Music in Summer, No Charge

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It’s Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer season. Elsewhere on this website is a guide to great summer music festivals in New York City, the surrounding area, across the country and around the world.  But today I’d like to highlight a few specific performances here in town this week which have the added attraction of being free of charge.

The first is this evening at 6 o’clock in Bryant Park, where Bill McGlaughlin, who brings you Exploring Music weekdays at 11 P.M. on WQXR, hosts a concert featuring violinist Mark O’Connor. O’Connor plays classical music, jazz and bluegrass. (Bill’s series continues on the following two Mondays with Imani Winds and flutist Tara Helen O’Connor.)

The second performance is tonight at 8 p.m., uptown at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Alan Gilbert conducts the annual free Memorial Day concert by the New York Philharmonic. The program is very appropriate to Memorial Day, starting with Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, one of 18 fanfares commissioned by Eugene Goosens for the Cincinnati Symphony during World War II. Doors will open at the Cathedral by 7 p.m., but the crowd might start to gather as early as (gulp), 4 p.m. 

Then, on Sunday afternoon, June 6, is the second concert in this year’s Free For All at Town Hall series. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and pianist Warren Jones give a recital which will include a world premiere. Tickets are distributed starting at noon Sunday at the Town Hall box office; the recital is at 2 p.m. 

Still ahead this summer season are the New York Philharmonic parks concerts, the Metropolitan Opera parks recitals, the Naumburg concert series in Central Park and lots, lots more. 

What are your recommendations for no-cost concert-going this summer?