Jazz Lights up MoMA’s Sculpture Garden

Two free jazz concerts this summer in New York City

Reggie Workman
Don Byron

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The New York City Museum of Modern Art’s Sculpture Garden will once again come alive this summer for the annual free concert series, Summergarden. Presented in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Julliard School, four summer Sunday evenings will be dedicated to live music.

The series runs from July 11 through Aug. 1, with two jazz concerts and two Julliard concerts scheduled. MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden opens at 7 p.m. and the concerts begin an hour later. Admission is free and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Entrance is through the Sculpture Garden gate on West Fifty-Fourth Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Jazz at Lincoln Center has selected two jazz trios to premiere original works for the series, the first of which is TRIO 3, performing on July 18. Playing without founding member Reggie Workman, drummer Andrew Cyrille and alto saxophonist Oliver Lake will be joined by Mark Helias on bass. The group, who take inspiration from ragtime, blues, avant-garde and bebop, will be performing the world premiere of Proximity, written for late trombonist John Bernard Gordon.

On August 1 the Don Byron Ivey-Divey Trio will take the stage to perform NA1, NA2, a piece written by Byron during his recent tenure as a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. The clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophonist will be joined by pianist Jason Moran and Billy Hart on drums for the piece that was inspired by Byron’s study of Bach’s violin sonatas and cello suites.

The Summergarden series began in 1971 and the 2010 edition was organized by Melanie Monios, Assistant Director of Visitor Services at The Museum of Modern Art. The Garden Cart will sell artisanal ice creams and sorbets from The Modern restaurant and homemade sundaes from the MoMA cafés. Various beverages will also available for purchase.

In the event of rain, concerts will be held in the Agnes Gund Garden Lobby, accessed through the museum’s Fifty-Fourth Street entrance. All exhibition galleries are closed during Summergarden. Click here for further information.