On May 9th our 4th grade attended the Young People’s Concert (the same series made famous by Leonard Bernstein) performed by the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. The concert’s theme this year was “Coming to New York — Immigrant Voices,” and featured the works of five composers, four of them living (Béla Bartók [d. 1845], Huang Rao, Robert Sierra, Kareem Roustom and Gabriela Lena Frank), and all of them immigrants to NYC.
The curriculum focused on discovering how their music included elements both of their native lands and the influences they found in America. Huang Ruo, whose distinctive and enthusiastic vocal style singing his piece “Girl from the Da Ban City” on the Philharmonic’s audio tracks had the 4th-graders laughing aloud, was the rock star of the day when he appeared. There were even a 7th-grader and a 9th-grader who had their compositions played by the Philharmonic (lucky them)! The event as always was amazing, with one of the greatest orchestras in the world performing in one of the most acoustically perfect spaces in the world.