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About 350 musicians and even more spectators gathered on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library on June 21 for the NPR Music-commissioned premiere of Sunny Jain's 100+ BPM. (Polina Yamshchikov for NPR)

What Happens When 350 Musicians Meet For The First Time In Brooklyn?

Jul 2, 2014

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We at NPR Music leave a lot of variables out in the wild when we make Field Recordings. That's especially true when we commission new music for the annual Make Music New York festival, as we have for three years.

Since we're not using a traditional stage and people are roaming around, we don't know exactly what the performance will sound like (though we're lucky to work with fantastic engineering colleagues). It's always held outdoors, and we can't be sure what the weather will be.

And in two of these three years — the first and this one — we've flung the doors open and invited anyone who wanted to perform to come play alongside professionals. Pretty risky, right?

But what we've found, and what is so incredibly gratifying, is that amazingly talented and generous people join in — this year, about 350 of them on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library. With a new piece by Sunny Jain of Red Baraat, the beat and the heart were there already, but the spirit burst to life when all those musicians came out to play.

Credits: Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Saidah Blount, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Audio Engineers: Kevin Wait, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Colin Marshall, Christopher Parks, Maya Sharpe, A.J. Wilhelm, Marina Zarya; Special Thanks: Make Music New York, Brooklyn Public Library, Red Baraat, Mark and Rachel Dibner of the Argus Fund, our many volunteers and all the participating musicians; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

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