MTA Press Releases

Press Release
May 30, 2019
IMMEDIATE
33 New Performers Invited to Join MTA’s Music Under New York Program
New Additions Were Chosen from 72 Finalists Who Auditioned Live for Judges & Public

MTA Arts & Design announced today that 33 musical acts have been added to its Music Under New York program (MTA MUSIC) following a highly competitive application process and auditions held earlier in May at Grand Central Terminal.  

The performers were chosen from 72 finalists who were invited to audition live for a panel of judges and the public at the annual MTA MUSIC auditions held on May 21. They each had five minutes to perform for judges scoring them on quality, variety, and appropriateness for the transit environment, among other criteria. For this year’s new class of performers, MTA Arts & Design received 318 applications to join MTA MUSIC.  

“We thank all of our finalists for treating us to an amazing day of auditions, and we’re very excited to introduce the 33 groups and performers who are joining our MTA MUSIC family this year,” said MTA Arts & Design Director Sandra Bloodworth. “We can’t wait for our customers to catch them in the transit system performing under the Music Under New York banner for the first time.”  

MTA Arts & Design typically adds approximately 20 acts each year to the MTA MUSIC roster, which includes more than 350 performers representing a wide variety of musical genres and cultures as diverse as New York City itself. This year’s new performers come from all five boroughs of New York City, as well as surrounding areas such as Nassau and Westchester counties, New Jersey and as far away as Glastonbury, Conn.  

Applications for MTA MUSIC open each year in January with a deadline for completed submissions online in March. Finalists are invited to audition before judges, and performers are chosen based on their scores from the auditions. Once accepted, MTA MUSIC performers are hosted at approximately 30 high-traffic locations throughout the transit network, including MTA subway stations and commuter rail terminals, with schedules revised every two weeks. 

The program, which started as a pilot in 1985, is currently in its 32nd year and is one of the many visual and performing arts programs administered by MTA Arts & Design to enhance the station environment for customers. Classical guitarist Shogo Kubo, who joined MTA MUSIC nearly 15 years ago, performed during the lunch break of this year’s auditions.

As with all performers in the subway system, MTA MUSIC performers must abide by MTA New York City Transit’s Rules of Conduct, which are enforced by the New York Police Department.

This year’s additions to MTA MUSIC are:

Mike Barry 
folk/blues, guitar/harmonica & vocals

 

Benny D         
trombone

 

John Bivona        
folk/rock guitar & vocals

 

Champion Milkshake         
duo, sax & vibraphone

 

Damiyr               
guitar & vocal

 

Dawn Drake & Zapote 
global groove

 

Dingonek Street Band 
brass band

 

DoMo The Jack Of All Trades       
steel pan  

 

Fiddler & The Crossroads          
Cajun bluegrass group 

 

Mylez Gittens      
violin duo

 

Hasta La Zeta             
world music Latin/Caribbean group

 

Ishmael Levi              
reggae/soul Vocals & guitar

 

Jake Kulak & The Low Down      
blues/rock trio          

 

Justin & Aiyana           
pop/gospel vocal duo

 

Kazoo 365 
vocals & guitar

 

Kokugonza Mugarula       
guitar & vocals

 

Letting Vallenato                         
Colombian music group  

 

Ness Dove                                
Singer-songwriter & guitar  

 

Olivia K                   
soul/pop guitar & vocals

 

Cameron Orr  
violin & keyboard

 

Kei Otaki                                      
cello

 

Emma Park-Hazel                      
pop vocalist

 

Qenu            
violinist

 

Troy Ramey         
vocals & guitar

 

Roxie Reese
R&B Vocalist

 

Gilberto Rivera      
pop/R&B vocalist

 

Orlando Sanchez Soto       
jazz sax         

 

Strangers      
vocal duo

 

The Clubs    
jazz/funk group & vocals

 

The Pan-American Duo   
Latin jazz, flute & guitar  

 

Troy Weekes Music 
R&B vocalist

 

Walker Adams
funk/jazz duo, drums & sax

 

Morgan Weidinger          
violin/guitar/vocal

 
 

About Music Under New York (MTA MUSIC)
Through Music Under New York, more than 350 individual performers and ensembles participate in more than 7,500 performances in approximately 30 locations throughout the transit system annually. A variety of performers entertain the public, such as classical strings, jazz ensembles, world music bands, folk, a cappella groups, singer-songwriters and more, playing instruments ranging from Gambian kora, Korean drum, West Indian steel drums, Andean pipes, cello, Celtic and baroque harps to guitars, violins, hammered dulcimers and musical saws.

 

About MTA Arts & Design
MTA Arts & Design encourages the use of mass transit in the metropolitan New York area by providing visual and performing arts in the transit environment. The MTA Percent for Art program is one of the largest and most diverse collections of public art in the world, with close to 300 commissioned works by well-known, mid-career and emerging artists including Jacob Lawrence, Nancy Spero, Romare Bearden, Milton Glaser, Xenobia Bailey, Elizabeth Murray, Roy Lichtenstein, Shinique Smith, Al Held, Duke Riley, Faith Ringgold, Vik Muniz, Sarah Sze, Mickalene Thomas, Rico Gatson, Derek Fordjour, Firelei Baez and Diana Al-Hadid. Arts & Design produces award-winning graphic and digital art, photography installations, live musical performances, the Poetry in Motion program and other special events. It serves more than 2.6 billion people who ride MTA subways and trains each year and strives to create meaningful connections between sites, neighborhoods, and people. To learn more, visit mta.info/art or follow on Twitter at @MTAArtsDesign.