American Symphony Orchestra Announces Free Chamber Music Series in Bryant Park

The American Symphony Orchestra announces plans for free nine-concert chamber music series. The series will take place at Manhattan’s Bryant Park and 34th St. Herald Square Plaza and will run through May 3–19, 2021. 

AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA photo courtesy of their website.

The American Symphony Orchestra is a New York-based American orchestra that was founded back in 1962. Their mission is to make orchestral music accessible and affordable for everyone. The musical performances and works are curated around ideas drawn from a variety of disciplines such as history, visual arts, science, politics and literature. They often try to revive works that were rarely-performed in their hay day that audiences would otherwise never have a chance to hear performed live. 

The nine concert series will include five different programs curated by American Symphony Orchestra  musicians. The performances will feature music ranging from 20th century Mexican and all-American jazz composers to Afro-Cuban Batá drumming and classical works for horn quartet and woodwind trio. Some of the featured artists include percussionist and composer Javier Diaz, saxophonist Roxy Coss, and oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz. 

There will be a limited number of first-come, first-served chairs set up near the Bryant Park Fountain Terrace in front of the stage and at Herald Square for people to watch the live music. Artists and audience members will be required to follow current public health guidelines including wearing masks and social distancing. All the concerts will last for at least one hour and will begin at 5:30PM. 

For more information on the American Symphony Orchestra and their concert series visit their website.

The full schedule can be read below: 

Modernism in Mexico – String Quartet

Monday, May 3 & Tuesday, May 4, at 5:30 pm

Bryant Park Fountain Terrace

Modernism in Mexico explores string quartets by some of Mexico’s most important 20th-century composers: Manuel Ponce, Silvestre Revueltas, and Carlos Chávez. Ponce was Mexico’s leading classical musician, and this performance of his well-known song Estrellita is a new arrangement for string quartet. Carlos Chávez was his student and heir apparent, touring extensively as a conductor and producing an impressive body of compositions. Chávez’s close colleague, violinist Silvestre Revueltas, was a notable conductor/composer whose work includes the score to the 1936 film Redes (The Wave), commissioned by the Mexican government. 

Cyrus Beroukhim, violin

Philip Payton, violin

Will Frampton, viola

Alberto Parrini, cello

Manuel Ponce: Estrellita

Manuel Ponce: Petite suite dans le style ancien

Silvestre Revueltas: Musica de Feria

Carlos Chávez: String Quartet No. 3

Strike Force – Percussion Ensemble

Wednesday, May 5 & Wednesday, May 12 at 5:30 pm

34th Street Herald Square Plaza

This percussion ensemble combines Afro-Cuban Batá drumming and poetry with the sounds of contemporary chamber percussion, featuring Grammy-nominated Imani Winds’ oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz in compositions by percussionist and composer Javier Diaz.

Kory Grossman, Javier Diaz, and Charles Descarfino, percussion

Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe

All-Javier Diaz Program:

“Chandani”

“Canciones del Idalgo”

“Maleza”

“Son Montuno Sinfonia”

“Sakpata”

“Lucumi Cycle”

ASO Salutes NYC/USA – Jazz Ensemble

Monday, May 10 & Tuesday, May 11 at 5:30 pm

Bryant Park Fountain Terrace

A truly American genre, the ASO presents this jazz ensemble as a salute to U.S. healthcare workers who have made it possible for New Yorkers to experience live music once again. The program, including works by Gershwin, Bernstein, Ellington, and Chick Corea, among others, celebrates composers who have defined the sound of this vibrant city.

Lee Musiker, piano

Lou Bruno, bass 

Kory Grossman, drums

Eugene Moye, cello

Roxy Coss, tenor saxophone and flute

Harry Warren: “42nd Street”

George Gershwin: “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess

Duke Ellington: “Take the A Train”

Leonard Bernstein: “Some Other Time”

Leonard Bernstein: “Cool” from West Side Story

Gustav Holst: I. Mars, the Bringer of War, from The Planets, Op. 32

Chick Corea: Children’s Songs

Charles Mingus: “Nostalgia in Times Square”

Woodwind Trio

Tuesday, May 18 at 5:30 pm

Bryant Park Fountain Terrace

Woodwind chamber music had something of a renaissance in the 1920s; at the same time, works for reed trio—oboe, clarinet, and bassoon—were coming together with the formation of the Trio d’Anches de Paris, a collaboration of three virtuosi reed players. This program offers music from some of the greatest composers of wind music in the 20th century.

Alexandra Knoll, oboe

Shari Hoffman, clarinet

Marc Goldberg, bassoon

Charles Koechlin: Trio d’anches Op. 206

Jean Françaix: Divertissement for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon

Alexandre Tansman: Suite for Wind Trio

Claude Arrieu: Suite en trio

Albert Roussel: Andante from an Unfinished Wind Trio: Adagio

Joseph Canteloube: Rustiques – I. Pastorale

Francis Poulenc: Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, FP 32a

Gilles Silvestrini: Oboe Etude No. 1: Hôtel des Roches Noires à Trouville

Horn Quartet

Monday, May 17 & Wednesday, May 19 at 5:30 pm

Bryant Park Fountain Terrace & 34th Street Herald Square Plaza

Perfectly at home in the outdoors, the horn quartet has enjoyed a rich history from the forest to the concert hall. This program features composers highlighted by Bard Music Festivals of the past with a few modern classics that will inspire.

Chad Yarbrough, David Smith, Lawrence DiBello, and David Peel, French horns

Nikolai Tcherepnin: Horn Quartet Op. 35

Carlos Chávez: Sonata for Four Horns

Richard Strauss: Fünf Volksliedsätze

Selections of Austrian hunting music

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