to homespun sing-alongs. And every year, MMNY adds imaginative new events to the calendar.
This year MMNY inaugurates Exquisite Corpses, a new series that will bring life to six of New York's burial grounds with chains of improvised musical conversations. As originated by the Surrealists, Exquisite Corpses were poems or drawings in which each participant only saw a fragment of the previous one's work, leading to collaborative pieces rich in unexpected twists and turns. For MMNY's Exquisite Corpses, six respected New York artists - including percussionist Cyro Batista, cellist Andrew Livingston, and artists curated by Jazzmobile - will host a gathering at each cemetery, directing participants in a series of improvised duets. Anyone can take part, either by RSVP'ing with MMNY to reserve a spot, or showing up on June 21 and stepping in to join the overlapping chain of players. Locations include Grant's Tomb, NYC Marble Cemetery, St Mark's Church-In-The-Bowery, Trinity Church Cemetery (at Broadway and Wall St), and Madison Square Park (formerly a potter's field).
The Great American Songbook gets a nod with another new event, Pop Up Musicals. In conjunction with Soundfly, a music education and media company, numbers or medleys from NYC-centric musicals will be performed all around Manhattan. A roving U-Haul will unload singers and musicians clown-car style, hit the audience with a flash musical theater performance, pack back up, and take off for the next location. Each set will include familiar numbers that encourage audience participation. A grand finale with all participants will take place at Union Square, on the steps of the Daryl Roth Theatre.
Some of this year's most exciting concerts expand on previous events. For 2015, Make Music partners with Yamaha to take the popular Clavinova Piano Bar to an even bigger stage: three pianists, in three piano trucks, across three Make Music cities, celebrating the 100th birthday of the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra. From the back of Yamaha-branded pickups, pianists in New York, Chicago, and Seattle will play live music on a Clavinova digital piano to accompany singers on the sidewalk, choosing songs from the Sinatra songbook such as My Way, Come Fly With Me, and It Was A Very Good Year. New York locations will include P.J. Clarke's, one of Sinatra's regular hangouts, and the Carnegie Club, culminating at the NYPL for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, home of a current exhibit about Sinatra, with performances by special guests from Sinatra's long career.
In a sequel to last year's "Berlioz in Bryant Park," Make Music New York's Sousapalooza will feature over 200 wind band musicians from around the tri-state area, performing classic marches in Manhattan's Bryant Park in the afternoon. The performance will be led by Jeff W. Ball, conductor of the Brooklyn Wind Symphony, and will feature members of the West Point Band. The day will start at 2 pm with a new Guerrilla Fanfare by composer Kevin James, performed by members of TILT Brass and Mobius Percussion, who will walk into the park from different directions and converge while playing. HONK NYC will present a series of street brass bands before Sousapalooza kicks off at 4 pm.
For 2015, MMNY is expanding Daniel Goode's popular Soho Gamelan Walk, a hit of Make Music Winter, into Concerto for Buildings. The block of Greene St between Grand and Broome, with eight buildings that have hollow, cast-iron facades that resonate when struck, will be shut down as Mantra Percussion invites noted composers - including Paula Matthussen, Scott Wollschleger, and Goode himself - to write short pieces for buildings and ensemble, which together will constitute a new "Concerto for Buildings." The gifted young musicians of Face the Music will form an orchestra in the middle of the street, along with members of Mantra Youth Percussion.
Also returning are Porch Stomp, MMNY's celebration of bluegrass, old-time, traditional folk and roots music, on the historic porches of Governors Island; Punk Island, returning for its eighth year with over 90 punk bands from as far away as the Philippines to as near as the East Village, on a Staten Island pier; and Mass Appeal concerts for massed groups of the same instrument, supported by the NAMM Foundation, including cellos, guitars, harmonicas, synthesizers, ukuleles, and even Klezmer violins.
Additional details and more highlights, both new and returning, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Make Music New York is proud to partner with some of the city's leading cultural organizations and venues as co-presenters. For 2015, co-presenters not already listed above include Arts Brookfield, Bronx Music Heritage Center, Carnegie Hall, Cornelia Street Cafe, Dubspot, Found Sound Nation, Harlem Arts Alliance, Jalopy Tavern, Prospect Park Alliance, Queens Museum, Staten Island Museum, and others to be announced.
Make Music New York is free to the public, no tickets required. Further information on Make Music New York is available at www.makemusicny.org.