Celebrate the longest day of the year in New York City with 1000+ FREE music events. The Summer Solstice on June 21st is also the annual Make Music New York festival, featuring outdoor concerts, music lessons and jam sessions in public spaces throughout the five boroughs.
It’s an all-day event, 10am to 10pm, with all kinds of music, from classical to techno, in all kinds of destinations, including parks and street corners, by musicians of all ages.
The public is encouraged to sing along, dance along and play along, including on the Sing For Hope public pianos that currently dot NYC streets, through June 25.
Make Music New York is the flagship event of Make Music Day, which is being celebrated in more than 60 U.S. cities, and is a highlight of the international Fête de la Musique, taking place in more than 750 cities across 120 countries on June 21.
With 1,000+ events in New York City, we can’t list them all, but you can search the Make Music New York website by music type or location.
Highlights of Make Music New York include:
Inside the Bird Chorus (5:30 – 6 am)
- Composer/Clarinetist David Rothenberg performs a dawn concert in tandem with the local bird species. at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (5:30am), and other musicians make similar performances by other musicians in all five boroughs: Cherry Hill in Central Park (5:30 am), Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve (9 am), Wave Hill (9 am) and Fresh Kills Park (7 pm).
49 Flutes (dawn and dusk): 147 locations throughout NYC
- To commemorate the 40th anniversary of John Cage’s “49 Waltzes for the Five Boroughs,” his seminal ode to NYC, 98 flute players from all 147 addresses stipulated in the composition.
pBuzz (9:30 am): PS 150 Tribeca Learning Center (park across from the school)
- Using pBuzzes, an introductory brass instrument (made of plastic) with a slide, first graders at PS 150 Tribeca Learning Center, along with their music teacher Tony Kunin and renowned trumpeter Bria Skonberg, will perform James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and other songs
Ella Fitzgerald Piano Bar (11 am – 6 pm): Harlem and East Harlem
- In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth, and with support from the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, a customized mobile piano will make stops at locations with deep ties to the jazz icon starting at the Apollo Theater and ending at the National Jazz Museum. At each stop, members of the public will be given songbooks and invited to sing their favorite Ella song with live piano accompaniment.
Gerard Grisey’s Le Noir D’Etoile (12:30 – 2 pm): American Museum of Natural History
- A rigorous 1990 composition created for six percussionists that also features the sound of radio signals produced by pulsars hooked up to loudspeakers. The program will be presented from the Hall of the Universe and include an interactive presentation on pulsars by astronomers from the museum. Presented in partnership with the FACE Foundation and the AMNH.
Street Studios (11 am – 10 pm): Seven locations across NYC
- Mobile recording studios will magically materialize on NYC sidewalks, manned by producers/engineers ready to record people and to engage all passersby that want to add a “musical track” to the mix.
WTC @ WTC (4 – 7 pm): 9/11 Memorial Plaza
- Four grand pianos at the four corners of the plaza will stage performances of music from J.S. Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” by a rotating cast of professionals and students
On the Waterfront (4:30 – 7 pm): Pier i, West 70th St. and Riverside Drive
- Two grand pianos will face off in this special program featuring American duo piano compositions
Concerto for Buildings (5 – 6:30 pm): Greene St. between Broome and Grand
- Historic buildings with hollow, cast-iron facades will serve as the resonant instruments for percussionists (professionals and students) to perform newly commissioned and reimagined compositions.
Guitar Mass Appeal (6 – 8 pm): Union Square Park
- A celebration of “peace songs” across the generations will compose the songbook for an ensemble performance of hundreds of guitars. Prior to the concert, guitar teachers will give free lessons.
The Mp3 Experiment Number Fourteen (7 – 8 pm): Battery Park
- A collaboration with the ImprovEverywhere, this program will debut a new composition for Boomwackers as performed by 2,000-3,000 head-phoned participants taking cues from a pre-recorded MP3 file made available via a smart phone app. Park goers and passersby will be taken by surprise as the coordinated movements of previously incognito members of the public create a musical score to complement their hysterical antics.
The Gauntlet (7 – 7:30 pm): West Dalehead Arch, Central Park
- This vocal program by composer Sxip Shirey calls for two rows of 30 singers to engage in a musical dialogue as audience members immerse themselves by walking, at their own pace, through the rows of paired singers, as if being carried by a river.
For the full list of Make Music New York concerts, performances and other programs, please visit www.makemusicny.org