Ferry Culture

FANFARE FOR AN EAST RIVER GEM

5 Reasons Why You Should Go a Concert at Bargemusic (Think Date Bait)

By NICOLE FISHER
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Now here’s a slice of the Fulton Ferry landing that Mozart in the Jungle’s eccentric composer, Rodrigo de Souza, would love: Bargemusic. The 40-year old chamber music performance space, which has floated under the Brooklyn Bridge since 1976, looks like a party boat, but with stringed instruments. And like de Souza, who gives a break to a wannabe oboist in Mozart, Bargemusic artistic director Mark Peskanov is known for championing fledgling musicians. Okay, Peskanov has actually never seen Mozart in the Jungle, but he clearly empathizes with classical players and composers. “Careers have ups and downs,” says Peskanov. “It is important to keep in perspective what music is for. I believe when it’s all said and done that music is a form of healing. I am very grateful to be a musician.”

This coming weekend Bargemusic is staging its 10th annual Labor Day Festival, which will feature eight world premieres and incorporate sounds from Argentina to Japan, from electronic music to jazz. It’s a great chance to experience the vision of Bargemusic founder, Olga Bloom, a violinist and East River pioneer who recognized the magic of an abandoned waterfront. UrbanCoast.nyc’s top five reasons to make the trip.

  1. Number five is the most obvious: location, location, location. Sitting on the barge with a panorama of downtown Manhattan is pretty darn hard to beat. When Bloom (who died in 2011) had the idea for Bargemusic, there was no way to even get close to the water, says Peskanov. “There wasn’t even a pier. There were chains and locks.” Now, you get your views and your Vivaldi. Think: date bait.
  1. Four, also obvious. There’s some fantastic music here, to the tune of more than 200 concerts a year. Be transported, leave your smartphone on mute and don’t think about snacks.  “Two-feet around us you can get any kind of drinks any kind of food,” says Peskanov.  “What we do on the Barge is we are the music worshiper place.”
  1. A concert on Bargemusic is a little like stepping back in time. The 102-foot steel barge, completed in 1899, was originally used to deliver sacks of coffee in the New York harbor.  Bloom in fact chose this spot while traveling on a tugboat. The captain told her, “‘I think that’s a good place,’” and they put the ropes here,” says Peskanov.  She wanted music to be “a part of everyday life” in the neighborhood.
  1. Don’t worry if you need a classical primer. Bargemusic has you covered.  “Music in Motion” is the event to attend – and it’s free every Saturday at 4 P.M. Seats for the one-hour program are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, so come early.  Performers are announced just before the show, and you can stick around for a post-show Q&A with the musicians.
  1. The number one reason to come to Bargemusic? It’s where the East River rebirth started. “Barge is the love glue,” says Peskanov. Brooklyn Bridge Park and the neighborhood wouldn’t “feel right without it. It connects everything. It’s amazing.”

To check out the Labor Day Festival and other upcoming concerts, click here. Tickets can be purchased online. General tickets cost $35 and $40-45 for special productions. For full-time students, tickets are $15 ($20-$25 for special shows) with a valid photo school ID.

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Looking for more things to do around the East River? UrbanCoast.nyc

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