free things to do in New York City

October 2017

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Free Events, Free Things to Do in New York City!  Read More
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Club Free Time Blog

October Rhapsody

Gail Wein
October 03, 2017

Bernstein is the man of the moment, as celebrations of his centennial come into full swing. Everyone’s getting into the act, especially the New York Philharmonic - Bernstein led our hometown band as music director in the 1960s, and appeared as Laureate Conductor many many times in the decades that followed.

October 25-31, the violinist Joshua Bell is featured in a program that includes Bernstein’s Serenade and his Symphony No. 1. The festivities continue November 2-4 with Bernstein’s “Age of Anxiety” Symphony paired with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and the conductor Leonard Slatkin is on deck November 9-14 leading the NY Philharmonic in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3. On the small ensemble side, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center offers a program featuring Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles on October 29.

The Emerson String Quartet turned 40 (40!) last year, and they perform two programs of Beethoven and Shostakovich at Lincoln Center this fall, on October 24 and November 28. Another great...make that phenomenal...quartet is Takacs, appearing in two programs at Carnegie on October 12 and 14. One of my favorite string quartets, Brooklyn Rider, make their only NYC concert appearance on October 19 at Roulette in (of course) Brooklyn.

Gordon Getty is known as one of the richest people in the US. But he’d like to be known as a composer. In fact, the 85-year old is no hack – he has been writing music for many years, some of it to critical acclaim. Two one-act operas, Usher House and The Canterville Ghost, will be performed at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College on October 19 and 21.

Two more upcoming performances stand out. The glamorous soprano Renee Fleming is in recital at Carnegie Hall on October 23. And the Grammy-nominated a cappella group Sweet Honey In The Rock bring their unique blend of blues, jazz and gospel to Symphony Space on November 3.

There’s an insane number of fantastic concerts this month – so go crazy, my friend!

Another Opening, Another Show

Gail Wein
August 27, 2017

Pack away your shorts and sandals, and haul out your Going Out duds. It’s time for opening night in New York.

New York Philharmonic gets its season underway on September 19. The incoming music director Jaap Van Zweden leads our hometown band in the powerful and majestic Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler. The following week, on September 25, the Metropolitan Opera presents its glitzy and glam opening night performance: Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece Norma, featuring Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role. Previous opening nights have been simulcast on Lincoln Center Plaza and in Times Square; keep your eye out for announcements.

Carnegie Hall serves up its opening night on October 4 with an all-American program by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting. Lang Lang and Chick Corea are featured soloists in a special two-piano version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, plus music from Bernstein’s ever-popular West Side Story.

September 15-24, the Met Museum offers ten performances of “Farewell My Concubine” performed by the Shanghai Peking Opera. Its a classic tale of love and suicide, presented in a one-hour performance at The Met's Astor Court. The venue is small, and the tickets are quite pricey, but this is a unique opportunity to see this Chinese masterpiece in an intimate setting.

The Resonant Bodies Festival, which celebrates contemporary vocal music, returns to Roulette on September 5, 6 and 7. Each night features three sets by different performers, including Theo Bleckmann, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the legendary vocalist Joan La Barbara and Kamala Sankaram.

And last but not least, the violinist/composer Elektra Kurtis and her Ensemble Elektra give two concerts in New York: September 5 at Cornelia Street Café and September 19 at Symphony Space. Both are part of Kurtis’s “Rituals for Peace” series, and both feature her unique blend of classical and jazz traditions, drawing from Polish, Greek and Arabic origins.

Dog Days and Starry Nights

Gail Wein
August 01, 2017

Though it's the 'dog days' of August, there is plenty of music to keep us all out of the doldrums.

Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center brings some stellar talent to its stages: the Cliburn-award winning Italian pianist Beatrice Rana appears with the MM Festival Orchestra on August 4 and 5, the violinist Joshua Bell and the cellist Steven Isserlis are featured in the Brahms "Double Concerto" on August 8 and 9 (the two will also give a late-night chamber recital on August 9), and the handsome musicians from Denmark, the Danish String Quartet, perform an early evening show at Alice Tully Hall and a late night recital at Kaplan Penthouse on August 10. And, violin phenom Gil Shaham performs the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the festival orchestra on August 18 and 19.

Your ticket for each orchestra performance also gives you entry to a pre-concert recital at 6:30 pm. This is a great opportunity to hear Beatrice Rana play a solo Bach partita (August 4 and 5), and Gil Shaham perform Prokofiev with his wife, the excellent violinist Adele Anthony (August 18 and 19).

Across town, the tenor Lawrence Brownlee performs in two of the intimate spaces at the Park Avenue Armory on August 9 and 11. The program begins with a recital of lieder and art songs, with the pianist Myra Huang at the Board of Officers Room. Then the performers and audience move to the Veterans Room, where Brownlee performs jazz standards and American spirituals with the jazz pianist Jason Moran.

In Greenwich Village, Le Poisson Rouge brings cellist Sophia Bacelar and pianist/composer Dan Tepfer to the stage on August 13. The program features a re-imagined version of a Bach Cello Suite with improvisations by Tepfer, plus tangos by Astor Piazzolla. On August 28, the fiery pianist Taka Kigawa presents his annual late-summer program at LPR, this time featuring Olivier Messiaen’s monumental masterpiece, “Catalogue d’oiseaux”.

Speaking of Piazzolla, you can explore the tango master's complicated personal relationships and far-reaching musical legacy in a program of words and music at Joe's Pub on August 5 and 6 in "That's Not Tango". 
Stay tuned: In September, a host of early season performances and festivals roll in, followed by the official season openings at Carnegie Hall and New York Philharmonic.

Complimentary Tickets

to shows, concerts ... (CFT Deals!)

Play | Comedy by Emmy winner

Regular Price: $75
CFT Member Price: $0.00

Classical Music | Piano works by Chopin and more

Regular Price: $60
CFT Member Price: $0.00

Theater | An amazing evening of intimate magic

Regular Price: $55
CFT Member Price: $0.00
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