NY Phil to play in the tombs

NY Phil to play in the tombs


norman lebrecht

April 20, 2021

The surprise package in Andrew Ousley’s new concert season in the Green-Wood Cemetery is the participation of the city’s big band.

The season will open June 3-5 with Hymn to the City, an immersive performance event in partnership with the New York Philharmonic that celebrates New York’s singular spirit of resilience and renewal

Additional performances include Gil Shaham & The Knights performing their “Pocket Beethoven” Violin Concerto, pianist Min Kwon playing pieces from her kaleidoscopic America/Beautiful project, PUBLIQuartet’s acclaimed program Freedom and Faith, Simone Dinnerstein giving a multi-piano, Cemetery-wide performance of Richard Danielpour’s An American Mosaic, the Ulysses Quartet pairing Schubert’s Death and the Maiden with Osvaldo Golijov’s Tenebrae, and Cantori New York closing the season with a large-scale, outdoor, candlelit performance of the Fauré Requiem.

Full prog and tickets here.


  • nope! says:

    a friend once dragged me into the recesses of Brooklyn for one of these. After about ten minutes, the ‘immersive’ experience just got annoying. I don’t need to hear Dido’s Lament in a catacomb. The group’s just designed for douchey gentrifying Brooklynites and Manhattanites who want to feel edgy. The ghost of Loft Opera rages on.

    • Andrew Ousley says:

      We’ll be sure to work on that, friend.

      • Alphonse says:

        Don’t be glib, Andrew.

        • Andrew Ousley says:

          It’s not about being glib – I’m just acknowledging that this commenter is starting from a place of hostility and clearly isn’t insterested in discussion.

          We’re trying to create a different and more broadly appealing experience around classical music by situating in a unique place that augments the themes of the programs, and surrounding it by a larger experience including whiskey tastings, moolit walks through the cemetery, etc. At the same time, we don’t compromise anything in terms of the quality and integrity of the performers and interesting choices in repertoire, and the larger goal is to bring new audiences into the art form without offering them a watered-down or lower quality musical experience.

          Given we’ve sold out every single show since starting 5 years ago, with half our audiences being newcomers to classical, half being diehard classical attendees, I think we’re achieving that goal… of course we can’t be everything to everyone, and I’m always open to constructive criticsm and dissenting opinions, but that initial comment is just an example of the pointless, knee-jerk reactionary conservatism that keeps our industry from adapting and thriving.

          • um what? says:

            Expressing negative opinions of a company’s work isn’t being hostile to you, especially if a person has actually gone to see your work. It’s expressing an opinion of work you’ve already done. I’d have thought a public relations leader would understand that someone who has bothered traveling to your shows is actually making an active effort to attend performances off the beaten path.

          • BRUCEB says:

            ^ and meanwhile “nope!”‘s comment was so very civil and respectful — “The group’s just designed for douchey gentrifying Brooklynites and Manhattanites who want to feel edgy” — but the person who talks back to him in a gently flippant manner (notice he giving it back much nicer than he got it) is the one who’s getting called out for his tone?

            What, pray tell, would have been a more appropriate response in your view? An apology? An offer of a refund?

  • Larry says:

    Norman, you’ve chosen a very unfortunate word — the tombs — to describe this concert. “The Tombs” is the name of a prison in lower Manhattan, the Manhattan Detention Center, notorious for overcrowding, violence, drugs, etc. etc. This concert is at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, actually a lovely place. It is the final resting place for Leonard Bernstein, among others.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Indeed. From the headline, I was expecting to read about a noble public-service concert at the prison. That’s not at all to denigrate the actual concert series but merely to comment on the headline.

    • psq says:

      Leonard Bernstein ….. reminded me of a trivia. Just behind Bernstein’s tombstone is a statue of Minerva. This looks in the direction of the Statue of Liberty. Local communities have taken on the ambitious project of persuading property developers not to build anything that blocks this direct sight line between Minerva and Statue of Liberty.

    • Ashu says:

      [“The Tombs” is the name of a prison in lower Manhattan, the Manhattan Detention Center, notorious for overcrowding, violence, drugs, etc. etc.]

      I hope no artistic director’s getting any ideas.

  • FrankUSA says:

    I live 50 miles outside of NYC. This sounds interesting.