Behind the scenes, orchestrating NY Phil’s summer parks concerts

Posted on: July 9, 2014

“How many pounds of ice does it take to put on a New York Philharmonic concert in the park? Two thousand, to be exact, and that’s not to chill the picnickers’ chardonnay,” writes Robin Pogrebin in Thursday’s (7/3) New York Times. “The ice is to cool the drinks for the army of workers who arrive at dawn and work through often-sweltering days to erect an outdoor concert hall in an effort akin to setting up a three-ring circus in about 15 hours. And it’s for the musicians, who sometimes have to play in punishing heat.… Then there are the 16 trucks, 13 speakers, and 2,000 folding chairs, not to mention satellite weather-monitoring devices—all part of the extensive preparation for the Philharmonic’s annual summer series, Concerts in the Parks, an urban Tanglewood that travels through all five boroughs and starts Wednesday in Brooklyn. The Manhattan performance is the real doozy—attracting about 50,000 people (compared with about 17,000 in Brooklyn; 7,000 in the Bronx; 10,000 in Queens…). When there is a threat of rain, [Alex] Johnston [the orchestra’s director of concert production and operations] stays in frequent contact with the National Weather Service.”

Posted July 9, 2014

Pictured: Backstage at Central Park before a New York Philharmonic concert, 2009. Photo by Chris Lee