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Musical Postcards

Throughout this 175th anniversary season, the New York Philharmonic has been celebrating its hometown, as well as exploring the meaning of home, through The New World Initiative.

This past Saturday, a very special Saturday Matinee concert gave audiences a particularly resonant look at the idea of “home” when Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists performed works written by students of the Very Young Composer’s Program (VYC), aged 9–22, some of which were inspired by original compositions by Middle Eastern children in refugee camps.

The concert was a result of the Musical Postcards program, through which VYC participants correspond with children in other countries and ultimately compose music in reaction to pieces written by their counterparts abroad. Works on Saturday’s program included “Musical Postcards” from New York composers to those in Venezuela, Israel, and Syria as well as a work by an Afghan refugee.

Jennifer Sime, Senior Vice President, United States Programs, of the International Rescue Committee, opened the concert with remarks about the current refugee crisis.

As Jon Deak, Artistic Director of VYC, said: “The spirit of these displaced children inspires us. Our New York kids have expressed solidarity by answering their counterparts with their own music.”

The works performed were:

Claudia Meléndez (Venezuela) El Secreto

Cassandra Stevens (New York) Where Is Home?

Naama Rolnick (Israel) Keep Walking

Chi-Chi Ezekwenna (New York) Sequence of War

Ram Shanati (Syria) Watar (String)

Nina Moske (New York) 11,000,000

Milad Yousufi (Afghanistan) Freedom

Above, New York Philharmonic musicians and Teaching Artists who performed pose with (left to right): Milad Yousufi, Naama Rolnick, Nina Moske, Cassandra Stevens, and Chi-Chi Ezekwenna.   

The performers, all of whom donated their services, encouraged the audience to reach out to children in need, naming three possible organizations to support: Doctors Without Borders, New York Philharmonic Education Fund, and International Rescue Committee.

“The healing and creative power of children is a wonder to behold. We feel that now, more than ever, it is important to listen to them,” Deak said. 

(Photo: Chris Lee)

New World Composition Challenge Winners: What’s New with The New World Initiative

The votes are in! Eleven winners of the New World Composition Challenge have been chosen.

Gregor Huebner will take the grand prize of $1,000 for his piece New World, Nov. 9th, 2016, a quartet based on themes from the second movement of Dvořák’s New World Symphony and influenced by last year’s presidential election. Michael Pineda, from the Bronx, Yazmin Morales-Vincente (Brooklyn), Luke Cissell (Manhattan), Joel Pierson (Queens), and Sabrina Isaac (Staten Island) are the second-place winners; each will receive $500. Five honorable mentions will receive $100: Teni Apelian, Dionne McClain-Freeney and Allison Sniffin, Miky von der Nahmer and Zack Childers, Norbert and Karen Stachel, and Sammy Sussman. Congratulations to all!

In other New World Initiative (NWI) news, six NWI participating ensembles have been chosen to perform on stage at the Concerts in the Parks, June 13–18, as part of Share the Stage, which presents local musicians performing in their home boroughs before the Philharmonic’s concerts. BombaYo will perform in Van Cortlandt Park, The Ebony Hillbillies and Zulal will perform in Central Park, The Queens Cartoonists and Slum Suit will perform in Cunningham Park, and The Side Project will take the stage in Prospect Park.

Finally, Alan Gilbert and the Philharmonic’s critically acclaimed performance of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World is now available for download from all major download services, including  iTunes, Amazon, and is available for streaming on Spotify. The symphony was recorded live during the opening week of the 2016–17 season.

Don’t miss the conclusion of The New World Initiative in the Parks, June 13–16, including your chance to play and sing along with the New York Philharmonic. Click here for more information.

The New York Philharmonic Wants YOU

The New World Initiative — the Philharmonic’s season-long, citywide project revolving around Dvořák’s New World Symphony through performances, community outreach, and education projects on the occasion of the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season — is heading for an exciting finale.

At this year’s New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, we invite you to join the Orchestra in a community performance of the “Goin’ Home” theme from the Largo movement of Dvořák’s New World Symphony before the concerts in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, June 13–16. Music Director Alan Gilbert — in his final New York performances as Music Director — will conduct the crowd before leading the Orchestra in the complete symphony during the concerts.

Bring any instrument, and/or your voice. Novices are just as welcome as professionals. The simple, beautiful theme will be taught to the crowd beforehand, and vocal and instrumental parts will be available online before the concerts at newworldinitiative.com.

Throughout the 2016–17 season, 114 musical ensembles from all five boroughs, totaling more than 1,000 musicians, participated in The New World Initiative by performing the New World Symphony, selections from it, arrangements of it, or reinterpretations of it. The New World Symphony was introduced to 15,000 students and teachers at the Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts for Schools, and the Philharmonic’s Facebook Live broadcast of its Opening Gala Concert featuring the New World Symphony received 150,000 views.

(Photo: Chris Lee)

Dvořák 9 on Kazoo? What’s New with The New World Initiative

If you haven’t heard the Largo from Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony played on kazoos, see this extremely clever and fun video.

As part of The New World Initiative — the Philharmonic’s season-long, citywide immersion in Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World — the cartoon-loving jazz band The Queen’s Cartoonists arranged a smart, jazzy version of Dvořák’s New World Symphony — cycling through the work’s main themes in two minutes using kazoos, upright bass, saxophone, and more.

There are still many opportunities to hear this work performed as part of The New World Initiative. Upcoming performances include a joint concert with the highly acclaimed students of Opus 118 Harlem School of Music and The Harlem Chamber Players, a musical saw performance by Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz, a community chamber concert featuring two arrangements of the Largo hosted by The Broadway Bach Ensemble, and a new work by Bruce Adolphe inspired by the New World Symphony titled Dvorshock performed by the International Chamber Orchestra of America, paired with maya + rouvelle’s live, virtual-reality performance.

More than 1,000 musicians from all five boroughs have been spreading the sounds of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World throughout the city: from NYC classrooms and churches to concert halls and subway stations. It’s not too late to join in the fun! Visit newworldinitiative.com to learn more.

Young People’s Concerts Bring The New World Initiative to Kids

 

Saturday capped an inspiring week in which our renowned Young People’s Concerts and Young People’s Concerts for Schools intersected powerfully with The New World Initiative, our season-long, citywide project revolving around Dvořák’s New World Symphony and its theme of home through performances, community outreach, and education projects on the occasion of the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season.

More than 12,000 students and teachers attended the school concerts, and more than 2,000 attended the public concert on Saturday — nearly 15,000 in all were at the seven concerts. Read More...

The New World Initiative Events in December

 

It’s December, but this year New York City rings with more than sleigh bells and carols. Dvořák abounds, thanks to The New World Initiative, a centerpiece of our 175th season celebration, which offers New Yorkers the chance to connect with each other through a wide variety of performances of Dvořák’s New World Symphony, a work associated with the Orchestra since its premiere and so a piece of the city’s cultural history.

We kicked it off in September, with our Opening Gala Concert (you can see it here). Now, four other NYC–based groups are performing excerpts, especially “Goin’ Home,” based on the memorable English horn melody heard in the sympho­ny’s Largo.

On December 4 the Greenwich Village Orchestra’s autism-friendly Annual Family Concert features an audience sing-along of “Goin’ Home.”

Head to Brooklyn on December 6 and 9 for the Borough of Manhattan Community College Select Chorus’s premier­e of an original choral piece based on it, written by Eun Ho Kim, its composer-in-residence.

On December 10 Corona Youth Music Project is performing an arrangement of the symphony’s 4th movement.

And on the 15th the middle- and upper-school choirs, orchestras, and jazz ensem­bles of the Berkeley Carroll School will perform “Goin’ Home” in the school’s win­ter concert.

Check out these and future events, as well as videos of the NWI performances to date, at newworldinitiative.com.

Calling All NYC Composers: Take the New World Challenge!

 

As part of The New World Initiative — the New York Philharmonic’s season-long, citywide immersion in Dvořák’s New World Symphony — the Philharmonic is launching the New World Composition Challenge, inviting New York City–based composers to create works of not more than three minutes that contain or reference themes from Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World.

The contest is open to all New York City musicians, professional or amateur, and entrants may use any combination of instruments or voices, from solos to large ensembles, in any musical style or genre.

Visit newworldinitiative.com/participate for contest details. The deadline for submission is Friday, April 14, 2017. Cash prizes will be awarded to 11 winners to be announced on Monday, May 22, 2017.

Happy composing!

What’s New with The New World Initiative

The New World Initiative — the New York Philharmonic’s season-long, citywide immersion in Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World — is in full swing.

Participating musicians and ensembles have spread the sounds of Dvořák’s “Goin’ Home” melody throughout the city. From full orchestral performances, arrangements written by and for women in an internment camp during World War II, to the ethereal tones of the musical saw, each interpretation offers a unique glimpse into New York City’s multifaceted culture.

With the goal of introducing the New World Symphony to as many New York City students as possible, the Philharmonic, in partnership with the NYC Department of Education, developed a curriculum exploring the work’s African American and Native American influences and the theme of “home,” using materials from the Philharmonic’s Archives. This curriculum was presented to more than 400 teachers at a professional development day in November, which included performances of the work.

Get a taste for the variety of ways people are engaging with The New World Initiative in the above video, and learn more about The New World Initiative here.

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