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Make Music New York Returns June 21

June 21, 2021


Make Music New York, the unique, live, free citywide musical celebration held each June 21, today announced its updated schedule of exciting and diverse in-person concerts, performances, music lessons, jam sessions and other music making events. The daylong musical festival on the summer solstice is the flagship event of Make Music Day, which is being staged in over 100 U.S. cities and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin. Make Music New York will further demonstrate music’s power to unite, heal and uplift. MMNY 2021 is returning to a mostly in-person event after 2020 moved to a largely virtual format due to COVID. Safety protocols will remain in place.
Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music New York is open to anyone who wants to take part. Now in its 15th year, Make Music New York encourages music makers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels to take center stage and share their skills and passions through performances from public plazas and open streets, parks and community gardens, on sidewalks fronting public libraries and small businesses, and in partnerships with fellow arts presenters and cultural institutions across all five boroughs.
First launched in France in 1982 as Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day is observed by hundreds of millions of people today in over 1,000 cities across 120 countries. Promoting the natural music maker in all of us, the celebration is an open invitation for everyone to make, share, teach, learn and explore music on the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. Make Music Day is presented in the U.S. by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance.

New York will join Make Music Day cities around the world in memorializing all the lives lost to COVID, by participating in This Moment in Time, a series of percussion performances played on gongs from public places globally. For one interrupted hour, beginning at 12 pm, Ryan Sawyer and the percussion ensemble Talujon will perform new works on multiple arrays of gongs set up at the Seaport District in Lower Manhattan to mark the losses of the past year. Afterwards, the public will be invited to play the gongs themselves.

Make Music New York will also feature several Mass Appeal concerts, which bring together people of all ages and skill levels to make music in participatory, single-instrument groups, including accordions, classical guitars, French horns, harmonicas, mandolins, ukuleles and violins.

New highlights of MMNY 2021 will also include:

• The Apollo Presents: Respect the House reclaims House music with sets by DJ Jess, the house DJ for Amateur Night at the Apollo; Tina Dixon from House in Harlem on WHCR-FM; DJ Black Icon 1 from The Harlem Connection on WBAI-FM; and DJ, songwriter, music curator and educator LiKWUID (Stylez), a frequent collaborator with Apollo Education Programs.

• Masayo Ishigure and Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble, presented in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan and Bryant Park, celebrates Japanese music and culture by looking back and forward. Set one is ensemble music composed in Japan, building on traditional melodies;’ set two is a small ensemble performance that demonstrates the flexibility of the koto and shamisen in a fusion with Western instruments.

• Mozart’s Requiem is a special performance of Mozart’s master work that is dedicated to all New Yorkers who lost their loves to COVID. The performance, at Oculus Plaza at the World Trade Center campus, will be led by conductor Douglass Anderson and producer Melissa Gerstein.

• Music Traveler at Oculus takes place from the ground level of Downtown’s famed public transit hub, the World Trade Center Oculus, and features five lively and interactive piano-centric sets: “Everyone’s Baby,” produced by Lynn Yen; “Live by Living People,” produced by Hyung-Ki Too; “Literally, It Goes with Everything,” produced by Elias Constantopedos; “Multi-Instrumentalism,” produced by Julia Rhee; and “Melt the Melting Pot,” produced by Louise Lau.

• Stonewall Sings, from the Stonewall National Monument in the heart of Greenwich Village, will feature an all-day lineup of predominantly LGBTQIA musicians.


• Darmstadt’s 17th Annual In C is a free, hourlong performance from Harborview Lawn at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 in which the Brooklyn ensemble brings together stars of the experimental music community for its critically-acclaimed interpretation of Terry Riley’s 1964 masterwork of minimalism.  

• Flowerpot Music, which is written by Elliott Cole and directed by Peter Ferry, is a composition for an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument: the flowerpot. People will gather in Prospect Park’s Nethermead to create outdoor soundscapes through easy-to-learn games, appropriate for musicians and non-musicians alike.

• MAD about Make Music, which is presented by the Montague BID, Atlantic Avenue BID, and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, is a celebratory musical march with a percussion band from neighborhood to neighborhood to unite communities and fill the streets with music. The march will feature Dawn Drake and ZapOte, with plenty more musicians along the route.


• Bronx Arts Ensemble is activating Train Park Garden with a special performance by violinist and composer Evelyn Petcher, featuring her original folk music arrangements and pieces for solo violin, paired with short excerpts from classic solo violin sonatas by J.S. Bach and Eugene Ysaye.

• New Bronx City, taking place from Lou Gehrig Plaza and the surrounding blocks, is a daylong, multidisciplinary celebration of the borough’s diverse communities and cultures that will entertain and encourage people to imagine a Bronx that is cleaner, safer, fairer and healthier.


• Pecussia’s Maracatu will lead an interactive drum jam influenced by Maracatu samba from the northeast Brazilian state of Pernambuco, in a route that kicks off from Travers Park and heads along the newly created 34th Avenue Open Street in Jackson Heights.
Make Music New York will also participate in additional Make Music Day special projects taking place across the nation, including Bash the Trash, MixMash Studios, #MySongIsYourSong, and Track Meet.
All Make Music New York events are free and open to the public. Participants who wish to perform may register at www.makemusicny.org. A full schedule of events is posted on the website.
Make Music New York is made possible by: the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with City Council; Citibank; Spectrum; Lily Auchincloss Foundation; Investors Foundation; and NYC & Company Foundation.


June 21, 2021