After such a terribly long winter, it’s time to celebrate summer’s arrival. There's no better way to appreciate a balmy evening than taking in an outdoor concert in one of New York City’s parks. As al fresco festivals gear up, here are our Top 5 at 105 outdoor concerts of the summer.
1. Last winter’s performance of John Luther Adams's epic Inuksuit at Park Avenue Armory’s Tune-In Festival was a revelatory experience for many spectators and critics there. On June 21, New Yorkers will get to experience the work a second time, but it will be the first local performance staged as Adams had originally envisioned it: as an outdoor spectacle. Douglas Perkins of So Percussion will lead this performance in Morningside Park as part of the city-wide Make Music New York Festival.
2. Mark Morris Dance Company may be the headliners at Celebrate Brooklyn’s July 28th show, but the free concert is also a public coming out party of sorts for the revamped Brooklyn Philharmonic under new conductor Alan Pierson. The symphony will accompany the dancers with selections of Richard Roger’s Slaughter on 10th Street, Jacques Ibert’s comedic Divertessment composed in 1929, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. It should give a preview of how the young maestro is shaping the ensemble.
3. For the third straight summer the Metropolitan Opera will present a series of recitals by talented young singers at six different city parks. We’ve circled the July 11th concert at Central Park’s Summerstage for one reason: the up-and-coming soprano Angela Meade. This Met National Council Auditions winner has thrilled audiences at Caramoor as Norma. This season she’ll be starring at the Met in Anna Bolena and Erani. Future chances to see her for free may not come along too often.
4. There’s no telling what will take place as Laurie Anderson brings together a younger generation of experimental musicians to share the Damrosch Bandshell stage August 10 as part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Joined by violinist and composer Todd Reynolds, instrument inventor Sxip Shirey, beat-boxer Adam Matta, and a half-dozen violinists with serious new-music chops, Anderson’s performance should make for an inspired evening.
5. The Knights, a New York-based chamber orchestra, showcase their mastery all types of repertoire in two fascinating concerts at the Central Park Naumburg Band Shell. The first on June 18 displays their interest in contemporary work with the world premiere of Lisa Biewala’s Tempelhof Etude and a Morton Feldman work, as well as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The August 22 performance is an all-Lizst and Schubert affair. Both concerts should be well worth attending.