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Top 5 Al Fresco Music Festivals

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The concert season is coming to a close. Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera have both wrapped up their seasons and the New York Philharmonic's is winding down. It doesn’t mean the music stops, though. Instead, it heads outdoors with a picnic basket. Here are our top 5 outdoor area concert festivals this summer.

1. The summer home of the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Caramoor always attracts world-class musicians (Mitsuko Uchida, Vladimir Feltsman and Yo-Yo Ma to name a few) to its open air theaters and gardens. Festival director and Bel Canto expert Will Crutchfield conducts Bellini’s Norma and the lesser known Donazetti opera, Maria di Rohan. ETHEL and Christopher O’Riley provide fare for the more contemporary music fans.

2. The New York Philharmonic will take its annual tour through the city for its Concerts in the Parks program July 13-16. The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra joins the NY Phil in Central Park for an evening of favorites, including Lang Lang playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Branford Marsalis makes his Philharmonic debut the following night.
3. James Levine’s ailing back has classical music followers wondering will or won’t the Boston Symphony Orchestra music director make an appearance at Tanglewood this summer. Regardless of his status, guest conductors including Charles Dutoit and Kurt Masur provide more than adequate substitutes, and Mahler’s second and third symphonies should resonate in the evening air.

4. The debut of the Asphalt Orchestra, the marching arm of the Bang on a Can new music collective, headlined last year's Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival. They’re back in 2010 along with an eclectic lineup including ETHEL (following their Caramoor appearance) and the Kronos Quartet.

5. On June 21, the longest day of the year, public spaces across the city will play host to music ensembles of all genres as part of Make Music NY. Organizers will announce the complete schedule on May 28, but Xenakis fans are already gearing up for a mini-festival of the Greek composer’s best hits in Central Park.