Thursday, June 4, 2009

Upcoming Event: Make Music New York! FREE Outdoor City-Wide Festival June 21st

While I'm at it, I should take this time to plug the 3rd annual Make Music New York! FREE outdoor city-wide (all five borroughs) music festival!!!!

Make Music New York is back for a third year for a whole day of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

On Sunday, June 21st. from 11 in the morning until 10 at night, musicians of all ages and musical persuasions — from hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock — will perform on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens.

Mark your calendars, ask for the day off from work (no, demand the day off) or just plan to call out sick, because trust me, you don't want to miss this festival. Last year I listened to some truly amazing Jazz music from Harlem to Chinatown and back again.

The only problem with the festival is that it will make you wish you were in about a hundred places at once. Then again, that's how I feel almost every day living in New York City.

Highlights of this year's festival include:

Mass Appeal
This year, Make Music New York's Mass Appeal unleashes the power of massed single instruments, all over NYC. Imagine a parade of accordian players through the streets of Brooklyn. A bagpipe parade through the streets of Staten Island. A participatory hand percussion walk through SOHO turning cast iron buildings into resonant gong instruments. Dozens of celloists in Central Park. Electronic musicians performing on short-circuited devices (children's toys, keyboards, drum machines, etc.) in Astor Place. Clarinets in Stuyvestent Square Park, an all-flute orchstra in Riverside Park, a mass of french horns in Central Park and saxaphones in Thompkins Square Park. What about dozens of glockenspiels in the East Meadow of Central Park? Or a sing-along to the music of Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum in downtown Brooklyn? And if only Tiny Tim were still alive to witness the ukulele jam in Richard Tucker Square. Check out the above link for even more Mass Appeal madness!

Return to Punk Island
For the second year in a row, Governor's Island will be transformed into Punk Island. Over 70 bands (including punk legends Reagan Youth, Blanks 77 and Electric Frankenstein) will appear on 12 stages scattered around the island, as free ferries transport revelers from the tip of Lower Manhattan to Governors Island every half hour beginning at 10am. Just like the rest of Make Music New York, all performances are outdoors and completely free. Punk Island begins at 10am and ends at 5pm sharp. Ferries leave every 30 minutes from the Battery Maritime Terminal, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan.

"Orbits" at the Guggenheim
In the only indoor performance during the Make Music New York! Festival, 80 trombones, organ, and sopranino take over the ramps of the Guggenheim Museum for a New York premiere of composer Henry Brant's piece "Orbits." Henry Brant was a pioneer of acoustic spatial music, often employing instrumental groups of a single timbre. Audiences gather in the rotunda below, with conductor Neely Bruce and a large contingent of the trombone community above. Performances at 730pm and 830pm.

Blues to Africa
Legendary jazz pianist Randy Weston performs in honor of the late Ghanaian drummer Kofi Ghanaba, part of a day-long block party presented by the Jazz Gallery and Jazzmobile, in SoHo. With percussionists Obo Addy, Kwaku Martin Obeng, and others. 2-7pm.

Folklore Urbana at the Brooklyn Museum
Led by Colombian pianist, composer, and arranger Pablo Mayor, Folklore Urbano has redefined modern Colombian music, setting new heights in both world music & Latin jazz. This high-energy, wildly fun ensemble harnesses the danceable swing of traditional Colombian rhythms while seducing the listener with the subtleties of jazz orchestration & harmony. Outside the Brooklyn Museum, 4pm.

Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) was founded in 2002 by artistic director Arturo O'Farrill to perform compositions of masters such as Machito, Tito Puente, Chico O'Farrill, Astor Piazzola, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascual, and others, and to keep this culturally rich tradition alive by continuing to commission new works within the genre. Noon to 6pm at the Symphony Space Block Party, West 95th St and Broadway.

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