You don’t have to know your Brahms from your Beethoven to enjoy the magical ambiance that overtakes New York City’s parks each summer when the New York Philharmonic plays its annual open-air concerts under the stars.
This year the beloved tradition continues with five free outdoor concerts throughout NYC’s five boroughs, as well as a free indoor concert at Staten Island’s Center for the Arts. The New York Philharmonic’s music director Alan Gilbert will lead NYC’s premiere orchestra in concerts at Central Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn, while conductor Andrey Boreyko will lead concerts in Cunningham Park (Queens), Van Cortlandt Park (the Bronx) and Central Park (Yes, that means two chances to enjoy the Philharmonic in Central Park this summer!).
All outdoor performances start at 8 p.m., and the most serious symphony fans start arriving as far as two hours in advance. (Keep in mind that the closer you sit to the bandshell, the more likely your fellow audience members will mind if you chat over the concerto.) You’re welcome to bring along food and drinks, though — as with every large event in NYC — there are always plenty of police around, so keep a low profile with alcohol.
• Wednesday, July 11, Prospect Park, Brooklyn (Enter at Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park West at 9th Street or Bartel-Pritchard Circle at the intersection of Prospect Park West, Prospect Park Southwest and 15th Street.). Conductor Alan GIlbert, the first native New Yorker to hold the post of music director for the New York Philharmonic, leads the orchestra in 143 minutes of music: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, followed by Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Romes.
• Thursday, July 12, Cunningham Park, Queens (Enter at 193rd Street, near 81st Avenue or Union Turnpike. Concert site is at 193rd Street Field.) Conductor Andrey Boreyko leads the New York Philharmonic in playing Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. Canadian violinist James Ehnes will accompany the Philharmonic for this performance.
• Friday, July 13, the Great Lawn in Central Park (Enter on the West Side at West 81st or 86th Streets at Central Park West, or on the East Side at East 79th or 85th Streets at Fifth Avenue). Like the Brooklyn concert, the program scheduled for the first Philharmonic concert in Central Park will be lead by conductor Alan GIlbert, and features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, followed by Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Romes.
• Sunday, July 15, Staten Island, CUNY Center for the Arts. Free tickets for this afternoon concert are already sold out, though patrons may visit the box office window 30 minutes prior to concert time for any last-minute cancellations.
• Monday, July 16, the Great Lawn at Central Park. This second performance by the New York Philharmonic in Central Park follows the same program as the Queens concert: Conductor Andrey Boreyko will lead the orchestra in Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. Canadian violinist James Ehnes will also accompany the Philharmonic for this performance
• Tuesday, July 17, Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx (Enter park from Broadway near West 251st Street. Concert site is north of the baseball fields). This concert also features the same program as the Queens concert: Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1.
Which location do you think is best for some mid-summer night’s music under the stars?