NY Philharmonic Doing Sidewalk Concerts as Music Halls Remain Shuttered

Philharmonic members perform in The Bronx (AP)

By: Denis Cyr

NY Philharmonic recently announced that the orchestra has scrapped the rest of its 20-21 season, however in the Spring more sidewalk performances will quench the thirst of music lovers.

President and CEO Deborah Borda said: ‘The cancellation of an entire New York Philharmonic season is not only unprecedented — it is devastating, both in its impact on the morale of musicians and audiences, and in its profound economic consequences. We know there was no other choice, but we also know that music is most meaningful when shared with listeners in a common space. We are bolstered by the enthusiastic reaction from New Yorkers to our recent NY Phil Bandwagon concerts and are gratified by private financial support that continues to come in. Most importantly, the Philharmonic is resolved to continue to connect and perform during this time, and beyond. This will not be a silent season, and we eagerly anticipate September 2021, when the entire Orchestra can reunite with our audience. We cannot wait for that first downbeat!’

Pop up outdoor concerts from the Philharmonic have taken place around the city. The series is known as The Bandwagon series

AP reported: The Philharmonic came up with the idea for a series of outdoor, pop-up performances over the summer, even as it was forced to lay off or furlough nearly half its staff as it faced a multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

The bandwagon itself — a red Ford pickup truck — rolls up to the curb carrying a sound system, music stands, lights and orange traffic cones to keep the audience socially distant. The musicians follow in a van.

AP went on: The Philharmonic plans to hold its final Bandwagon concert of the year this weekend and then resume the program in the spring.

New York’s street life has always been vibrant, but these days, the city’s outdoor spaces are more important than ever as many residents are stuck in small apartments working from home.

“There’s this whole myth that New York is dying, but it’s only dying in the places that were built for people not from New York — the people in New York are thriving,” said Curtis Stewart, a Grammy-nominated violinist who joined for a guest performance with the Bandwagon.

The Philharmonic will continue to offer free digital content. Activities include pre-recorded performances by small, socially distanced ensembles of Philharmonic musicians in partner venues such as Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center and Manhattan School of Music.


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