As New Yorkers finish up their shopping and start thinking about heading home for the holidays, they'll be surrounded by music all day today as part of the 6th annual Make Music Winter, marking the shortest day of the year. Featured artists performing throughout the five boroughs include members of Antibalas, singers Onome and Jascha Hoffman, all-women Brazilian drumline Fogo Azul, keyboardist Karl Larson, conductors Thomas McCargar and Malcolm Merriweather, composers Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, Cameron Britt, Ravi Kittappa and P. Spadine, and others.
The full schedule is available on the Make Music Winter website. Our recommended itinerary for the day is below.
> Baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert presents the fourth performance of his participatory version of Franz Schubert’s 1828 song cycle Winterreise at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The performance will migrate throughout the Garden, passing through locations that reflect the vivid imagery of Wilhelm Müller’s poetry and Schubert’s music. Audience members will provide the accompaniment via hand-held radios, emitting the original piano music. Radios are available to borrow for the first 50 attendees, or listeners may bring their own.
2 - 3 pm: Off the Afrobeaten Path. Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village.
> Led by members of the percussion section of Brooklyn based Afrobeat pioneers, Antibalas, participants on this percussion parade will weave through the streets of Greenwich Village, creating a rhythmic fabric of interlocking parts and sounds. Percussionists of every level are invited to bring shekeres, claves, agogo bells, cowbells, and any other handheld percussion that melds with the rhythmic web of the West African musical forms that make up Afrobeat.
4 - 5 pm: Prelude. West side of 5th Ave. at 54th St, Manhattan.
> Amateur and professional singers led by Thomas McCargar walk together under a half-dozen bridges and archways in Central Park, while singing or playing an arrangement of the Prelude movement of Bach’s G-Major Cello Suite No. 1 very, very slowly. The result is a half-hour, slow-motion harmonic wash of sound and echoes conceived and produced by James Holt. All vocalists are welcome; no sight-reading experience is necessary. Instrumentalists are also welcome to join in following the same parts as singers.
4:32 (sunset) - 5:32 pm: Kalimbascope. Jacob Mould Fountain, City Hall Park, Manhattan.
> Created by composer J.C. King, this parade of the inviting sounds of the kalimba (an evolution of the African mbira) will embark upon a mile long walk of Lower Manhattan, coming to rest in the resonant chambers and archways of 1 Centre Street. The plucking of this handheld folk instrument is amplified by a rolling speaker, creating a gentle, reverberating soundscape as the sounds play off of buildings and other city structures. All are encouraged to bring their own kalimbas (kalimbas will be available for the first 25 participants to borrow).
5 - 6:30 pm: The Gaits: A High Line Soundwalk. Gansevoort St, South end of the High Line
> Composers Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, and Cameron Britt have created a free smartphone application that turns footsteps into twinkling metallic sounds, electric guitar chords, dulcimer notes, water splashes, car horns, and applause. By connecting them to small, wearable speakers, smartphones become instruments effortlessly played by strolling, sauntering, or sprinting down the High Line.
6 - 7 pm: Bell by Bell. Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan.
> Artist Tom Peyton distributes seventy color-coded bells to the crowd, one color per note. A team of conductors waves corresponding colored flags to lead the group in slowly moving music, written by a variety of composers. Now in its sixth year, this sonorous, atmospheric soundscape will return to the East Village, where it got its start at the first Make Music Winter in 2011. Participants will take to the streets, stopping at choice neighborhood locations to joyfully wave the flags and sound the bells, winding up at Two Boots East Village.
6 - 7:30 pm: Pilgrimage. 2537 Broadway (Bar Thalia, Symphony Space)
> Early Music singers led by conductor Malcolm J. Merriweather walk from West Park Presbyterian Church to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, carrying lanterns up the West Side while singing medieval melodies once sung along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. All singers are invited to join, from absolute beginners to early music specialists — no rehearsal necessary. Scores are available at http://makemusicny.org/winter-2016/pilgrimage/.