'Flash Choir' Debuts Philip Glass Piece in Times Square

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 09:30 AM

At first, the tourists passing through Times Square were captivated by the giant video screens hanging overhead and the usual chaos of midtown. But soon they moved their attention, and cell phone cameras, to the “flash choir” that had formed in the pedestrian island at Father Duffy Square as part of Make Music Day on June 21.

Between hugs and introductory handshakes, famed choral conductor Kent Tritle handed out signs atop sticks that said “Bass” and “Sopranos.” Prompted by a call to action from NPR, the singers organized into their vocal groups and quickly scanned the score for “The New Rule,” a new choral piece by Philip Glass commissioned by NPR. Without any auditions, these amateur and professional singers, perhaps even a few pedestrians swept up in the moment, would all be part of its world premiere.

From a bird’s-eye-view, the scene looked a little like a doughnut, with the chorus making one half of the circle, interested passers-by making the other half, and Tritle waving his baton in the middle.

NPR and WQXR video recorded the piece as part of NPR’s Field Recordings series. Watch it here:


More in:

Comments [8]

Joseph from Houston

If there was ever a case to be made for suppressing vibrato in singing, this soprano makes it. It is SOOOO out of place in this piece. Bad choice on the organizer's part, which is surprising given how well known Glass's glossy work is.

Jul. 14 2012 09:49 AM
Cecilia Villabona from New York

Fantastic! The people, the place, the music, the idea, the moment. Bravo! Please Make Music Everyday!

Jul. 13 2012 01:28 PM
April from Manhattan

Can't get no sound!!! Driving me nuts. What'm I doing wrong? HELP.

Jul. 13 2012 01:01 PM

When will this take place again in NYC?

Jul. 13 2012 10:15 AM

@Mary Jane Hodge

You can download the score here:

Jul. 11 2012 12:48 PM
Mary Jane Hodge from Melville

WOW! What a beautiful happening - Would love to read all the words. Where can I find them?

Jul. 11 2012 09:38 AM
kari Feuer from Red Hook NY

Awesome! Gorgeous music!
How often did you get to stand in back of the conductor, helping, when you were a kid?
Was that Joan (from Mad Men) in the back of the soprano section?

Jul. 10 2012 01:49 PM
Marianna from Manhattan

Wonderful. Thanks for capturing the moment & creating this video.

Jul. 10 2012 10:46 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Follow WQXR 







About WQXR Blog

Read WQXR's coverage of classical music news, trends, commentary and more here at the WQXR Blog.