Now in its sixth year, Make Music New York, “the largest music event ever to grace Gotham” (Metro New York), is a unique festival of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City, all on June 21st, the first day of summer. MMNY takes place simultaneously with similar festivities in more than 460 cities around the world — a global celebration of music making.
From 10 in the morning to 10 at night, musicians of all ages, creeds, and musical persuasions — from hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock — perform on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens. From high school bands to marquee names, MMNY is open to anyone who wants to take part, enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend.
The next Make Music New York is on Thursday, June 21, 2012.
Over 850 MMNY concerts took place in 2008, 875 in 2009, 1,080 in 2010, and 1,035 in 2011. Recent highlights include:
- New York’s first open-air performance of Xenakis’s Persephassa, with the audience listening from rowboats in the Central Park Lake, surrounded by percussionists.
- Over 70 punk bands playing throughout Governors Island (nicknamed “Punk Island” for the day).
- 12 funk concerts by Christian McBride, Pimps of Joytime, Burnt Sugar, and others for the inmates on Rikers Island (“Funk Island”)
- A Lincoln Square block party, with performances by the NYC Opera, NY Philharmonic, Jazz at Lincoln Center, ASCAP, American Composers Orchestra, and American Opera Projects.
- An historic “Griot Summit” with dozens of West African musicians at Wave Hill in the Bronx.
- New Orleans-style Second Line jazz parades across three Manhattan neighborhoods, led by the Jazz Gallery, Hungry March Band, and Jazzmobile.
- A sing-it-yourself performance of Mozart’s Coronation Mass in the Meatpacking District, conducted by Kent Tritle.
- In partnership with Sing For Hope, 88 pianos available on NYC parks and streets, for anyone to use.
- A 24-hour-long interactive electronic piece under the Manhattan Bridge by British artist Nick Franglen
- Hard-rocking corporate executives competing in Bryant Park (“Play Hard: the MMNY Corporate Challenge”).
- 99 percussionists playing John Luther Adams’s Inuksuit outside in Harlem, presented by Miller Theatre
- Louis Andriessen’s Hoketus played from the balconies of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street.
- Bronx middle school jazz bands in Central Park, joined by Roberta Flack.
- A block party with four grand pianos in the middle of Cornelia Street in the West Village.
- Jazz block parties with Arturo O’Farrill’s Latin big band, Grammy-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and African Jazz with pianist Randy Weston.
- Yoko Ono’s Secret Piece in Central Park at 5AM.
- Over 100 local rock bands blanketing Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.
- The East Coast premiere of Henry Brant’s Orbits for 80 trombones at the Guggenheim Museum.
- Hundreds of guitarists playing Beatles songs in Union Square, a 40-member “Accordion Forest” in Park Slope, and other massive groups assembled by Make Music New York.
- French pop star Yannick Noah at Central Park Summer Stage.
- Tamil Church choirs in Middle Village, high school Christian rock bands in Sunset Park, and a kazoo jam session outside a Morningside Heights church.
- Special Make Music New York concerts presented by ABC No Rio, Americas Society, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Carnegie Hall, City Winery, Cornelia Street Cafe, Flushing Town Hall, French Embassy, Friends of the High Line, Joe’s Pub, Kaufman Center, MATA, Metropolitan Opera, New York Mets, 92nd Street Y, Queens Museum of Art, River to River, Rubin Museum, SOB’s, Symphony Space, WNYC, and many more.In 2011, Make Music New York launched a winter solstice festival called Make Music Winter, with 12 participatory musical parades on December 21st. The next Make Music Winter will take place on Friday, December 21, 2012.