The Brooklyn Philharmonic, a 154-year-old institution that had recently fallen on hard times, is revitalizing itself this season throughout several “artistically under-served” neighborhoods, including Brighton Beach.
Under the leadership of new Artistic Director Alan Pierson, the orchestra is making the best of a bad situation – it has lacked a permanent venue since its residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music ended in 2005 – by establishing itself throughout the borough, aiming to provide music tailored to each community it performs in. In Brighton Beach, Soviet culture and musical history will be woven into classes and concerts conducted largely in Russian.
The Brooklyn Phil’s first preview performance of the season – the first-ever under Pierson – was held in Bedford-Stuyvesant this June, and featured hip-hop songs by Bed-Stuy native Mos Def, who dedicated the performance to Troy Davis, the accused murderer who was recently executed amid heavy controversy in Georgia. It was in keeping with Pierson’s vision for the revitalized orchestra, whose work he hopes will draw strong connections to current events and to his audiences’ experiences. The program earned a rave review in the New York Times.
The season will continue with three performances – an orchestra concert, a chamber performance, and a community program – each in Brighton Beach, Bed-Stuy, and downtown Brooklyn. The Brighton Beach series begins with the community program – a free Cartooning & Music Making workshop for families, featuring a quartet performing children’s songs – the morning of October 30 at the Shorefront Y. That evening, the chamber orchestra will perform Dolatov’s Days in NY: A Life is Too Short, a program featuring prose, visual art, and a photo exhibit, focusing on the life and work of iconic Soviet writer Sergei Dovlatov. The Brighton Beach trilogy will conclude on November 3 with the Brooklyn Phil’s first full orchestra concert of the season, Russian Cartoon Music, “an entertaining and wholly original concert experience” featuring Russian actors voicing Soviet-era cartoon characters and an award-winning new Russian cartoon, Only Love.
Here’s the full schedule for Brighton Beach:
Family Workshop – Cartooning & Music Making
Sunday, October 30 – 10 a.m.
3300 Coney Island Avenue
Chamber Concert – Dolatov’s Days in NY: A Life is Too Short
Sunday, October 30 – 5 p.m.
3300 Coney Island Avenue
Full Orchestra Concert - Russian Cartoon Music
Thursday, November 3 – 7:30 p.m.
1029 Brighton Beach Avenue
– By Katie McNish