Opinion: What is Mostly Mozart’s role as Lincoln Center shifts summer programming?

Posted on: July 22, 2022

The Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and pianist Conrad Tao perform at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park during the “Summer for the City” festival. Photo: Caitlin Ochs / New York Times

“At Lincoln Center … the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra took the stage in Damrosch Park…. The pianist Conrad Tao played an elegantly unruffled Mozart concerto and a daydreamy ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ ” writes Zachary Woolfe in Wednesday’s (7/20) New York Times. Lincoln Center’s “summer, once a messy assortment of competing series and festivals, has finally been streamlined under a single label: ‘Summer for the City’ [that includes] outdoor film screenings, spoken word, social dance, comedy shows and an ASL version of ‘Sweeney Todd.’ … Musical experiences that once appeared under the Mostly Mozart rubric have vanished…. The International Contemporary Ensemble, long in residence, [is] absent.” Chief Artistic Officer Shanta Thake “said that this year’s Summer for the City should not necessarily be seen as the model for all to come…. Summer for the City … feels like a throwback to the … Out of Doors tradition from the early ’70s. That can yield wonderful programming, and much civic good…. But those offerings existed in an ecosystem in which classical music … was another pillar, not a fringe…. Conrad Tao playing Mozart with a superb orchestra for free or cheap: That is the core of the center’s mission. Its job is to … increase access to that.”