Now that you are free to rediscover New York after months of staying at home, how can you do so in a way that is both joyous but still mindful of social distancing guidelines? Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK combines the pleasures of music with the tranquility of strolling through Central Park. This free app gives you access to a GPS-enabled work of public art in which music enhances the natural environment.
New Yorkers are invited to download the app, put in their earphones, and enter the immersive audio experience Reid created especially for Central Park. Musicians of the Philharmonic and others can be heard performing a soundscape that harmonizes with the park’s landscapes and attractions. Every visit to Central Park’s 840 acres can be different — the path chosen dictates the music heard. Musical “Easter eggs” are hidden throughout the park, so you may find yourself hearing a taste of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony or the World Premiere recording of Reid’s When the World As You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist (which the Philharmonic commissioned, and premiered in February 2020 as part of Project 19). Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is available in Central Park through the end of 2020.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning composer and sound designer explained the inspiration behind the new, immersive experience: “We miss our communities, and we miss the very thing that makes our cities special: the people. I hope SOUNDWALK will inspire us and make us feel connected to something larger than ourselves. It is meant to serve as artistic nourishment — a place to recharge, reconnect, and re-energize.”
In addition to Philharmonic musicians, the performers on the app are the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, Francisco J. Núñez, founder / artistic director, as well as Poole and the Gang and the SOUNDWALK Ensemble.
So put on your mask, go to Central Park, breathe in some fresh air, and download the app now.
The Project 19 commission of Ellen Reid’s When the World As You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist was made possible with lead support provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, and Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Mr. Oscar L. Tang, and with generous support by Sheree A. and Gerald L. Friedman; The Hauser Foundation; The Gerald L. Lennard Foundation; Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa; Kimberly V. Strauss, The Strauss Foundation; the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; and an anonymous donor. Project 19 was supported in part by a generous grant from the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Mann Center for the Performing Arts in association with The Fairmount Park Conservancy, and the Britt Festival Orchestra.
Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK is made possible in part by the support of Mindscapes, Wellcome’s international cultural program about mental health.