Top Five Recent Pop-Up Performances

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The ritual of a music concert can be thrilling -- the pre-concert buzz in hall, sitting in velvet-upholstered seats, waiting for the lights to dim and the playing to begin. However, sometimes the surprise of an unexpected performance, whether in a grounded plane, in protest-filled streets, or an unassuming corner in Brooklyn, can be more poignant and inspiring. Lately, the news seems to have been filled with such occasions, including these five:

1. Pianist Calms Turkish Tensions

Amid the confusion and chaos in Turkey’s Taksim Square, a traveling German pianist named Davide Martello provided a break from the constant protests with merely a piano. Playing in Gezi Park, he brought a brief respite from the protest and drew crowds of approximately 1,500 people. Martello's performances were captured on YouTube feeds and made international news. Though Martello said he hoped to "inspire politicians through music," Turkish authorities confiscated his piano. There is still hope that his music touched the local leadership.

2. 88 Pianos Return to City's Public Areas

For more than two weeks earlier this month, New Yorkers could find examples of 88 whimsically decorated pianos in public spaces. This was part of the program Sing for Hope, which dropped the instruments decorated in everything from Astroturf to rainbows in parks and on sidewalks to promote community engagement through improvised concerts, lessons, sing-alongs, and more than a few renditions of Chopsticks. The program culminated on June 16 as all 88 keyboards were herded to Lincoln Center for a daylong jam session. View several photos of the gathering.

3. Philadelphia Orchestra Performs on Delayed Plane

Musicians often travel with their instruments to protect them from the dangers of baggage check, but perhaps they also keep them close for entertainment during long delays. When the Philadelphia Orchestra was grounded on a Beijing tarmac for three hours, four string players launched into Dvorak's String Quartet No. 12, also known as the American string quartet. They serenaded their fellow passengers as they waited to take off for Macao. Fortunately for the rest of us, we can watch the performance on YouTube.

4. Fourth-Window Performance

A similarly intimate affair was chronicled in The New York Times's Metropolitan Diary earlier this month, as a passerby noticed a young pianist giving a recital from the first-floor window of a Brooklyn Heights apartment. A modest audience had gathered among rows of folding chairs on the sidewalk to here this "Fourth Window Concert."

 

5. Make Music New York Returns

For the seventh year in a row, hundreds of performers will serenade the Big Apple during Make Music NY. Pegged to the summer solstice, the festival presents more than 1,000 performances around all five boroughs, starting before sunrise and ending after sunset. A performance on the lake in Central Park, a sing-along outside Joe's Pub at the Public Theater, a brass-band takeover in Thompson Square Park, and a music installation on the Manhattan Bridge are just a few of the events that should provide unexpected delights throughout the day.

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