If you have never been to one of the People’s Symphony Concerts at Washington Irving High School, a New York icon, it’s time you did. Originally designed for students and workers in 1900, many of our friends and relatives have attended for decades. Today, it’s still fulfilling its function. (sidewaysnyc)
The best of the best perform here–Garrick Ohlsson, Christian Tetzlaff, the Juilliard String Quartet, Yefim Bronfman and many others–taking a low fee to participate. And everyone is grateful–the auditorium of the famed Washington Irving High School was filled up on Saturday night.
Here’s the best part–the concerts cost $42 per set of 6-concert series tickets for the Saturday evening Mann Series and the Saturday evening Arens Series at the High School for general admission. You need to get there early to get a good seat.
Ok–the “no-frills” part. The seats are regulation wooden student seating–shaped and not too uncomfortable, and there is no air-conditioning, normally not a problem as these two series end in late April or early May. I won’t lie to you–it was hot on Saturday night.
If you want to take a splurge, try the Salomon Series in Town Hall on Sunday afternoon–again $42 per set of six concerts or $67 for reserved seating. You do get air conditioning and plush seats. Individual concert tickets are also available but to get the stars, you need to take series and why not?
(thetownhall.org) Either way, this has to be the best concert bargain in New York for top quality performances. Billed as “Affordable concerts for New Yorkers on a budget since 1900,” and who isn’t, support comes from the Alexander Schneider Foundation and loyal loving fans who remember the Series in their wills.
Saturday night we heard the Quatuor Danel (pscny.org) play Mendelssohn’s Quartet #6 in F minor, reminding us fondly of the much-loved Guarneri, and Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Quartet #3 in D minor. The almost forgotten Jewish composer hounded out of Poland during the war is a specialty of this group. He sounds a lot like Shostakovich and indeed owed his life to the Russian composer who protected him from the Nazis.
A note on the former Washington Irving High School, the building at 40 Irving Place,”now houses the Gramercy Arts High School, the High School for Language and Diplomacy (established 2009), the International High School at Union Square (established 2010), the Union Square Academy for Health Sciences (established 2012), and the Academy for Software Engineering (established 2012)—and the Success Academy Charter School. ” (Wiki) Still suffering from a fire, the school is being fixed up and you may have a bit of trouble finding the address under the scaffolding. Its auditorium and beautiful murals remain intact. Skirmish between Dutch Settlers and Indians by Barry Faulkner