Tonight the NY Philharmonic continues its glorious tradition of free outdoor concerts in NYC parks, with the first of two concerts in Central Park. The orchestra will perform on the Great Lawn tonight and tomorrow night (June 15th and 16th), then head to Brooklyn for a performance in Prospect Park on Friday night. On Monday, June 20th they play in Queens' Cunningham Park, and on Tuesday, June 21st it's up to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Finally, on Wednesday June 22nd, a chamber orchestra featuring Concertmaster Frank Huang concludes the series with an indoor concert at the lovely Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island. (That performance is free, but tickets are required; click here for details.)

All performances begin at 8 p.m., with fireworks following the concerts in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. These fireworks are as good a sign as any that summer is officially underway in NYC. (Sorry Staten Island.)

All details about where exactly to go in the parks are here.

(Chris Lee)

You'll want to get there early to stake out a spot with a blanket, and if you plan on popping bottles, keep it somewhat discreet—bring solo cups and keep the bottle out of plain view, or you risk a summons from the Parks police. (Yes, still.)

This year marks the 51st year the Philharmonic has brought free music to city parks. The tradition started back in 1965, when Leonard Bernstein was the musical director and Seiji Ozawa was the conductor. The inaugural season, which brought live classical music to parks in four boroughs (the Bronx was omitted), featured Benny Goodman on clarinet—at least 75,000 people showed up for the debut performance in Central Park. Here's an interesting video flashback they put online last year:

Once again, performances in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island will be preceded by performances from local musicians in their home boroughs, as part of the "Share the Stage" series:

The 2016 Share the Stage performers will be Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy (Prospect Park, Brooklyn, June 17); Street Beat Brass Band (Cunningham Park, Queens, June 20); Afro-Puerto Rican drummers BombaYo (Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, June 21); and historic Richmond Town favorites, folk musicians Bob Conroy and Norm Pederson with Bill Doerge (Free Indoor Concert in Staten Island, June 22).

Share the Stage in Brooklyn, Queens, and Bronx takes place 6:30-7:00 p.m.; Share the Stage in Staten Island takes place 7:00-7:30 p.m.

Tonight's Central Park program is identical to the program in Queens and the Bronx: Rossini's La gazza ladra Overture (listen), Mozart's Clarinet Concerto (listen), and Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben (listen).


The New York Philharmonic will dedicate tonight’s (Wednesday) concert to the victims of the recent tragedy in Orlando and their families. In addition to addresses from the stage, the free concert will open with a performance of Barber’s Adagio for Strings, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, in tribute to the victims. Barber’s Adagio for Strings will replace the previously scheduled Rossini’s La gazza ladra Overture. The Central Park concert continues with Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, with Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill as soloist, and R. Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, featuring Concertmaster Frank Huang.

The piece to be performed tonight is the subject of a book called The Saddest Music Ever Written: The Story of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

On Thursday night in Central Park, the Philharmonic performs Beethoven's Fidelio Overture (listen), Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde (listen), and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica (listen).

In Prospect Park on Friday night, the Philharmonic performs Beethoven's Fidelio Overture, Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Eroica. The series concludes in Staten Island with a chamber orchestra performance of Piazzolla's Winter and Spring from Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (listen) followed by Vivaldi's Four Seasons (listen).