For the last seven years, on June 21 (the longest day of the year), New Yorkers have celebrated Make Music New York, a citywide event featuring free outdoor musical performances (and some indoor ones at night). There will be more than 1,000 this year, which can make it seem daunting (browse the full schedule here
), but we spoke to the organizers of 11 events in Brooklyn about what they're planning. There's a diversity of styles (opera, choral, experimental, punk, toy instruments, folk, electronic and everything in between) being performed in a diversity of neighborhoods (DUMBO, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Crown Heights, Gowanus, Williamsburg, Bushwick and more). Go see something! If you're not going to make music, you could at least listen. [photo
DUMBO: "Archway" in the Manhattan Bridge ArchwayEli Keszler
: "The bridge itself is used as the framework for the piece. Tuned and stretched piano wire extends from the bridge to a light pole across the street—a vertical drop of about 335 feet. Connecting from multiple points and angles, mounted at 18 feet on the pole, the piano wire is also extended from two light poles mounted at 23 feet, weaving in and out of itself and each other to create a web of strings, resulting in torqued shapes and overlapping structures. The wires converge about 200 feet under the bridge in the center of the Archway, ranging in length from 50 to over 500 feet in length.
"The strings produce sound in two ways. Trains, bikes, trucks, and wind passing over the bridge cause vibrations that naturally resonate the strings. Inside the Archway, a mechanized system of mechanical beaters strikes the strings in patterns that are constantly changing. The natural patterns of commuters, traffic and the beaters create one evolving pattern over the other, alternately contradicting and complimenting each other, and interacting with the flow of traffic, time of day and wind. As the patterns on the bridge change so does the installation. The sound itself is rich in harmonics and aggressive string attacks, as the tuned piano wire resonates and decays. The piece is architectural and static on one level—visually vertical—with sound moving linearly from event to event."
Greenpoint: New Music Flash Choir at Newtown Creek Nature WalkDafna Naphtali
: "Basically, I invited some of my favorite singers to come join me in creating a garden of voices [4pm to 6pm]: we will sing beautiful and challenging pieces around the nature walk, ranging from unaccompanied songs, small group- and choral-pieces, while also engaging the audience members in site-specific listening. All in the beautiful nature walk design by George Trakas." [photo
: Will Sherman]
Clinton Hill: Hillstock at Putnam Triangle PlazaTerence Kelly
: "This is Hillstock's first time participating in Make Music New York, and we're wildly enthusiastic—it's going to be strange and wonderful! We worked with FAB Alliance to secure permits for Putnam Triangle Plaza, and this is the warm-up show [5pm-8pm] for what is sure to be a certified-crazy weekend: five venues, 50+ performances of music & comedy, all in the Clinton Hill neighborhood. With three-day passes only $20, I'm proud to help organize Hillstock and grateful for the opportunity to showcase affordable, all-ages arts programming in Brooklyn. You can catch members of your favorite local punk bands interpreting Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' on the night of Summer Solstice, a block party featuring a 19-piece brass band, a post-Shabbos Hasidic hardcore show, and a Javanese Gamelan orchestra on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It's real weird, it's real fun. It's the best."
Crown Heights: Brooklyn LaunchPadZane VanDusen
: "We're hosting 10 hours of performances [starting at 1pm; last set starts at 9pm] by a diverse group of musicians that's indicative of the Prospect Heights/Crown Heights neighborhood: genuinely uncool but unironically fun! With performers ranging from a man who raps the words of William Shakespeare to experimental solo artists who rock-out on delay pedals to the self-explanatory Toys and Tiny Instruments band. It all culminates with the opening of 'Give Me a Sign,' a new installation/event that explores body language and the traces of human presence through performance, sculpture, painting and collage." [photo
Fort Greene: Opera on Tap at Fort Greene ParkAnne Hiatt
: "It's a free outdoor concert of opera, musicals, spirituals, and song on the first day of summer. At 5:30pm, Brooklyn-based new music ensemble TWO SIDES SOUNDING presents a sampling of songs by composers championed by American Opera Projects over the years, interspersed with selections by local artists paying tribute to Kings County itself... at 6pm: 'Summer lovin', had me a blast... summer lovin' happened so fast...' OPERA ON TAP's divas and divos bring their operatic stylings to the streets to show just how musical summer romance can be. At 6:30pm: In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, AOP singers perform a mix of traditional spirituals, operatic favorites and compelling new songs. Featuring music by composer Nkeiru Okoye from the opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom
and 'Brooklyn Cinderella,' a song cycle based on the poetry of Brooklyn teenagers. Then at 7:15pm, acclaimed soprano Lauren Flanigan and members of her Music and Mentoring House will perform new works, featuring music by composer Josh Kight from 'Pity,' a musical theater work that explores the relativity of truth, and song cycles 'The Cuckoo' and 'Chairs,' a piece that explores the simple but important relationship that people have with different chairs." [photo
Gowanus: Thomas Greene Playground/Gemini & Scorpio Loft (MMNY After Dark)Clara Schuhmacher
: "I don't know if you've seen it recently, but Thomas Greene Playground in Gowanus (Third Avenue, between Degraw and Douglass) is a great spot: in addition to the playground, it has basketball courts and a public pool, and it's a natural space for a neighborhood-friendly, summertime concert. I had originally reached out to Larisa [Fuchs] about the late-night portion, but we both agreed the park was too wonderful a spot to pass up. We went for something with a big sound but minimal set up, as well as something we hope reflects the cultural and architectural diversity of Gowanus. (Lofts and long-term residents!) The park concert starts off with a jazz trio (Kaplan Moffett Merega Trio), then moves into a Latin-influenced funk and dub (Super Hi Fi), and finally to dub on the more heavily electronic side while keeping the Latin and the live performance angle (Drum and Samples). This transitions into the MMNY After Dark: Gowanus in Larisa's (awesome) loft across the street, which will feature some of our favorite MMNY electronic and dance musicians in a late-night dance party. (This genre is a bit harder to manage in the middle of the day on a sidewalk, and we're stoked Larisa was cool with helping give them a home within the MMNY framework.) You can dig into those artists a bit more here
Williamsburg: The 7th Annual MMNY Brooklyn BBQ Block Party, at KinfolkAvi Wisnia
: "New York City is one of the most vibrant places in the world for creative new music; this city is saturated with new talent. The MMNY festival puts music out prominently in the public sphere, allowing New Yorkers to engage with the music made in their city. It's like, for one day, enjoying music is unavoidable! My event [4pm to 10pm] taps into one of the epicenters of new creative output within the city: Williamsburg. At our BBQ Block party, we will feature an eclectic variety of hot emerging music makers, a wild display of visual art, BBQ-themed snacks and summery drinks, all showcased in a unique impromptu sidewalk performance-space where artists can engage freely with the pedestrian crowd. And then, there's a secret after party, which we'll tell you about if you show up."
Bushwick: Bushwick Coffee HouseValentin Villa
: "We are having over 20 different artists collaborate in what will be the longest-running festival during MMNY in Bushwick, from 10am till 10pm, featuring some great talent, from Emily Rupp, a local indie-folk and pop singer, to Carmen Chiles, whose rock and soul music will inspire you. Some of the artists are traveling all the way from Canada for this magnificent event. Our event will be done outdoors, but if it rains, we are going to bring it indoors at BCH. Come and celebrate the longest day of the year with us. Happy Hour will be from 4pm till 7pm, serving frozen drinks and flavored Mojitos." [photo
East Williamsburg: The Firehouse SpaceMakiko Kato
- 12000 Trees. Photo by Gamze Alkan
: "We (12000 TREES
) wanted to organize a fun show [4pm to 10pm] for MMNY with like-minded people and looked for venues and bands that'd be suiting. The people at the Firehouse Space were excited about the idea, so we put together a pretty sweet lineup of musicians who have in common the improvised nature of their live performances: some starting from basic structures, resulting in either upbeat, visceral or mellow jams. The bands playing are Lazurites, Trabajo,12000 TREES, METH and Lauds."
Williamsburg: Urban Rustic CafeZachary Jones
: "Our event is outside of Urban Rustic Cafe (236 N. 12th Street) from noon until 8pm. It's going to be a full eight hours of musicians jamming in the sun. A few bands will also be performing stripped down versions of their tunes. It'll be a huge hangout spent appreciating the art of song while drinking smoothies by the park."
Williamsburg/Greenpoint: Summer Solstice in McCarren ParkIan M. Colletti
: "A mystic outdoor tent, adorned with curiosities, houses our musical performers of the day, as we listen to exceptional music, drink and are merry under the sun and in honor of the summer solstice. BYOB picnic and hang among friends starts at 4pm, music goes from 5-9pm, with performances from myself (as Vaudeville), Toby Driver (Kayo Dot, Vaura), Baby Copperhead (Benjamin B. Lee), Brent Arnold, What Color is Your Machine Gun? (Brian McKorkle), Brent Arnold, The Use (Michael Durek), and composer/violist Eric Lemmon (Circles & Lines). It's also a hang and a relaxed followup to the big 'Moving Forward' Bushwick Open Studios Music Festival, June 2, with similar talent." [photo
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