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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer Festival Preview: Concerts in the Parks

The New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert offer free music.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Alan Gilbert (standing) leads the New York Philharmonic
at the Concerts in the Parks. Photo by Chris Lee.
The New York Philharmonic subscription series is ended, and with it the 2016-17 classical music season. However, we're not quite done yet. Tuesday night marks the start of the week-long Concerts in the Parks series, the last of Alan Gilbert's official duties as the orchestra's Music Director.

This annual concert series is sponsored by Didi and Oscar Schafer, and features the players of the New York Philharmonic supplanted by amplification so that the gathered masses may hear. This year's program also marks the close of the orchestra's New World Initiative, designed to celebrate the music of New York through a celebration of Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony.

However, the Parks concerts will take place in much bigger venues than the four square blocks of Stuyvesant Square. The first of this series will be Tuesday night at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Then the orchestra moves to the Great Lawn of Central Park, Cunningham Park in Queens, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

These four concerts start at 8pm with fireworks to follow and all feature the same program: Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Gershwin's ballet suite from An American in Paris and (of course) the New World Symphony, a work that the Philharmonic premiered in 18-- at Carnegie Hall.

Dvorak lived in New York for two years, teaching music at an American conservatory located in what is now Gramercy. His house still stands on the north side of Stuyvesant Square, and the park there features a statue of the composer that was moved there (from Lincoln Center, where it sat in storage) to the northeast corner.

Music lovers in Staten Island will once more be treated to chamber music: a special indoor matinee concert at Snug Harbor on Sunday the 18th. This hidden gem offers two numbers from Mozart's Don Giovanni (including the "catalogue" aria) that composer's C minor Wind Serenade and Schubert's Trout Quintet, one of the most famous chamber works of the romantic era.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats