Music for Percussion and the Manhattan Bridge

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Twice a year -- January 21 and June 21 -- musicians of all shapes and sizes descend to the streets, parks, bars and underpasses (really, anywhere they can fit their axes) of New York City to fill the air with music. Now in its seventh year, this month's Make Music New York marks the summer solstice with over 1,000 performances that demonstrate the celebration's democratic approach to genre and musical background.

This Friday, June 21, at 6:30 pm, Q2 Music partners with NPR Music, Make Music New York, the New York City Department of Transportation, the DUMBO Improvement District and the PAN ACT Festival for the world premiere of Archway, a NPR Music commission for So Percussion and composer, percussionist and multimedia artist Eli Keszler.

The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place at the DUMBO Archway in Brooklyn, between Anchorage Pl. and Adams Street (see map below). The event will be videotaped and available on Q2 Music in the near future.

Performed on snare drums and crotales with mallets and bows, the commission takes place within installation (also called Archway) by Keszler that uses the Manhattan Bridge as a musical instrument. Piano wires are stretched from the bridge and struck with motorized beaters to create shimmering hums of overtones carried by the natural reverb of the underpass and colored with the sounds of the surrounding environment. We're there to document not only the performance, but also the assembly of the performance environment.

Both So Percussion and Keszler take a leveling approach to music that not only transcends musical boundaries but, in the spirit of John Cage, redefines what music can be.


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