While the Garden remains temporarily closed, we are happy to still be able to take part in the 14th annual Make Music New York—a festival with more than a thousand virtual performances presented by and for New Yorkers. Make Music New York is a unique festival of free concerts from throughout the five boroughs of New York City, with all performances taking place annually on June 21, the first day of summer and longest day of the year. This year’s celebration features music makers of every level and background, representing our city’s unparalleled creativity, diversity, and perseverance.
In keeping with that spirit, jazz pianist Harold O’Neal joins NYBG for a performance recorded from the Native Plant Garden. Surrounded by water, trees, grasses, and wildflowers native to our area, O’Neal will perform a mix of improvisations as well as variations on this year’s Solstice Singalong Song, “Imagine,” by John Lennon, which was selected by citywide audience vote. Inspired by the sights and sounds of nature, Harold’s music invites us to connect with our emotions and work to create the beauty we imagine in the world.
Pianist, composer, actor, and dancer, Harold O’Neal has performed with U2, appeared in Jay-Z’s “Young Forever” music video, and portrayed a piano-playing hepcat in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He has been featured on MTV, NPR’s All Things Considered, and more, drawing comparisons to Duke Ellington and Maurice Ravel in The New York Times. NYBG most recently collaborated with Harold O’Neal to create an original soundtrack for the Garden’s 2020 Orchid Evenings. His new album, Marvelous Fantasy, composed during the pandemic, calls on listeners not just to cope with solitude, but to create.
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