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PR- 278-09
June 19, 2009


More than 900 Free Concerts in Five Boroughs this Sunday, June 21

New this Year: “Mass Appeal” Unleashes the Power of Massed Single Instruments all over NYC

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today encouraged New Yorkers to take part in the third annual Make Music New York, which will feature more than 900 free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs on the first day of summer, Sunday, June 21. From 11 AM through 10 PM, musicians will perform for free on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, parks and gardens across the five boroughs. Musical styles will range from hip hop to opera, and from Latin jazz to punk rock.

“Make Music New York is a great example of why New York is one of the world’s cultural capitals,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Artistic talent – and  those who appreciate it – can be found in every neighborhood in all five boroughs. Make Music New York gives all of our residents and visitors a chance to experience the City’s diverse musical riches in their own backyards – or to explore the sights and sounds of other neighborhoods.”

“With more than 900 concerts in every genre, Make Music New York serves a free banquet of musical riches to neighborhoods throughout the City,” said Aaron Friedman, founder and President of Make Music New York. “It never could have happened without the enthusiastic support of Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin and the dedication of their staffs, along with the numerous City agencies who helped make the festival a reality. Most of all, we’d like to thank the nearly 4,000 musicians – marquee names and amateurs alike – who will bring their talents to the City’s streets, parks, and plazas this Sunday, rain or shine!”

Institutions hosting Make Music New York 2009 (MMNY) concerts include the Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Hall, Central Park SummerStage, Jazz Gallery, Jazzmobile, Queens Museum of Art, and Symphony Space. Noted performers include jazz pianist Randy Weston, French tennis player-turned-pop star Yannick Noah, Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, and punk legends Reagan Youth. 

This year, MMNY's new “Mass Appeal” program gives New Yorkers without groups of their own a chance to take part in the music-making, by bringing together hundreds of musicians to play pieces written for single types of instruments. Some twenty ensembles have formed, with massed groups of the following instruments:

• Accordions

• Acoustic guitars

• Bagpipes

• Cellos

• Circuit benders

• Clarinets

• Flutes

• French horns

• Glockenspiels

• Harmonicas

• Megaphones

• Pianos

• Samba drummers

• Saxophones

• Sing-alongs (songs of Umm Kulthum)

• Trombones

• Ukuleles

• Veenas

• Violins

• Waterphones

After performing throughout the City, Mass Appeal groups will meet for an evening jam session at the Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, which is open to the public.  Conducted by composer David Amram, musicians and audiences form an enormous ensemble to harmoniously improvise on a Musical Handshake – a two-phrase, call-and-response musical greeting – chosen in a competition sponsored by MMNY. This year’s handshake was written by singer and harpist Elissa Weiss, who based the motif on a birdsong she heard last summer.

Other event highlights include:

In tribute to the late Ghanaian drummer Kofi Ghanaba, legendary jazz pianist Randy Weston will perform as part of a day-long block party presented by the Jazz Gallery. The concert takes place at the western end of Dominick St. (Varick and Hudson), 2 – 7pm.

For the second year, Governors Island will be “Punk Island,” with thirteen stages of music and no volume restrictions! Listeners will be able to reach the island via ferry, leaving from the Battery Maritime Building (adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry terminal). Bands include Reagan Youth, Blanks 77, Electric Frankenstein, and over 70 others. 11am – 5pm.

186 bands will perform on the sidewalks of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Bushwick, including local favorites Lowry, Casey Shea Band, Cinema, Dinosaur Feathers, powwow!, Renminbi, and Sigmund Droid. Venues include 3rd Ward, Public Assembly, and Matchless. 11am - 10pm

Central Park SummerStage will join the global Francophone community in celebrating chanson française (French song) with a line-up representing the diversity of French contemporary music: Yannick Noah, Coralie Clément, and Mayra Andrade. Presented in association with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. 3 - 7pm.

As part of Mass Appeal, 80 trombones, organ, and sopranino saxophones will take over the ramps of the Guggenheim Museum for the NY premiere of spatial composer Henry Brant's Orbits, co-presented by Works & Process at the Guggenheim. Audiences gather in the rotunda below, with conductor Neely Bruce and a large contingent of the trombone community above. 7:30pm and 8:30pm.

Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra will perform outside its home venue of Symphony Space, at a Latin jazz block party on W. 95th St and Broadway. 12 - 5pm.

Carnegie Hall presents Folklore Urbano outside the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway), a high-energy Columbian music ensemble led by pianist, composer, and arranger Pablo Mayor. 2 -4 pm.

Six composer/inventors create an Interactive Music Festival on the Coney Island Boardwalk, presented by Manhattan New Music Project, and curated by David Simons. With Joshua Fried’s shoes and steering wheel, John Morton’s altered music boxes, Dafna Naphtali’s computer-altered vocals, Jane Rigler’s electronic flute, David Simons’s Theremin sampler, and Zemi Taylor Kuffner's robot-playing Gamelan. 3 - 6pm.

American Opera Projects presents “The Voice of Brooklyn: Opera and Song from the People's Republic”, with composers Michael Rose, Daniel Felsenfeld, and Jennifer Griffith, and fellow opera companies Rhymes With Opera and Opera On Tap. Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, 12 - 4pm.

  MMNY expands into the Bronx, with indie rock bands on stage at Orchard Beach (presented by Bronx Underground), jazz at the Bronx Museum of Art (one of three Jazzmobile concerts for MMNY), and hip-hop throughout.

  Nivedita ShivRaj leads six players on the veena, an ancient multi-stringed instrument from South India, hosted by Flushing Town Hall at 2 pm.

These are only a few of the hundreds of concerts taking place on June 21 in all five boroughs, from Orchard Beach in the Bronx to the south shore of Staten Island.  MMNY takes place simultaneously with similar festivities in more than 300 cities around the world. For complete program information, visit, or call 311.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Kate deRosset (Cultural Affairs)   (212) 513-9323

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