Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Water Music NY, a seven-day event with the Albany Symphony spanning the length of the Erie Canal to celebrate the canal’s bicentennial. The Albany Symphony will perform seven world premieres from July 2 to July 8 in a unique cross-regional experience that will highlight vibrant communities, emerging artistic talent and the power of the arts.
“In commemorating the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, we honor those who helped construct the canal and the many communities it traverses,” Governor Cuomo said. “This summer, New Yorkers and visitors can celebrate the canal’s 200th anniversary with performances by the Albany Symphony while immersing themselves in the culture and history of the canal from Albany to Lockport.”
The free concerts will be performed aboard a barge or canal-side and feature never-before-heard works from emerging composers. Each of these seven composers has spent time in their host community, collaborating with local artists and residents to understand the town’s unique connection to the canal. Additionally, the Albany Symphony and the New York State Canal Corporation will work closely with residents to present celebrations of each community’s cultural resources, food, beverages and activities to best highlight the products and tourism opportunities along the canal route.
The Water Music NY concert series is supported by a nearly $300,000 Market NY grant from Empire State Development’s Division of Tourism, which was recommended by the Capital Region Economic Development Council. The Albany Symphony also worked closely with the New York State Council on the Arts.
The Erie Canal Bicentennial falls on the tricentennial of George Frideric Handel’s “Water Music,” an orchestral work first performed on London’s River Thames. In recognition of this seminal moment in music history, the Albany Symphony will perform selections from “Water Music” every night of the concert series, in addition to the original compositions and American favorites.
David Alan Miller, Music Director of the Albany Symphony, said, “Through unique collaborations of musicians, composers, and communities, Water Music NY will be a powerful celebration of New York State, the Erie Canal, and the vibrant communities along it. The bicentennial of the Canal offers us the opportunity to shine a light on these magnificent communities through the creation of new art which celebrates the richness of our shared history.”
Marisa Eisemann, MD, Chair of the Albany Symphony Board of Directors, said, “Albany Symphony is honored to join our community partners in this unique and creative celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial and the rich cultural offerings of New York State. This is an amazing example of the impact the arts and the creative economy have in energizing communities and engaging people in new ways.”
The Water Music NY concert schedule is as follows:
Sunday, July 2 at 8:00 p.m.: Albany
Corning Preserve/Jennings Landing Amphitheatre
Composer Daniel Schlosberg (Yale University)
Collaborating Arts Partner: Empire State Youth Orchestra’s Jazz Ensemble and Skidmore College Storytellers’ Institute
Monday, July 3 at 8:00 p.m.: Schenectady
Mabee Farm Historic Site
Composer: Annika Socolofsky (Princeton University)
Collaborating Arts Partner: Capital Repertory Theatre
Additional performances by the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra
Tuesday, July 4 at 8:00 p.m.: Amsterdam
Composer: Angelica Negrón (The City College of New York)
Collaborating Arts Partner: Mohawk Valley Chorus
Wednesday, July 5 at 8:00 p.m.: Little Falls
Rotary Park – Barge Performance
Composer: Benjamin Wallace (Yale University)
Collaborating Arts Partner: Mohawk Valley Choral Society
Thursday, July 6 at 8:00 pm: Baldwinsville
Paper Mill Island Amphitheatre
Composer: Ryan Chase (Colgate University)
Collaborating Arts Partner: Syracuse Pops Chorus
Friday, July 7 at 8:00 p.m.: Brockport
Welcome Center – Barge Performance
Composer: Loren Loiacono (Cornell University)
Collaborating Arts Partner: Golden Eagle String Band
Additional performances by choreographers/dancers Eddie Murphy and
Saturday, July 8 at 8:00 p.m.: Lockport
Historic “Flight of Five Locks” – Barge Performance
Composer: David Mallamud
Empire State Development Executive Director of Tourism Gavin Landry said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo, tourism in New York State is generating its biggest impact ever and employing nearly one million New Yorkers. Investments and support for Market NY projects, like Water Music NY, bring more visitors into our communities, boosting tax revenues and spending at local businesses. I encourage everyone to book a trip to experience one of these unique concerts this summer and join Upstate New York as it celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal.”
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “I can’t think of a more natural way of celebrating the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal than by bringing the music and majesty of the Albany Symphony Orchestra directly to our canal communities through this tour. From Albany to (almost) Buffalo, thousands of people along the Erie Canal will get to experience up close the audacious and innovative programs that have long been an ASO hallmark.”
NYSCA Executive Director Mara Manus said, “The New York State Council on the Arts congratulates the Albany Symphony Orchestra on the launch of Water Music New York. We are proud to support these immersive artistic experiences which honor our state history, promote the work of emerging composers, and involve local arts groups in creating an imaginative, communal celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial.”
Mike Keegan, M&T Bank Area Executive, said, “The Water Music New York program unites our state’s legacy with its world-class artists and musicians in a unique way that will surely be a memorable commemoration of the Erie Canal’s Bicentennial Celebration. As a longtime supporter of the arts in the communities we serve, M&T was eager to support the Albany Symphony as it embarks on its musical journey across Upstate along the canal.”
About the Albany Symphony Orchestra
The Albany Symphony fulfills its mission by performing, commissioning, and recording the work of established and emerging American composers. Founded in 1930, the Symphony is privileged to serve a diverse regional audience covering more than seven counties of New York and parts of three states. Annual programming includes a nine-concert Classics Series with performances throughout New York’s Capital Region, each featuring a recent or world-premiere composition by a living composer; the annual American Music Festival, the capstone multi-day celebration of new music, including a performance by the new music ensemble Dogs of Desire; a Family Series with costumed cast which inspire new generations of symphony patrons; and holiday and pops concerts, in collaboration with area youth performing arts groups. Flagship education programs Adopt-a-School and Meet the Maestro bring musicians into classrooms for interactive music education, and Literacy-through-Songwriting, an in-school composer residency program, works with students on songwriting, storytelling, improvisation, teamwork and self-expression.
The last decade has been a time of dramatic growth and success for the orchestra. The Albany Symphony has received more ASCAP Awards than any other orchestra in America, including the John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music in 2013 and 2014. The orchestra’s commitment to recording has led to two GRAMMY® nominations and a 2014 GRAMMY® Award for its recording of John Corigliano’s “Conjurer.” The Albany Symphony was the only orchestra that performed twice by invitation in the Spring for Music festivals at Carnegie Hall, and in June 2016, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Washington Performing Arts announced that the Albany Symphony has been selected to participate in the April 2018 “SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras,” a week-long spotlight on the most dynamic North American orchestras.