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A Look Back at New York Stories: Threads of Our City

Posted January 29, 2019

In true musical fashion, New York Stories: Threads of Our City built to a powerful crescendo and finale this past weekend that still echoes in our ears, minds, and hearts. The World Premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, with its searingly vivid multimedia evocation of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, perfectly capped our exploration of New York’s roots as a city of immigrants.

It all kicked off on January 14 at the Tenement Museum, with Philharmonic musicians performing chamber music in a special guided tour. In addition, Philharmonic musicians who immigrated to the US shared their stories on the Tenement Museum’s Your Story, Our Story website. Here is cellist Qiang Tu’s story, and a video of him telling it:

The following evening, there was a free Insights at the Atrium event, Fire in my mouth: Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. President and CEO Deborah Borda moderated a discussion among Wolfe, Forward archivist Chana Pollack, and Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition founder Ruth Sergel. Ms. Pollack presented archival materials from the Forward’s front-lines coverage of the tragedy and its aftermath. 

On the Grand Promenade of David Geffen Hall was an exhibit with items from the Philharmonic Archives, the Forward, the Museum of the City of New York, the National Archives at New York City, Remember the Triangle Fire coalition, The Metropolitan Opera, the NYC Department of Records, and the Kheel Center at Cornell University. Check it out if you’re coming to a concert — it will be up through February 28.

On Sunday, at The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Marie-Josée Kravis Creative Partner Nadia Sirota hosted / curated Sound ON: “Threads,” a new-music concert featuring Philharmonic musicians performing chamber music by composers influenced by their time in America. On the program was the World Premiere of Syrian-born Kinan Azmeh’s Café Dumas, which was written “to bring the musicians of the Philharmonic closer to [his home] both conceptually and culturally.” 

Thanks to all who attended and performed in New York Stories: Threads of Our City. This exploration will be echoed in the final Young People’s Concert of the season, “Coming to New York — Immigrant Voices,”on May 11, 2019. It will feature music by composers reflecting on the immigrant experience, including Bartók, Huang Ruo, Roberto Sierra, Kareem Roustom, and Gabriela Lena Frank, as well as works by students in the Very Young Composers program. Join us!

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