by Robert Leeper
The longest day of the year was greeted in New York on Saturday with enough activity to tide people over well into the summer. Out on Coney Island, there was the Mermaid Parade; in Times Square, thousands flocked to do yoga. Whatever you did, it was a beautiful day to be out.
But, for my money, the thing to do this summer solstice was Make Music New York, with some 1,300 shows taking place throughout the five boroughs. Make Music NY first appeared in 1989, inspired by France’s Fête de la Musique. In 2007, the event resurfaced with a vengeance, focusing on site specific events and sheer quantity and accessibility to inundate the City with music.
With music literally spilling out into the streets of New York, I tried to cover as much of it as I could--though in the end, I ended up seeing only a small fraction. My journey began at 2pm outside of Greenwich Village's Cornelia Street Cafe. Composers Collaborative presented In (Key), a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Terry Riley’s iconic (or, depending on your point of view, infamous) ode to short rhythmic motives, In C. Riley’s 1964 response to the academic serialism of the time seemed well at home with the relaxed mix of minimalist super-fans, casual brunch goers, and nervous, out-of-their-element NYU parents.