If audiences can’t come to concerts, here’s one solution: bring the concerts to audiences. For eight weeks beginning in late August, the New York Philharmonic took a bright red Ford F-250 pickup truck, dubbed it NY Phil Bandwagon, and made the rounds of New York City’s boroughs, performing short chamber concerts, accompanied by countertenor and host Anthony Roth Costanzo, who came up with the idea for the performances. Colorado’s Bravo! Vail festival—which in typical years hosts a summer season that features the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra, and more—created the Music Box, a small stage set in a custom-built trailer. The Music Box brought dozens of concerts to neighborhoods, senior centers, day camps, and even to people’s homes. In Michigan, the Grand Rapids Symphony sold tickets to 30-minute private concerts called “Sidewalk Serenades,” performed in the driveways of homes. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra offered “On the Go” outdoor chamber music performances for groups of 50 or less at parks, senior centers, and libraries, plus performances for individuals or families outside their homes. In September, cellists and brass musicians from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra made their debut on the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s new, mobile outdoor stage in the ballet’s parking lot for an audience of about 50 people. PSO musicians also performed at City Theatre’s outdoor space at Hazelwood Green. All concerts require masks, social distancing, and related health protocols.
Caption1: Left to right: At Bargemusic in Brooklyn, New York Philharmonic musicians Kim Laskowski (bassoon), Pedro Giraudo (bass), and Robert Botti (oboe) join countertenor/host Anthony Roth Costanzo during the Philharmonic’s NY Phil Bandwagon concerts throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Photo by Erin Baiano.
Caption 2: Four cellists from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra prepare to perform on a mobile stage in the parking lot of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre headquarters, for an audience limited to about 50 people.