The Young People's Concerts now boast a series for very young people, children 3 to 6 years old, the first of which will be held this month. Read on for details.
Roll Over, Beethoven
The New York Philharmonic's Young People's Concerts have been going on for more than four decades. I recall hearing Peter and the Wolf at Lincoln Center in the early '70s with none other than Leonard Bernstein waving the baton; even though Lenny stepped down as the Phil's music director in 1969, he loved interacting with kids and continued to lead these concerts until 1972. In a DVD set of the Young People's Concerts (Leonard Bernstein - The Young People's Concerts/New York Philharmonic), Bernstein refers to the concerts as "among my favorite, most highly prized activities of my life." The series was his "educational mission," his way of indoctrinating children to the joy of classical music. Bernstein was a masterful teacher, demonstrating the symphonic adaptability of jazz and indigenous folk in modern classical music, but hardly forsaking Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and the powdered wig set.
Skip to 2011, and the Young People's Concerts now boast a series for very young people, children 3 to 6 years old, the first one being held this month. Although the entire Philharmonic orchestra is reduced here to an ensemble of eight to 10 musicians, the fun and educational bent remain. Like when Bernstein stood on the podium, these concerts are more than a passive experience. Children interact with the orchestra and maestro throughout the concert, becoming active listeners and musical thinkers (often they're onstage playing maestro themselves!). Moreover, concerts feature a host and narrator who translate ideas and concepts to this very young audience. And before the concert, children have the opportunity to get close to some orchestral instruments, engaging in hands-on music making. All said, Leonard Bernstein would be thrilled to know this tradition is well maintained.
What: New York Philharmonic Very Young People's Concert
Where: Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center
When: Sunday, January 23, 10:30am
How much: $25 orchestra; $20 balcony
For more information: www.kaufman-center.org/merkin-concert-hall.org
Also see: Our Online Calendar, for even more family events in Manhattan and the New York metro area