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Water Music NY will celebrate canal bicentennial

Water Music NY will celebrate canal bicentennial

Albany Symphony to perform at 7 stops
Water Music NY will celebrate canal bicentennial
Riverlink Park in Amsterdam will host one of the Water Music NY stops.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

ALBANY — Seven world premieres to be unveiled over seven nights in communities along the Erie Canal will be part of the state’s Erie Canal Bicentennial Celebration, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Friday.

The Albany Symphony will perform from July 2 to July 8 in Water Music NY, 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,” 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 Schenectady stop on July 3 at Mabee Farm Historic Site will feature additional performances by the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra and a collaboration with Capital Repertory Theatre.

The Amsterdam stop one night later at Riverlink Park will feature a collaboration with the Mohawk Valley Chorus.

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.

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.”

The Water Music NY concert schedule involving local cities is as follows: 

Sunday, July 2, at 8 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 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 p.m.: Amsterdam
Riverlink Park
Composer: Angelica Negrón (The City College of New York)
Collaborating Arts Partner: Mohawk Valley Chorus

Wednesday, July 5, at 8 p.m.: Little Falls
Rotary Park – Barge Performance
Composer: Benjamin Wallace (Yale University)            
Collaborating Arts Partner: Mohawk Valley Choral Society

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.”

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