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Face the Music
Photograph: Courtesy Darial R. Sneed Face the Music

Live preview - Make Music New York

Annual citywide free celebration Make Music New York has become a magnet for classical innovation.

By Steve Smith

Since its inception in 2007, this daylong summer event has used practically every nook and cranny of New York City’s five boroughs to celebrate live music-making. What might come as a surprise is that Make Music New York has emerged as one of the city’s most reliable sources of offbeat classical events. It makes a certain kind of sense: With the entirety of the metropolis to employ as a backdrop, what’s to stop ambitious artists from thinking big? Memorable examples have included Xenakis’s percussion tour de force Persephassa played on rafts afloat on Central Park Lake in 2010; John Luther Adams’s Inuksuit mounted in Morningside Park and Louis Andriessen’s Hoketus bouncing around Wall Street in 2011; and impressive spectacles on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village, year in and year out.

Arguably, this year’s most significant offering is “Mass Appeal Mass,” a coproduction with NPR Music in which the general public—that means you—can participate in a world premiere by Philip Glass in Times Square (6:30–7:30pm). But you can also experience 18 hours of Satie’s appropriately titled Vexations on Wall Street (6am–midnight); witness an Alvin Curran piece for brass bands on Central Park Lake (5–6pm); dig some Stockhausen in Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell (7–8pm); or hit a block party hosted by wunderkind contemporary ensemble Face the Music outside its Kaufman Center home (6:30–8pm). For a complete schedule and map, see—Steve Smith

Follow Steve Smith on Twitter: @nightafternight

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