No Picnic for Players in the Parks

Sunscreen? Check.
Bug spray? Check.
Sheet Music? Clothespins? Nope.
Make mine an iPad.

Just a few weeks before entering its 45th season, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will present a concert on Wednesday that is a first in its history. Normally, its members are out of town at festivals across the country this time of year. But thanks to an invitation by the Naumburg Orchestra Concerts, the society will present a program of music by Mozart, Beethoven and Dvorak at the bandshell in Central Park. It will be its first out of doors.

August 21, 2013
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Britten Serenade in the Park

…the English composer Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday is also cause for celebration in 2013… on Tuesday, the Knights, a terrific independent orchestra, get a jump on the festivities with their second appearance in the free Naumburg Orchestral Concerts series in Central Park.

— Steve Smith, The New York Times
July 26, 2013
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So Rhapsodic That the Birds Join In

I recently enjoyed hearing The Knights, an adventurous chamber orchestra, in an imaginative program at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. The ensemble is returning on July 30 for another free concert, offering, among other enticements, the fine tenor Nicholas Phan singing Britten’s magnificent Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings……to hear The Knights play on a summer evening in an inviting nook of Central Park, so be it.

— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
July 18, 2013
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Chasing Clouds on the Way to ‘Jupiter’ The Knights Open the Naumburg Orchestral

A threatened thunderstorm on Tuesday night did not deter an eager audience for a free concert by the Knights, the dynamic New York-based chamber orchestra, at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park. The storm never arrived, but lots of people did. All 900 seats set up on the plaza in front of the band shell were filled, and hundreds more, it seemed, sat on the benches in the nearby mall and lawn areas. Though the weather was sticky and humid, the music was anything but.

— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
June 26, 2013
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Talent for Punctuating Classics With Surprises

Though often long on charm, the concerts, now in their 106th year, have not always been musically compelling. That began to change a few years ago, when the series — now run by Christopher W. London, whose great-grandfather, Elkan Naumburg, founded it in 1905 — started presenting inventive chamber ensembles like the Imani Winds.

— Allan Kozinn, The New York Times
June 24, 2011
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ARTS, BRIEFLY; Music Director Vows to Restore Philharmonic’s Free Summer Concert

There will be no free concerts in the parks for the New York Philharmonic this summer. But Alan Gilbert, the orchestra’s music director, has given his word that situation will change in 2012……Mr. Gilbert did not specify in the e-mail how far into the future he envisions the free summer concerts continuing once they are resumed. He mentioned private benefactors …, who have made a commitment to the series through 2013…. Mr. Tommasini noted that ”with orchestras across America buckling under challenges from the poor economy, it is more crucial than ever to entice new audiences” through outreach programs such as the free parks concerts, which he said have become ”a beloved New York summer ritual.”

— Larry Rohter, The New York Times
June 23, 2011
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No More Silent Summers

Still, it makes another “gesture,” to borrow Mr. Mehta’s phrase: namely, that the parks concerts are expendable. And that worries me…..It is obviously too late to bring back the parks tour for this summer, ….But New York music lovers should hold the Philharmonic to its word that the parks concerts will return in 2012.

— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
June 22, 2011
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Concerts in the Park – Letters

But don’t think for a moment that I’m “on board” with the New York Philharmonic’s stepping away from our annual Concerts in the Parks. Along with great New Yorkers like Didi and Oscar Schafer, who underwrite their considerable expense, I am making a personal promise that these beloved free concerts will return next summer, and continue for many years to come.

— Alan Gilbert, The New York Times
June 22, 2011
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