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This week on The New Canon, violist Ljova, soprano Mellissa Hughes and flutist Jessica Schmitz join us for a chat about the upcoming concert of Terry Riley's In C on Governors Island. Join the conversation in the window below or via Twitter with the hashtag #q2new. Can't wait? Leave your questions in the comments below and we'll address them at the top of the chat.
Terry Riley has a knack for bringing people together. His music is so warm, uplifting and life-affirming as to be addictive to both performers and listeners. Kronos Quartet sounds most at home with him. Steve Reich and Bang on a Can trace their roots back to his early minimalist works. And one of Paul Hiller's finest recordings may be his own rendition of In C. Couple his affability with an instrumental flexibility—In C can be played by any combination of performers, leaving the work fluid and mercurial with each performance—and you can see why Riley has so many fans.
An army of such fans (and a veritable who's who of the New York new music scene) are expected to descend on Governors Island on July 2 to kick off Pam Goldberg and Blair McMillen's newly-minted Rite of Summer Festival, a season-long offering of free performances just a ferry ride away from Manhattan.
We'll hear some great (and recent) tunes—all perfect for beach blankets and extended daylight hours—as we talk with violist, composer and bandleader Ljova, multitalented Hughes and Schmitz about performing in this festival and making music for the first time on Governors Island. It's a particularly auspicious time to do it, and I can't help but wonder—given the scaling-back of more mainstream institutions when it comes to free summer concerts, is new music primed for a major tipping point?
Think about it: From Bang on a Can's annual marathon to The Knights playing Lisa Bielawa in Central Park to nearly 100 percussionists taking over Morningside Heights in the name of John Luther Adams. Can you remember a time when so much free new music was underscoring our summer soundtracks?