Make Music Winter 2018

The complete lineup of 2018 Make Music Winter participatory parades taking place on Friday, December 21st has been announced and posted. Be sure to visit Make Music Winter  to see what’s happening in your neighborhood and to join in the fun!

Make Music New York presents Sound of the City

It’s that time of season where we like to feature each of our Special Projects so that you, the Make Music New York community, can have a better understanding of the many great ways to enjoy our music celebrations this coming Thursday, June 21st! Look for regular blog posts outlining events across neighborhoods and boroughs, featuring amazing and engaging musicians from the New York area.
This week, our man Petrit chats with Airbnb concerts rep Wayne Price and host Ron Jean-Gilles about the upcoming partnership between Make Music New York and Airbnb Concerts!
Petrit Pula: Hello Wayne! We’re really happy to partner with Airbnb Concerts for the very first time this June 21st! Can you tell us a little about your mission at Airbnb Concerts and how it intersects with Make Music New York? 
Wayne: Thanks, Petrit! Pleasure to be part of MMNY with Ron’s concert, Sound of the City. Ron as a host is the perfect example of our mission with Airbnb Concerts, which is to create live music experiences that are cozy, intimate and hosted by a human being with a unique POV.
Think of an amazing dinner party, except with music as the conduit for connection, instead of food. Unless of course if the host prefers to bring some food to the table (pun intended), which is part of Ron’s value proposition as host. Unlike other platforms that support intimate concerts, we don’t have a one size fits all model. We’re here to support the host’s creative vision. Many of our hosts are artists themselves, and as such, being a part of the largest one day music festival in New York City makes a ton of sense for us. We’d love NYC’s vibrant live music scene to consider hosting concerts in a unique Airbnb venue.
PP: Great! Can anyone sign up and host a concert?
Wayne: Yes! All potential hosts will be vetted for quality, which is super important to us. If you think you have a concert concept that audiences would want to experience, submit it here: https://www.airbnb.com/host/experiences.
PP: Hi Ron! As the Airbnb Concerts host, what can we expect from the event you’ve planned on June 21st at Nublu? 
Ron: Greetings Petrit! For the 21st and for every concert event that I host the number one priority is to bring joy to the people who come and spend time with us. Usually that happens if the vibe that is set (how they are greeted, what stories you tell, the food they eat..etc..) and the music that is played are right.
The most important thing is the music – that is why I work with the artists that I do. Their music brings me joy and I think others would benefit from that also. Thank you and see you soon!
PP: Very cool! We’re excited to have you part of MMNY this summer solstice!
For more info on Airbnb Concerts and the June 21st MMNY show, grab a program guide or visit www.airbnb.com/concerts

Mp3 Experiment #15 – Featuring our Special Projects

It’s that time of season where we like to feature each of our Special Projects so that you, the Make Music New York community, can have a better understanding of the many great ways to enjoy our music celebrations on Thursday, June 21st (mark your calendar!). Look for regular blog posts outlining events across neighborhoods and boroughs, featuring amazing and engaging musicians from the New York area.

This week, I got to chat with Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere – a comedic performance art group that carries out “missions” in public places. Last year, he worked with Make Music New York on Mp3 Experiment 14 – he’ll be back this year with another special project to check out!

Spencer Kulow: Hi Charlie! We’re excited to have Improv Everywhere return to present Mp3 Experiment Number 15 for Make Music New York this June 21st. Would you mind giving us a bit of the history behind the Mp3 Experiments, and maybe speak to the inspiration behind the concept?

Charlie Todd: I created The Mp3 Experiment in 2004, which was when the iPod was really becoming pervasive in New York City. I remember sitting on the subway and noticing that almost everyone on the car had white earbuds. That made me think, wouldn’t it be cool if everyone was listening to the same music? That if we all had a shared soundtrack in our ears? That led me to develop the first Mp3 Experiment in December of 2004 with composer Tyler Walker.We took that idea of a shared soundtrack and added instructions from a narrator, making it an interactive experience.

That first year some people participated by burning the mp3 file to a Discman. We’ve come along way from those early days to the smartphone app we use now. The first couple of experiments were small, with 100-200 people involved, but we’ve grown over the years and now attract thousands of people. It makes me so happy to watch a crowd of 3,000 people participating in the same fun, ridiculous event.

SK: How has Make Music New York fit into the history of the Mp3 Experiments?

CT: Over the past fifteen years we’ve had partnerships with lots of great cultural institutions like River to River, the Brooklyn Beat Festival, and Governors Island. We like to partner with festivals to attract a new audience and bring the event to new places. Last year was our first partnership with MMNY, and we’re thrilled to be working with them again this year.

Traditionally the Mp3 Experiment has been a mostly silent event. It’s a massive crowd of people blending in to the real world, surprising and delighting others as they carry out secret instructions from their headphones. Working with Make Music New York has inspired us to make a bit more noise. Last year in Battery Park we distributed 3,000 “Boomwhackers” to our participants and had them play a song together. This year we have another surprise musical prop that we’ll be distributing.

SK: Make Music New York is all about uniting New Yorkers in our shared social spaces through the power of music, and the Harbor View Lawn of the Brooklyn Bridge Park is a beautiful example of a shared social space. How is the program integrated into the park itself?

CT: We are really excited to be working with Brooklyn Bridge Park this year, thanks to MMNY. It’s an amazing space, and we’ve designed the event specifically with it in mind. We’ll be using the entirety of Pier 1, with our participants spread out all over it, blending in with everyone else at first, and then congregating together for a big musical celebration. The park has such incredible views. It’s going to be an awesome backdrop for our fun.

SK: What are you most looking forward to in this incarnation of the Mp3 Experiments?

CT: It’s sort of silly that an event that has been going on for 15 years is still called an “experiment”, but we try new things each year. That’s always what excites me the most when I’m writing the script. I love taking a big swing and crafting something ambitious for our crowd to carry out. It doesn’t always work out like we expect, but it’s always fun. We’ve learned so much over the years about crowds and how they work together. We’ll be including some classic bits that are guaranteed to bring lots of smiles, and we’re pushing boundaries and trying new things as well.

SK: And, one final question: how can Make Music New York fans enjoy the program and what should they expect?

CT: Head to https://improveverywhere.com for the full participation details. The event is free and open to people of all ages. You’ll need to download our app to your phone to get the audio file and synchronize playback, and there will be instructions on what to wear and what to bring (a few simple household props.) The full details won’t be posted until the week of the event. If you join our email list, you’ll be the first to know when the details are out.

Hot off the Press! More info about Make Music New York

Look out! We have a new press release out in preparation for June 21st and Make Music New York. Wondering what we have to say? Here are some highlights:

“Completely different from a typical music festival, [Make Music New York] celebrates and promotes the natural music maker in all of us, regardless of ability. Reimagining their cities and towns as stages, every kind of musician – from bucket drummers and opera singers to hip-hop artists and marching bands – pours onto streets, parks, plazas, porches, rooftops, gardens and elsewhere to celebrate, create and share their music with friends, neighbors and strangers.

All Make Music New York events are free and open to the public. Participants who wish to perform, or to host musical events, may register at MakeMusicNY.org. A full schedule of events will be posted on the website in early June.

About Make Music New York

Now entering its 12th year, Make Music New York (MMNY) is a unique festival of 1,000+ free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City, all on June 21, the first day of summer and longest day of the year. MMNY takes place with similar festivities in 800 cities around the world – a global celebration of music-making. For more information, please visit www.makemusicny.org.”

You can read the full press release here for more info!

 

Muscota Marsh Harmony – Special Project

It’s that time of season where we like to feature each of our Special Projects so that you, the Make Music New York community, can have a better understanding of the many great ways to enjoy our music celebrations on Thursday, June 21st (mark your calendar!). Look for regular blog posts outlining events across neighborhoods and boroughs, featuring amazing and engaging musicians from the New York area. If you missed our past special project posts, be sure to check them out here, here, and here!

James Burke – our Executive Director – spoke this week with ​composer John Hastings, creator of the special project “Muscota Marsh Harmony.”

James Burke: Hi John! I’m thrilled to be presenting your latest special project “Muscota Marsh Harmony” as part of this summer’s Make Music New York on June 21st. I know that you have worked with MMNY in the past as well. Can you share with our fans some of your history with the festival?

John Hastings: Hi James! I’ve been working with MMNY since 2012 when I did a audience participation piece called “HUM 7 8 9” where people would join with me in humming along with the ConEd substation in DUMBO. It was a place I discovered by walking one day and it was great fun to integrate the city’s sound environment with New Yorkers into a sonic seance of sorts. I did that piece a few times as well as a performance of Christian Wolff’s Stones in Red Hook, at the beach near Valentino Pier Park in 2015. As with my humming piece, the audience were the performers as we all collected stones from the beach and made sounds with them together . One of the joys of MMNY is having people from all walks of life engaged with sound and music in all sorts of ways.

 

JB: Back to “Muscota Marsh Harmony”, can you explain the program for our followers and speak to the inspiration behind the concept?

John: Muscota Marsh Harmony is a performance that was directly inspired by my neighborhood and community in Inwood, at the top of Manhattan. What I want to do is to harmonize different parts of the neighborhood, whether it be the community, culture, history, and even the environment itself. How this will manifest is through 4 performers, moving through the park space, singing different pitches as well as melodies remembered from their own personal histories. Interviews that I conducted with my neighbors will also be featured, played back through speakers scattered throughout the park. The audience then is free to move through the park and to listen the singers and interviewees relate their perspectives and stories.

 

JB: Make Music New York is all about uniting New Yorkers in our shared social spaces through the power of music and you have identified a unique and site specific performance venue. How is the program integrated into the layout of the park?

John: The Muscota Marsh is a reclaimed wetland that sits near the convergence of the Hudson and Harlem Rivers, properly called Spuyten Duyvil Creek. I wanted to site the performance at this place, between land and water, itself a kind of harmoniousness. With this performance, I don’t want to force the sound into the park, I want to place the singers and the pre-recorded interviews as an outgrowth of what would already be there. I see my contribution as a sonic “scrim” over the environment. Our NYC parks are really a shared space for all of us and this performance will hopefully only add to that.

 

JB: What are you most looking forward to and how can Make Music fans best enjoy the performance?

John: I’m most looking forward to the warm weather! Make Music New York is always a fantastic day and I hope to take in at least a couple other events before mine in the evening. For people coming to see Muscota Marsh Harmony, I would say come with an open mind and be ready to be surprised by seeing such a pastoral scene in Upstate Manhattan!

Twilight ​Chorus ​(for ​H​umans) – Make Music New York Special Project

It’s that time of season where we like to feature each of our Special Projects so that you, the Make Music New York community, can have a better understanding of the many great ways to enjoy our music celebrations on Thursday, June 21st (mark your calendar!). Look for regular blog posts outlining events across neighborhoods and boroughs, featuring amazing and engaging musicians from the New York area.

This week, Make Music New York’s Executive Director, James Burke, spoke with composer ​Pete M. Wyer​ about 2018 Make Music New York’s​ special project “Twilight ​Chorus ​(for ​H​umans).”

 

James Burke: Hi Pete! I’m thrilled to be presenting your latest special project “Twilight (for humans)” as part of this summer’s Make Music New York on June 21st. I know that you have worked with MMNY in the past as well. Can you share with our fans some of your history with the festival?

Pete Wyer: In 2014 I created a setting of Dylan Thomas’s poem ​”​And Death Shall Have No Dominion​”​ for a headphone​d​ choir. The idea was that singers would each have a specially created app which synchronized their device to an atomic clock and at exactly 11.00am on June 21st it would start playing a backing track ​from which ​singers could choose soprano, alto, tenor or bass ​parts ​or ​play along with an​ instruments. People began singing wherever they were in N​ew York City​ and began walking converging routes to an assembly point at Rockefeller Park​.​ ​S​o a soprano walking down one street might find she was in sync and in harmony with a tenor in the next street. It started out as individuals​ and ​small groups​ ​and ended up with a full choir and band, ​at which time ​everyone took off the​ir​ headphones and all sang together.

 

 

JB: Back to “Twilight ​Chorus ​(for ​H​umans),” can you explain the program for our followers and speak to the inspiration behind the concept?

Pete: I have always been strongly influenced by birds​ong​ at dawn and at dusk. Not only the sound​, ​but the spatiality​ as well.​ ​I​t’s an incredible experience in spring to walk through parkland or woodland at dawn and listen to the ever shifting kaleidoscope of sound as you move​. In​ my native England​, ​this is mostly blackbirds, robins, chaffinches, goldfinches, wrens, song thrushes and in more recent times, parakeets.

In 2016 I made a piece for WNYC’s ​”​New Sounds Liv​e” at the Winter Garden which was inspired by ​MIT ​Professor Shigeru Miyagawa’s​ ​hypothesis that human speech is evolved from birdsong. In that piece, ​en​titled ​”​Song of the Human​,”​ I used the pitch, rhythm, tone and dynamic of human speech as a start point. With ​”​Twilight Chorus (for Humans)​,​” I have taken recordings of birdsong, slowed them down and transcribed them for singers. ​During the​ performance​, ​the singers ​will be​ dispersed across an area of Brooklyn Botanical Garden, again synchronized via an app. The audience are invited to experience the piece by moving between the voices – there​ is​ no single version of the piece​ and ​each person’s experience will be unique to them. The piece slowly evolves and brings the singers together at the end with more identifiably ​”​human​”​ music.

 

JB: How can Make Music New York fans enjoy the program and what should they expect?

​Pete: T​he piece will be a unique experience​ for performers and spectators alike. ​I​t begins with sixteen singers spread out, singing simultaneous solos that are transcribed from birdsong​. ​That’s a long way from a Bach chorale! ​B​ut ​it ​ends in a more intimate place with singers gathered together. I always hope my pieces in some way move people toward a deeper connection to each other​ and​ to nature​.​ ​And​ if it makes them smile or touches them in some way, I’m happy.

Special Project – Live At The Archway!

It’s that time of year where we want to feature each of our Special Projects so that you, the Make Music New York community, can have a better understanding of the many great ways to enjoy Make Music New York on Thursday, June 21st (mark your calendar!). Look for regular blog posts outlining events across neighborhoods and boroughs, featuring amazing and engaging musicians from the New York area.

Make Music New York’s Executive Director, James Burke, is back! This week he spoke with ​Clara Schuhmacher from the DUMBO Improvement District about partnering on a special project for the popular “Live At The Archway” series​.

 

James Burke: Hi Clara, thanks for joining me!  Make Music New York has a long history of activating special projects in the DUMBO neighborhood in partnership with the DUMBO Improvement District. Perhaps you could share how the relationship began?

Clara: We’re always down to do crazy and amazing things in Dumbo, and especially in the Archway, which is an epic public space in an epic city (no, we’re not biased or anything). So when an interesting project comes our way, we’re game – and MMNY always has interesting projects!

We were first connected to MMNY in 2011, when Nick Franglen proposed playing a 24-hour-duet with the Manhattan Bridge and its cyclists (he played Theremin). Two years later, MMNY helped us turn the Archway into a giant string instrument, for the premiere of a piece by Eli Keszler featuring So Percussion. Those two projects have lived on as office legends, but there have been many other wonderful projects, both in summer and in winter.

It’s been great fun working together from the Dumbo perspective. And of course my personal connection to MMNY runs deep. My brother was one of the original volunteers, and I got looped in organizing Bushwick when I first moved to Brooklyn. Fast forward to 2013, when I joined the organization as Director of Operations for three festivals. And now here we are, continuing to work together to make magic happen in public spaces. I love how New York works this way.

 

JB: Live At The Archway provides such a cool vibe for the community to enjoy live music. What is your philosophy in curating the space and celebrating the community?

Clara: Thanks James, appreciate the kind words! One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to spend most of my days out and about, chatting one-on-one with retailers, business owners, artists, residents – everyone who touches the neighborhood in some way. It’s the best way to get direct insight and feedback into what the neighborhood needs and desires. A lot of my curation comes down to gut. I know this place, it’s my place now too, and I trust my instincts on what works and what doesn’t work.

What’s fun – but also challenging – about curating Live at the Archway is the diversity of the audience: all ages, all kinds of relationship to the neighborhood and myriad musical tastes. It’s always a balance, thinking through acts who will offer something to such an audience. Of course, I can’t appeal to everyone every week, which is why the season is so eclectic–my core audience comes back week after week, and they know that if they’re not super into an act one week, chances are the next week will be their favorite. And then there’s the practical side: the Archway is massive, and acoustics challenging. I’m looking for acts who will sound beautiful in the space, and who are dynamic performers, have that extra bit of stage flair, and can hold the “room.”

What really makes #LiveAtTheArchway a celebration of community, however, is that it’s not just a concert series. It’s music, it’s visual art, it’s spectacle, it’s tech. We build a pop-up gallery on site every week, show the work of a different DUMBO artist inside, and lead the audience in a community art project on the outside. We feature a different creative company from the neighborhood weekly as well, and invite them to bring their work out into the public, test it, show it off. And of course, we program a lot of DUMBO musicians too.

 

JB: We’re excited to be partnering with you to present Natalia Clavier as part of our June 21st music celebrations. How would you describe her music to Make Music fans? What can Make Music New York expect of the show?

Clara: The question all musicians dread! I’m not sure if Natalia would agree, but to me her music feels very tango electronica, without being tango. (Full disclosure: I’m Argentine and love this kind of stuff.) It’s got great beats, it’s a little hip hop, it’s a little jazz, she sings in Spanish and in English. Really: it’s all chill, summery vibes – perfect for sitting in the Archway with a drink on the longest day of summer! Bring a picnic, get a drink from our Archway bar, and enjoy. Show is early, 6:15pm. And if Argentina wins their World Cup that day, get ready for some cheering too! 😉

 

WTC @ WTC: The Well-Tempered Clavier at the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial Plaza

It’s that time of year where we want to feature each of our Special Projects so that you, the Make Music New York community, can have a better understanding of the many great ways to enjoy Make Music New York on Thursday, June 21st (mark your calendar!). Look for regular blog posts outlining events across neighborhoods and boroughs, featuring amazing and engaging musicians from the New York area.

This week, we’re talking to Jenny Undercofler, creator of the special project: “WTC @ WTC: The Well-Tempered Clavier at the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial plaza.” Our Executive Director, James Burke, took a few minutes off of his busy schedule to ask her a few questions!

 

James Burke: Hi Jenny! I’m thrilled that WTC @ WTC, which debuted as a highlight of our 2017 season, will be returning as part of the Make Music New York celebrations on June 21st this summer.  What was your inspiration in creating the concept?

Jenny: Well, partly it was just playing with names – I am a pianist and I was writing “WTC” for some program or other – and I thought “wow, playing the Well Tempered Clavier on the World Trade Center Memorial Plaza would be epically cool.” And, because it’s Make Music New York, epic things can happen!

JB: Make Music New York is all about uniting New Yorkers in our shared social spaces through the power of music and no public space is more essential to the city than Memorial plaza. How is the program integrated into the layout of plaza itself?

Jenny: The project integrates four pianos into the Memorial Plaza space – one at roughly each “corner”. What is lovely is that at that time of day – from 5 to 8 PM – there are so many different reasons that people are wandering through that space. People commuting home from work; tourists visiting the city; families who live nearby, with their children and dogs….

JB: What are you most looking forward to in the second incarnation of WTC @ WTC?

Jenny: Really, just more of what I enjoyed the first time. I get to see many of my pianist friends and colleagues, and they bring their students and friends, and we get to “nerd out” with JS Bach for a few hours, in public, without the constraints of the concert hall.

JB: How can Make Music New York fans best enjoy the performances and what should they expect?

Jenny: Really, just pick a time and enjoy one of two ways: either camp out at one piano for the time you have; or divide it up between multiple pianos. Last year, we had pianists ‘cycle’ from one piano to the next, but this year we’re going to have the pianists stay in place, just to make everything a little bit more relaxed.

Thank you so much to Jenny for her time, and we look forward to another great WTC @ WTC!

 

Partering with Community Gardens

We are proud to partner with many different communities and organizations throughout the five boroughs. The more diverse the groups we partner with, the more people we can engage with on Make Music Day (June 21st – mark your calendars!), and the better we can make real our mission of celebrating music with the people of New York City.

One such community is GreenThumb Community Gardens. GreenThumb supports over 550 gardens throughout the five boroughs. They put on workshops that provide supplies to garderes, as well as teach gardeners anything from basics to advanced farming techniques. Some gardens are meant as a social and open space, others are small farms as oases in the city, and many are a combination of both!

Community gardens share a vision with Make Music New York, in that they believe in bringing together communities, relaxation, and believing in individuals to be the backbone of their program of all ages and backgrounds to share their passions.

Perform in a community garden

We have 12 community gardens signed up as venues so far – these gardens are perfect for singer-songwriters, acoustic acts, chamber groups, and even bands! In this more intimate setting, surround yourself with green space as you bring music to your community in a unique way.

From GreenThumbs: “Music in the gardens can be the perfect opportunity to get to know your neighbors and other organizations! Visit greenthumbnyc.org to find a list of gardens that will be participating.”

Sound like your cup of tea? Once you’ve visited greenthumbnyc.com to see the list of gardens, register here to perform in your local community garden!

 

Artist Sign Ups

May 11th is the artist sign-up deadline…sign-ups end in less than a month! Do you have a band or an act that you’d love to perform for your neighborhood? You can register here!

And, even if you don’t want to perform yourself, tell your friends! Let them know about us – Make Music New York is a great opportunity to grow a fan base as an artist, or to reach more people and grow awareness of a venue.

As we have said before, it’s the people of New York City make this festival possible, and its their (and our!) music we celebrate.

 

Why We Love Libraries

We at Make Music New York have a deep appreciation for libraries and the many benefits they provide their community. They bring a focus on learning and face-to-face interaction, and provide a center in which a neighborhood or community can ground itself. They provide means for low-income young adults and seniors alike to access the internet.

Overall, public libraries provide services, access to the arts for all, and a space that few other community centers provide, all in the name of a love and respect for the arts. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, we are proud to partner with public libraries throughout the five boroughs to bring unique performances to the communities supported by those libraries.

Image courtesy of Curbed

100+ BPM

On of the more notable library activations for Make Music New York came back in 2014, on the front steps of the Brooklyn Public Library. NPR commissioned a piece from Sunny Jain, founder of Brooklyn-based band Red Baraat, “that would kick off the season in massive, marching-band style.” Jain wrote 100+ BPM, a reference both to the tempo of the piece and to the core goal of the performance: “Brooklyn Public Music.”

All brass players and percussionists were welcome to participate, and almost 350 musicians came out to perform the piece! Professional drum lines, community marching bands, jazz musicians, samba musicians, and tons of amateur musicians came out to play! With hours of fun music-making and positivity, 100+ BPM ended a successful event for NPR, BPL, and Make Music New York.

NPR even put together a video recap of the event:

 

Performing at a library

Not all library events have to be that extensive! 100+ BPM brought a huge group of people together, but library communities come in all shapes and sizes – so do their events! We’re always looking for great ideas for library performances; they can be as small as solo acts, or involve an entire community.

We’re always looking for more performers – if you feel strongly about performing at your local library, we can help make that happen. Register for Make Music New York 2018 here – once you’ve create your profile, peruse the list of venues for that library!

Don’t see it there? Reach out to us at admin@makemusicny.org and we can help register them as a venue to make that performance happen! We want libraries to celebrate music in their communities with artists who live and breathe those communities.

And, as always, stay tuned to this blog for all the newest Make Music New York information!

 

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