© 2024 WRTI
Your Classical and Jazz Source. Celebrating 75 Years!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wired: Come Hear New Music That Uses The Manhattan Bridge

So Percussion.
Janette Beckman, 2012
courtesy of the artists
So Percussion.

June 21st has come to be one of our very favorite days on the calendar. It's not just the first day of summer (though there is that). It's also time for Make Music New York, which presents about 1,000 — yes, 1,000 — free outdoor concerts across the city in a single day.

Last year, we commissioned Philip Glass to create a choral work that could be sung by anyone who wanted to give it a go — and the world premiere was in the middle of Times Square, led by the excellent New York-based conductor Kent Tritle.

After that amazing and profoundly gratifying experience, we decided that for 2013, we'd try a different kind of matchmaking. We paired artists who had never before met or worked together, but we thought could create a brilliant collaboration: composer, installation artist and percussionist Eli Keszler and the inventive percussion quartet So Percussion. With a combination of piano wires suspended from the Manhattan Bridge, motors and a small battery of bowed percussion, their world premiere, called Archway, promises to be something really memorable.

Working with Make Music New York, the New York City Department of Transportation, the DUMBO Improvement District, the PAN ACT Festival and our colleagues at Q2 Music to realize this project, we're inviting the public to this singular event: the world premiere of Archway at the DUMBO Archway in Brooklyn (between Anchorage Pl. and Adams St.) this Friday, June 21, at 6:30 PM.

Scored for snare drums and crotales played with mallets and bows, the sonic context for this world premiere is Keszler's installation, also named Archway, that uses stretched and tuned piano wires to create a dynamic piece in and around the DUMBO Archway. The wires are struck with small mechanical beaters that resonate the strings, creating shifting overtones within each string and collectively as a unit. The entire installation will be built on site, heard — and then disassembled in the course of this one day.

Want a preview of Keszler's and So's amazing work? Check out these videos of two of their previous projects.

Eli Keszler's installation Cold pin at the Boston Center for the Arts in February 2011:

And here's So Percussion's John Cage-apalooza at the Tiny Desk last year:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.