Music Under New York
Facts About the Program
At present, more than 350 individuals and ensembles participate in the Music Under New York (MUNY) program, providing over 7,500 annual performances at approximately 30 locations throughout the transit system. A variety of performances are presented in New York’s underground such as classical strings, jazz ensembles, blues bands, doo wop and steppers. Musicians often play interesting instruments including the Sengalese kora, Andean pipes, Korean drums, Aboriginal didjeridoo, steel drums, Cajun cello, Flamenco guitar, Gypsy violin, and Chinese dulcimer and pipa while divas sing songs of rhythm and blues, opera, pop, American and Haitian folk and other types, among the many, diverse acts performed 365 days a year.
MUNY, one of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts for Transit’s visual and performing arts programs, whose purpose is to increase the attractiveness of transit facilities for customers. Initiated as a pilot program in 1985, MUNY became official in January 1987 garnering great enthusiasm from the commuting public.
How the Program Works
Every year, the annual auditions are held in Grand Central Terminal to review and add new performers to the MUNY roster. In an effort to appeal to all, MUNY seeks musicians who reflect the culture and diversity of the people of New York City. All performers are welcome to apply for the audition. Audition application forms are available at the beginning of the year. Eligible performers are contacted and invited to perform at the auditions, which are held live, one-day only, and open to public. A panel of professionals, consisting of representatives from the music industry, cultural institutions, MTA station operations, fellow musicians and others, judge each of the five minute performances based on the criteria of quality, variety, and appropriateness for the mass transit environment.
After the auditions, the selected performers attend an orientation meeting to receive information explaining the procedures of the program and the regulations of the transit system, especially relating to passenger safety and comfort. As a member of MUNY, performers receive personalized MUNY banners to display during scheduled MUNY performance at the 30 designated MUNY sites. MUNY sites are busy, highly visible locations in the subway and commuter rail stations including Long Island Rail Road Penn Station and Metro-North Grand Central Terminal.
Throughout the year for the public, MUNY presents special events in the transit system with such themes as Blues Festival, Divas Underground, Summer Solstice, Jazz Festival, etc.
For Additional Information
Musicians, please contact: Tim Higginbotham, Schedule Coordinator, Music Under New York at (212) 878-4678
Program information, please contact: Lydia Bradshaw, Manager, MTA Arts for Transit and Music Under New York at (212) 878-7225
- Google Translate