You’d be hard-pressed to find a connecting thread between hip-hop beatmaker Metro Boomin and avant-classical guitarist-composer Glenn Branca, if it weren’t for the annual Red Bull Music Academy. Starting Friday, April 29, the three-and-a-half-week series hosts musicians from a diverse range of genres at conversations, installations, and concerts in NYC, often in one-off configurations and unlikely venues. Branca airs his symphonies in Chelsea’s historic Masonic Hall on Monday, May 16, while Metro Boomin joins fellow producers Sonny Digital and Zaytoven for a party at Meatpacking club the Lively on Saturday, April 30 (and all the aforementioned artists will also hold discussions about their work). Other rare bookings include a performance by gothic vocal talent Diamanda Galas, a cross-generational bill bringing together rising jazz star Kamasi Washington and legends Pharoah Sanders and the Sun Ra Arkestra, and a gospel–house-music mash-up featuring minimal techno innovator Robert Hood. If you’re unfamiliar with some or all of that, consider the series your chance to discover new sounds. Here are our favorites from the 20-event calendar to get you started.
Red Bull Music Academy takes place Friday, April 29–Sunday, May 22. Visit the official website for the full schedule, locations and prices.