The Verdi Square Festival, an annual September series of three free one hour outdoor concerts, has been bringing great music back to New York’s historic Verdi Square Park (Broadway & 72nd Street) since 2006. Conceived of and managed by volunteer Upper West Side music lovers in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the Festival always includes a concert with selections from Verdi Operas. Programs also have included Jazz, American Musical Theater, Klezmer, and Bluegrass.
The Festival originally presented only young artists from New York and Boston Conservatories. The 2016 Season will include musicians from a unique new Jazz group, the New York Jazzharmonic formed by members of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. In 2014 the First Republic Bank joined the Festival in presenting non-musical events at its branch at Broadway & 76th street, designated “Verdi Square North” during the Festival. Poets reading their works at “Verdi Square North 2014” included Gregory Pardlo, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Poetry Prize. In 2015 “Verdi Square North” Art Exhibits included paintings by guards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and sculptures by Cliff Struhl, a Long Island businessman, bee-keeper, and sculptor. The Verdi Square Festival takes pride in presenting works worth seeing and hearing not readily available without cost elsewhere. The Festival has received Media recognition from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NY 1 Television, and others (see Press Page). Mayors of both New York and Parma (Verdi’s birthplace) have saluted the Festival.
The Festival’s modest annual budget covers artists’ fees and expenses, sound equipment rentals, videography, printing and website maintenance. The Department of Parks and Recreation provides concert seating, stage platforms, and manpower for set-up, demobilization, and security. The Festival is entirely volunteer managed. There are no administrative or fund-raising overheads. Tax-deductible personal contributions are the Festival’s sole source of support. Contributions in any amount are gratefully received and may be made by mail.