After more than two years of turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Lincoln Center is hosting a festival this summer to help New York City heal.
Called Summer for the City, the festival will take place in 10 outdoor spaces and three indoor stages on campus from mid-May to mid-August and will be timed around themes of rejoicing, recovery and remembrance. It’s also part of Lincoln Center’s efforts to recalibrate its image as an exclusive bastion of classical music and attract a younger, more diverse audience.
The centre plans to feature more popular music and install a large disco ball, 10 feet in diameter, that will hang over a dance floor in the centre’s main plaza.
“I hope that we are making space for people to meet their neighbours again, find each other again and find their inner artist,” Shanta Thake, artistic director of the centre, said in an interview. “And being in her whole body with other New Yorkers and coming back together as a city.”
The festival, which is expected to include more than 300 events and 1,000 artists, is the first of Thake’s artists, who joined Lincoln Center last year on a mission to broaden its appeal beyond classical music and ballet. into genres like hip-hop, poetry, and songwriting.
This year’s programming will open with a massive song in Josie Robertson Square, by the New York Youth Choir, under the direction of Francisco J. and including classics such as “Tu Cancion” by Elton John. ” .”
In August, two versions of Mozart’s Requiem will be offered: one traditionally presented by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and a reimagined dance version, “Requiem: Fire in the Earth’s Air,” choreographed by Kyle Abraham and performed by his company, AIM, with electronic musician Jlin.
Summer in the City will unite downtown festivals, including the discontinued Lincoln Center Festival and the Mostly Mozart Festival, which has been largely discontinued since 2020.
The Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra will perform six pairs of concerts this summer, including a free opening program in July under the direction of the ensemble’s music director, Louis Langrée, with Conrad Tao as soloist in Piano Concerto no. 17 in G and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. (Tao will also play William Grant Still’s solo “Out of the Silence” from “Seven Traceries.”)
Thake, a former associate artistic director at the Public Theatre, where she spent a decade running the cabaret-style venue Joe’s Pub, said she hoped to broaden Mostly Mozart’s audience by integrating it with Lincoln Center’s other summer offerings.
“What we’re experiencing with this year is breaking down our internal silos,” he said. “Everyone is under the same banner, and this is a very broad Lincoln Center audience, and we’re going to see how it works out.”
Summer for the City aims to build on Restart Stages last year, when the centre staged small-scale outdoor performances, to help get artists back to work after months of pandemic cancellations. According to Lincoln Center, that series drew more than 200,000 people, nearly a quarter of whom were first-time visitors.
The disco ball is the centrepiece of the Oasis, an outdoor stage designed by set and costume designer Clint Ramos, which will host live music and dance parties throughout the summer.
In June, Jazz at Lincoln Center, adopting a New Orleans tradition, will lead a second-line procession from Columbus Circle to Lincoln Center, mourning those who have died since the pandemic began. And in July, the centre will host “Celebrate LOVE: A (Re)Wedding,” as a ceremony for couples who cancelled or scaled back their nuptials in the past two years, complete with live music and a dance floor reception.