American Symphony Orchestra (Photo Credit Chris Lee)

First-Come, First-Served Entry

All Bryant Park Picnic Performances Are FREE

The Bryant Park Picnic Performances season of free, live performances, presented by Bank of America, continues on Thursday, September 7 with American Expressions, a special program from the American Symphony OrchestraLeon Botstein conducts a full orchestra in a program highlighting the different forms of expression and musical languages that emerged following World War I, such as dance, theater and jazz.

Attendees to Bryant Park Picnic Performances may bring their own food or purchase from on-site food and beverage vendors near the Lawn. At all performances, attendees can discover new dishes and celebrate classics from the five boroughs with a rotating line-up of local artisanal vendors curated by Hester Street Fair. Stout NYC offers giant pretzels, gourmet popcorn and other light bites as well as a selection of beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase.

Performance Details

Thursday, September 7 at 7PM

American Symphony Orchestra: American Expressions

Conducted by Leon Botstein

In the years immediately following World War I, the American artistic scene experienced an extraordinary burst of creativity. Responding to the horror and brutality of that war, artists, writers and composers rejected the exalted ideals of the previous century, focusing instead on creating new means of expression, ones that would accurately reflect the realities this new age required. With jazz, many American composers found a new source of inspiration, one distinctly American, as well as thoroughly fresh, modern and exciting. Some of the works offered in this program reflect this fascination in the Roaring Twenties with this language, with its irresistible rhythmic energy and catchy melodies. Other composers sought to push the boundaries of musical expression with radical, “ultra-modern” languages. Whether by polytonality, jagged counterpoint and asymmetric ostinatos or brash atonality – in which melody, harmony and rhythm are harshly distorted and deconstructed – the experimental impulses of this generation are presented here in its arguably finest exponents.

The American Symphony Orchestra is a New York-based American orchestra, founded in 1962, dedicated to providing great music for everyone. The ASO chamber series features musician-curated programs that represent the diverse perspectives across New York City and worldwide, through explorations of the many styles and genres of American music.

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Location and Subway Directions:

Bryant Park is situated behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Take the B, D, F, or M train to 42nd Street/Bryant Park; or, take the 7 train to 5th Avenue.