Special Projects 2017!

In addition to the large number of street, parks and plaza performances featuring the NYC music making public, every June 21st MMNY partners with artists, venues and organizations to present an array of Special Projects. Here is a first look at some of the extraordinarily creative projects in the works:

49 Flutes at locations citywide throughout the day

A celebration of the 40th anniversary of John Cage’s 49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs that will feature 49-98 flutists performing citywide throughout the day. Cage’s artwork first appeared in the October 6, 1977 Rolling Stone magazine, a gala issue celebrating their move to New York City. For the piece, Cage constructed”waltzes” through chance operations as a series of 49 multi-colored triangles superimposed on a Hagstrom map of 147 locations throughout the city. Subsequently, he published a score for performers, listeners and/or record maker. Presented in partnership with Avant Media and flutist Martha Cargo.


Cantus and Chamber Music Center of NY at the Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park, 4:30-7pm

Cantus is hailed as “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the US” by Fanfare and are winners of the prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America.  Students from the Chamber Music Center of NY will kick the program off.  Cantus is presented in partnership with Carnegie Hall.


Concertos for Buildings at Greene Street between Broome and Grand, 5-7pm

Ensemble percussion compositions will be played using buildings on a historic SoHo block as instruments. Featuring professionals and students from Mantra Percussion and a woodwinds section from Rahway High School, NJ. The program features works by Daniel Goode, Miguel Bolivar and the debut of a new commission by composer Lainie Fefferman.


Ella Fitzgerald Piano Bar throughout historic Harlem, 11am-6pm

A celebration of the life and music of Ella on the occasion of her 100th birthday anniversary. A pickup truck decked out with a keyboard and PA system will travel to half a dozen Harlem locations that resonate with Ella’s music heritage ending with an after party at the Jazz Museum of Harlem. Additional stops along the route will include Red Rooster/Ginny’s Supper Club and Shrine. At each stop, audience members will be given songbooks and mics so that they can sing their favorite Ella song with piano accompaniment. Presented in partnership with the The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation


The Gauntlet Dalehead Arch, @64th Street, Central Park, time TBD

Make Music New York’s 2016 commission “The Gauntlet” returns to the festival in 2017. This vocal arrangement by composer Sxip Shirey calls for two rows of thirty singers to engage in a musical dialogue as audience members immerse themselves by walking, at their own pace, through the rows of paired singers. The audience member experiences the composition by moving through the Gauntlet as if being carried by a river. Featuring the ensemble Choral Chameleon.


Gerard Grisey’s Le Noir D’Etoile at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of the Universe 12:30pm lecture presentation, 1:00-2:00pm concert

In 1990, Gérard Grisey composed an immersive and rigorous composition for six percussionists in which they play along to the amplified sonic emanations of pulsars. Conductor Douglas Perkins leads an ensemble in this special program, with a pre-concert lecture presentation on pulsars by Mordecai-Mark Low, Curator, Department of Astrophysics, Division of Physical Sciences, Computational Sciences. Presented with support from FACE Foundation.


Inside the Bird Chorus at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Wave Hill (Bronx), Fresh Kills Park (Staten Island), Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve (Queens) and Central Park, from dawn to dusk

Back by popular demand for a second season, musician and philosopher David Rothenberg and friends will perform dawn and dusk concerts in tandem with the local avian population from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Additional musicians adept at improvising with wildlife will be stationed in picturesque parks and recreation areas representing every borough.


Mp3 Experiment #14 at Battery Park, 6-7pm

Mp3 Experiments, produced by Improv Everywhere, are free, open- to-the-public, participatory audio adventures where attendees download a smartphone app and listen to synchronized secret instructions in a public space via headphones. In a very special collaboration between Make Music NY and Improv Everywhere, this program will debut a new composition to be performed by thousands of participants on Boomwackers–lightweight, color-coded percussion tubes that are tuned to musical pitches by length. Park goers and passersby will be taken by surprise as a new music score is created before their eyes!


Offerings and Songs to the Solstice Sun at Fort Tryon, 5-7pm

Irka Mateo, Neo-Dominican singer, folklorist and performer in collaboration with IgniVox Productions will guide the Make Music audience and local community through an ancestral Taino ritual performance to worship the summer solstice sun as passed from generation to generation in the Dominican countryside.The audience is invited to participate in a solstice ritual procession, the offering ceremony and a concert showcasing vocals, drums, guitar, bass and accordion to re-create the mix of the indigenous, African and European musical genres still played today in the Dominican Republic’s popular religious celebrations and social gatherings.  


On the Waterfront  at Pier “I”  in Riverside Park, 4:30-7pm

Two grand pianos will face off on the Hudson River waterfront in this special program featuring American duo piano compositions. Karl Larsson and Hitomi Honda kick off the concert with with works by David Lang, Emily Cooley, and Scott Wollschleger, followed by two full hours featuring music by Thea Musgrave, Gregory Mertl, and others as performed by students from Mannes Prep and other NYC music schools. Co-presented by Summer on the Hudson with special thanks to Piano Piano.


Porch Stomp at Governors Island on Saturday, June 17 (special date) 12pm-5pm

Returning for its eleventh consecutive season, Porch Stomp is a festival within the Make Music New York festival that digs deep into the traditions of bluegrass, folk, old-time and roots music. The celebration features over fifty singer/songwriters and bands performing from noon to 5pm on the historic porches surrounding the timeless Nolan Park on Governors Island.


Punk Island at Randall’s Island on Sunday, June 18 (special date) 12pm-7pm

Punk Island is a festival within the Make Music Festival organized by a collective of artists, curators, musicians and educators whose goal is to bring the vitality, diversity, and intensity of the NYC punk scene into the light of day. Now entering its tenth consecutive season, Punk Island will star over 100 bands playing across eight micro-curated stages to create a truly only-in-New York experience.


Rhythm on Rikers at Riker’s Island, time TBD

Antibalas co-founder Martín Perna and teaching artists from NYC’s Afro-beat community will lead an intensive day-long workshop in percussion techniques that will culminate in a performance by and for the incarcerated population of Riker’s Island.


South Shore Lawn Party at the Kreischer Mansion, 12-9pm

South shore Staten Islanders, rejoice! The Kreischer Mansion is hosting the “South Shore Lawn Party” to celebrate the launch of the historic mansion’s summer programming. The Victorian porch will transform into a stage for Staten Island musicians, bands and performers to fill the South Shore with musical sounds usual reserved for the North side of the Island. Food and drinks will be available via local food trucks and caterers throughout the day.


Sousapalooza at Bryant Park, 5-7pm

Four wind instrument groups–saxophones, clarinets, trumpets & trombones– will improvise in the four corners of the park before assembling to perform the best-loved marches and fanfares of John Philip Sousa and his contemporaries, led by conductor Jeff W. Ball of the Brooklyn Wind Symphony.


Street Studio City at numerous locations citywide throughout the day

Ten teams of world-class DJs and producers will emerge from their studios and pour onto streets citywide to record, mix and loop the live ambient sounds of the streets. All the while, the public is encouraged to interact and to sing, play an instrument, or record audio to become part of the musical track. At the end of the day, each team of producers mixes down one 3-minute track, using only material recorded on site, to share that evening at a “Street Studio Smackdown” party at the offices of SoundCloud.


Uptown Funk throughout historic Harlem, throughout the day

Uptown Funk is a walking tour of historic Harlem that connects an assortment of Make Music New York concerts, presenting partners and venues, including the 3rd Annual Make Music Harlem block party, the Ella Fitzgerald Piano Bar, and special events produced in conjunction with the Jazz Foundation of America.

World Music Block Party at Astor Place Plaza, 11am-6pm

Produced in partnership with Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, this daylong block party will feature seven groups representing diverse immigrant populations in NYC. The party will also feature the finalists and celebrity judges of the first ever  “Drum Off Contest” a contest presented in partnership with Blue Man Group NY.


Make Music New York

Celebrates the musician in all of us

Connects New Yorkers to their communities and to each other

Energizes the shared social spaces that make NYC a cultural capital

Calling All Musicians!

April is high gear at Make Music New York for registration, and this year it’s easier than ever to become part of our match making system. As we enter the 11th cycle of Make Music New York, we want as many people to join in the excitement of NYC’s largest one-day celebration of music and make it a truly amazing event. Whether you are a venue wanting to find performers, or a performer who is looking for a venue to put on a show, through our Solstice system (link here) you can make those dreams a reality. It can take as little as five minutes to set up a profile.

For Musicians:

  1. Create a Performer Profile to search and connect with hundreds of participating venues including shops, parks, plazas, libraries, museums and more.
  2. Post your bio, social media tags and music samples to get discovered

For Venues wanting a performance:

  1. Create a Venue Profile to search thousands of performers across genre and transform your shop or public space into a stage for the day.
  2. or create BOTH to curate your own neighborhood or in-house talent



Always wanted to host a concert in a park for Make Music New York? This is your chance!
Our permits for parks have been approved for Make Music New York this year — and we want YOU to have one! What does this mean? It means that you get to program music in that park for June 21 (including your own ensemble, friends, or musicians you choose from our matchmaking website), and in return, you agree to be present in the park for the entire length of the concert. It’s easy and it’s free.
A few rules to know when planning a park concert:
▪ No more than four hours of amplified sound will be allowed per location per day.
▪ Vending is not allowed.
▪ Stages and commercial (sponsorship) signage are not allowed.
▪ It is not legal to drive vehicles onto park property.
▪ MMNY cannot arrange for access to electricity in New York City Parks. Be prepared to perform “unplugged” or to bring your own power source.
Please note that MMNY does not provide production for concerts on June 21. Otherwise, enjoy this unique opportunity to use the space, free of charge. What you do with it is up to you!
Choose your dream park from the full list below and email info@makemusicny.org with your choice. We’ll confirm if it’s still available, and if so, give you instructions for next steps. Parks will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. And remember, registration ends April 29th – all concert arrangements must be finalized by this date.


Explore the Parks here

Parks available for MMNY 2017:

In Manhattan
▪ Abe Lebewohl
▪ Alfred Smith Playground
▪ Battery Park
▪ Bellevue South Park
▪ Bennett Park
▪ Bleecker Park
▪ Bloomingdale Playground
▪ Bowling Green
▪ Broadway Malls @ 96th St
▪ Bryant Park
▪ Carl Schurz Park
▪ Central Park: Stranger’s Gate, 110 and Lenox (acoustic music only)
▪ Central Park: Dana Discovery Center Plaza
▪ Christopher Park (Sheridan Square)
▪ City Hall Park
▪ Coleman Square
▪ Columbus Park
▪ Cooper Square Park
▪ Dante Park
▪ Dag Hammarskjold, Central Plaza
▪ DeSalvio Playground
▪ Duane Park
▪ Duarte Square
▪ East River Park, Amphitheater
▪ First Garden Park
▪ Foley Square
▪ Greeley Square
▪ Hearld Square (sitting area)
▪ Isham Park
▪ Inwood Hill Park
▪ Jackson Square
▪ James J Walker
▪ Kim Lau Square
▪ Little Red Square
▪ Marcus Garvey Park, Amphitheater (acoustic music only)
▪ Morningside Park
▪ Pestrosino Square
▪ Ralph Bunche Park
▪ Richard Tucker Square
▪ Riverside Park, Lawn at 80th St (acoustic music only)
▪ Seward Park
▪ St. Nicholas Park (Sitting Area)
▪ SoHo Square
▪ Thomas Jefferson Park
▪ Tribeca Park
▪ Tramway Plaza
▪ Vesuvio Playground
▪ Verdi Park
Washington Square Park
▪ Worth Square

In Brooklyn
▪ Brower Park
▪ Cadman Plaza
▪ Carroll Park
▪ Coney Island, Dreamland Pavilion at W 10th St
▪ Cooper Park
▪ Culyer Gore Park
▪ Fort Greene Park, Monument Plaza
▪ Fulton Park
▪ Gilbert Ramirez Park (aka McKibben Playground)
▪ Louis Valentino Park
▪ Maria Hernandez
McCarren Park, Lawn South of Field House
▪ McGolrick Park, Central Plaza (acoustic music only)
▪ Owl’s Head Park
▪ Prospect Park: Lullwater
▪ Prospect Park: Nethermead East
▪ Prospect Park Nethermead West
▪ Saratoga Park
▪ Sunset Park
▪ Sternberg Park
▪ Thomas Greene Playground
▪ University Place
▪ Washington Park (JJ Byrne)/ Old Stone House
▪ William Sheridan Playground
WNYC Transmitter Park

In Queens
▪ Astoria Park
▪ Corona Plaza
▪ Rufus King

In the Bronx
Crotona Park Bandshell
▪ Hunts Point Riverside Park
▪ Soundview Park
▪ St. Mary’s Park (hilltop)
▪ Tremont Park
▪ Williamsbridge Oval: Scenic Tables

On Staten Island
▪ Tappen Park
▪ Tompkinsville Park
▪ Wolfes Pond Park

* Parks that are crossed out have already been claimed and are not available
Don’t see the park you want? Email info@makemusicny.org and we’ll try to figure something out!

Download This How-to Flyer!


We made this flyer to help simplify the steps in creating a profile on matchny.makemusicday.com where you (the performer or venue) can match with a space or performance!


MMNY Solstice Info sheet


Make Music Winter 2016 in the NY Times!

We want to take a moment and thank all of the artists and participants in the 6th Annual Make Music Winter celebration yesterday, and point everyone to the great write-up in the New York Times!

The day-long festivities began with the triumphant return of Christopher Herbert’s Winterize to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in front of a record breaking crowd.

The maiden voyages of Off The Afrobeaten Path, African Echoes and Parranda de Inverno were each joyous affairs enjoyed by countless thousands throughout Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront.

Now classic MM Winter events Bell By Bell, Cycles, The Gaits, Kalimbascope, Prelude, and Pilgrimage all blazed new paths for themselves around Manhattan to the delight of participants and observers alike!

Decantations brought meditative wonder to Red Hook and the Melrose Parranda lifted spirits up in the Bronx.

The day ended with a huge crowd of dancers, singers and musicians as part of Flatfoot Flatbush, parading up and down Make Music’s hood on Flatbush Avenue, landing at Rose’s Bar & Grill for a seriously fun afterparty.

Whether 2016 was a great year or a great challenge, the rollercoaster is pulling into the station, and Make Music Winter was a truly special way for so many to celebrate the winter’s start, and signal the year’s end.

All the best from all of us at MMNY and see you in June!!!

One week to Make Music Winter 2016!

As we near the Solstice and Make Music NY’s city wide celebration, we wanted to share some insights from one of our new artists on the event he is leading.

Kevin Raczka is a very accomplished drummer and percussionist, having performed with some of the most vibrant talent on the “World Music” and Soul scenes, including Antibalas, Valerie June, and Lee Fields. Here he answers some questions from his Antibalas bandmate and MMNY Deputy Director, Jordan McLean about the new Greenwich Village event, Off The Afrobeaten Path.


JM: Is there an event or transition point in your life that has put you on the path to the work you do as an artist?

KR: I’ve been making music for most of my life but the turning point was when I decided to start playing drums when I was 18 years old and shortly after discovered the music of Fela Kuti, Youssou N’Dour, King Sunny Ade, Salif Keita, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Ali Farka Toure, Manu Dibango, Orchestra Baobab, Toumani Diabate and the list kept growing. The music felt so good to me and I needed to find out why. The more that I started to play this music the more that I felt connected to the ancestors of everyone on this planet that have been creating for many thousands of generations. After realizing that these are the true roots of humanity, as discovered by Genetecist Dr. Spencer Wells with the Genographic project, and the true roots of universal rhythm on this side of the cosmos I realized that this would be the path that I’m undoubtedly going to be taking for a while.

JM: What experiences as an artist has led you to this collaboration with Make Music NY?

Besides all the great collaborations and musical artists that i’ve been fortunate to work with in New York and travel the world with there’s one experience that has led me to have the desire to collaborate with Make Music NY. In the process of my journey to becoming a full time musician, performing in the NYC subway system with brass bands for MUNY has had a significant impact on the way that I perceive music being performed in public spaces and how it can uplift and bring community together. Scientifically speaking when we play music or experience it together its known that Oxytocin is released in the body. Oxytocin is a neuropeptide thats affiliated with breast-feeding and sexual contact, and is known to play an important role in increasing bonding and trust between people and the research on this gets deeper and deeper if you already don’t know. I would experience people from all over ny and the world coming out of their shells laughing, dancing, singing, and in some cases undressing! When my good friend Jordan McLean who I work with in Antibalas asked me to lead a parade of Afrobeat percussion I of course said absolutely count me in.

JM: What aspect of your Make Music Winter event has you most excited about December 21st?

KR: Getting to share musical Gifts alongside my Afrobeat Brothers and Sisters to random human beings on the streets of New York. You never know who you’ll run into on a parade down the street in the middle of the day in New York City. It’s always exciting and a joy to see people’s faces of surprise or excitement that there’s this random act of communal joyful noise and rhythm marching by them. It’s always sure to be an uplifting experience, physically, mentally, and spiritually.


Off The Afrobeaten Path is a bevy of handheld percussion, creating a web of West African derived rhythm, blazing a trail through Greenwich Village (and let us not forget to mention free Two Boots pizza at the end!).


Whether you join this or any other of our unique events on our Winter Solstice schedule, we wish you a very happy, safe and healthy Solstice Season!

Make Music Winter Approaches, Kalimbascope

Just a couple updates on the upcoming December 21st festivities…

First up, all of our events are up on the homepage, with sign ups for African Echoes, Cycles, Decantations and Prelude, available now!

Be sure to tune into Making Music on WBAI 99.5 FM (or stream at wbai.org), Fridays at 2pm. Over the next 3 weeks we will focus on interviews and musical highlights with the artists of Make Music Winter 2016! This week, 12/2, will feature J.C King of Kalimbascope!


Created by composer J.C. King, this parade of the inviting sounds of the kalimba (an evolution of the African mbira) will embark upon a mile long walk of Lower Manhattan, coming to rest in the resonant chambers and archways of 1 Centre Street. The plucking of this handheld folk instrument is amplified by a rolling speaker, creating a gentle, reverberating soundscape as the sounds play off of buildings and other city structures. This will be the third annual Kalimbascope, having premiered in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2014. All are encouraged to bring their own kalimbas (kalimbas will be available for the first 25 participants to borrow).

Meet-up: 4:00 pm, City Hall Park, Jacob Mould Fountain

Lastly, thanks so much to the wonderful people at Mommy Poppins (Get More Out of NYC with Kids) for featuring us in their December GoList of best things to do with your kids. We truly hope to see lots of little ones (with their parents hopefully) out there on the Winter Solstice!!

Stay tuned for updates on the Winter Solstice festivities here.

Make Music Winter 2016, African Echoes

Inspired by last winter’s Alpine Echoes, this year’s event will draw on vocal traditions from Africa and its diaspora for a lively processional through the streets of DUMBO. The event will use a mix of call-and-response folk songs from across the African continent, spontaneous composition through the timeless method of “circlesinging”, and rhythm & movement to keep our bodies warm as we travel. Participants will gather in DUMBO at Old Fulton Plaza for our opening circle. We will then embark eastward on Water Street, pausing to sing under the resonant archway of the Manhattan Bridge, before arriving at 68 Jay St. Bar to continue the festivities. Please dress warmly and bring a water bottle. This event is for vocalists of all levels (including those who might not think of themselves as “singers”) and will be co-led by Jascha Hoffman and Onome.

Onome is a vocalist who uses writing, performance, music and other forms of creative expression as tools for consciousness expansion, self-discovery and empowerment. She is the artistic director for Lush Tongue, a project that uses vocal improvisation and an eclectic, globally multicultural repertoire of music from women composers. Onome is also a founding member of Sounding NYC, a monthly community singing series.

Jascha Hoffman is a singer, teacher and improviser who believes the voice holds a strong connection to the mind, body and heart. As an improviser, he has studied with masters such as Bobby McFerrin and Rhiannon, and has taught adults and teens in the US and Brazil. Jascha is a founder of the Society for Spontaneous Singing and Sounding NYC, and is a member of the Moving Star, an group of improvising singers at Carnegie Hall. He lives in Brooklyn.

When & Where

Meet up: 4:00 pm Old Fulton Plaza (out front of the Shake Shack), Start time: 4:32 pm (sunset)

Make Music Winter 2016, Flatfoot Flatbush!

Make Music Winter 2016 is on the horizon! For the sixth straight year, parades of musicians will form throughout the city on December 21st, celebrating the shortest day of the year by coming together in music. One of our returning favorites is Flatfoot Flatbush, featuring Megan Downes, Nick Horner, and the Flatfoot Flatbush Band.

Have a little look right here, and stay tuned for all the details about how to participate, including the pre-parade workshop where you will learn the fundamental steps of this rhythmic Appalachian dance form and practice your moves with the Flat Foot Flatbush string band!



Make Music Winter 2016, Return of Winterize!

Our next solstice celebration is coming up on December 21st, set to be another all-day presentation of new musical events and some of our most popular Winter “parades” throughout the city.

Among those returning favorites will be Winterize, acclaimed baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert’s participatory version of Franz Schubert’s 1828 song cycle, Winterreise, hosted once again by Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Audience members provide the accompaniment using hand-held radios, as the original piano music (as performed by Timothy Long and reimagined by sound designer Jonathan Zalben) is broadcast via a portable radio transmitter. Winterize also features twenty-four illustrated German-to-English supertitles by Italian artist Irene Rinaldi.

Get in the mood by watching this fantastic documentation of the event, and be sure to stay tuned for details of time and meeting spot at the Brooklyn Botanic as the winter solstice approaches.

New York Times critic Zachary Woolfe has called Winterize “brave and, in all senses, chilling… an elegantly lean performance that would have been impressive in any context but was remarkable under these conditions… You have not truly experienced ‘Winterreise’ until you have stood three or four feet from the singer, his breath visible in the cold.”