Performing OUTSIDE the Box
September 28, 2020 In: Sound Bits
The New York Philharmonic’s pick-up truck concert series is just one of a number of innovative programming and performance initiatives the organization is launching this fall. With the recent launch of Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK, the organization continues to use the shuddering of its traditional performance space to integrate itself into the fabric of the City.
Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is a collaboration between the Philharmonic and Pulitzer-prize winning composer Ellen Reid. The project is an immersive musical experience that pairs recorded music performances with various locations in Central Park. Upon downloading an app, the GPS-enabled program creates an integrated musical experience as users explore the Park—a living and malleable sound world connected to the natural beauty of Central Park. The experience is structured so that every trip through the park can produce a different musical story. The project features a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony to Reid’s own When the World As You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist. A number of performing ensembles were engaged to record repertoire for the project, including members of the New York Philharmonic, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, the Jazz group Poole and the Gang, and the SOUNDWALK Ensemble. The New York City SOUNDWALK is the first iteration of a series of installations, with another version currently active in Saratoga Springs, NY and future soundwalks planned in Philadelphia, and at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia, and the Britt Music & Arts Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon.
The pause on traditional symphony orchestra concert seasons across the country has enabled a wide variety of community embedded initiatives to take hold. Whether it be Ellen Reid’s work with the Philharmonic, Teddy Abrams comfort concerts in Louisville, or the Alexandria Symphony’s Garden series, the smaller, more intimate musical experiences connect orchestras and community members in new ways. As the profession eagerly anticipates the return to large-scale live performances, one wonders how the innovations of our current performance environment will shape not just the structure of future performances, but the priorities and values of the organizations presenting them.
Learn more about Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK: