Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic in Central Park
Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Pictured: A Crimson Grail for 200 Electric Guitars at Damrosch Park
String quartet Ethel at Rite of Summer Music Festival on Governors Island
The Metropolitan Opera's Summer Recital Series
Naumburg Orchestral Concerts at Naumburg Bandshell
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in NYC
New York Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks
The Phil skipped its popular summer series last season, but the hometown orchestra returns to play five concerts in parks across the city this year: Alan Gilbert and guest maestro Andrey Boreyko lead the players in invigorating fare by Respighi, Tchaikovsky and Brahms, while we revel in the merlot warmth within us and the starry skies above us. Visit nyphil.org for details.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival
Each summer, the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival blows open the cultural institution’s staid reputation with nightly concerts featuring exotic, danceable and just plain weird musical acts. This year we’re particularly excited about the Aug 2 show, which pairs the New York premiere of avant-jazz trio the Bad Plus’s Stravinsky-inspired On Sacred Ground and the U.S. debut of minimal techno soundsmith Brandt Brauer Frick’s contemporary-music ensemble. Or catch the world premiere of local musical iconoclast Phil Kline’s dreamcitynine the next night (Aug 3). Taking a cue from John Cage’s Indeterminacy, it features 60 percussionists scattered across the plaza. Visit lcoutofdoors.org for more info.
Rite of Summer Music Festival
One of last summer’s breakout hits, this new-music fest from pianists and co-artistic directors Pam Goldberg and Blair McMillen returns for its sophomore season. Spirited performances by the charismatic Ljova and his gypsy chamber group Kontraband (July 7), the jumpin’ JACK Quartet (Aug 4) and electro-fiddler Todd Reynolds (Sept 3) are the perfect complement to a laid-back, sun-soaked day that includes ferry rides, bike tours, ice-cream cones and abandoned military buildings reclaimed as art galleries. riteofsummer.com.
The Met's Summer Recital Series
The Metropolitan Opera provides a pleasant soundtrack for lazy summer-evening picnics at recitals across the five boroughs. For the serious but thrifty opera buff, we recommend the opening show on July 25 at Central Park SummerStage or the July 27 gig at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, where you’ll get to hear big name stars Danielle de Niese, Dimitri Pittas and Alexander Lewis. The lineup of rising stars for the remaining shows, starring soprano Deanna Breiwick, tenor Lewis and baritone Edward Parks, is excellent as well. Visit metopera.org for details.
Naumburg Orchestral Concerts
One of New York’s oldest musical traditions, the Naumburg series welcomes a pair of top-drawer local chamber orchestras—Orpheus (June 19) and the Knights (July 10, 24)—as well as the popular violinist Lara St. John & Friends in a sultry all-Piazzolla program (Aug 7), for its 107th season. naumburgconcerts.org.