A New York Icon: The Bandshell Naumburg Orchestral Concert

Ecco Orchestra


Hello music lovers, today I have the great pleasure to host in my website “The Naumburg Orchestral Concert” from NYC.


I was immediatly fascinated by the history beyond the BandShell as one for the most beautiful New York Icon.

I contact the Naumburg over the web, on Instagram, and I asked them some questions about the Foundation and some new project. I would like to thanks Mr. Christopher London for his willingness and kindness.

Let’s start with the history of the Bandshell, the amazing construction located in Central Park.


The outstanding Bandshell was made by Elkan Naumburg (1835–1924) a New York City, banker, philanthropist and musicologist best remembered for his sponsorship of the arts in Manhattan.


One hundred years ago, in 1905, Elkan Naumburg saw the need of presenting free symphonic concerts in Central Park. As a result, the concerts that bear his name have been performed there almost without interruption ever since. In 1924 the New York Times wrote:

Mr. Naumburg was the first, and for many years the only patron of music to give free concerts in the Parks to the people of New York, defraying all the expense and supervising all the details, including the selection of programs and soloists.

Originally the concerts did not have a board of trustees, Elkan just underwrote the costs. Initially, and for many years, concerts were principally provided on national holidays. By 1916, the New York Times began to describe the events as Naumburg Concerts. In 1922, a board was formed to run the concerts.

Tellingly, its name was the People’s Music Foundation. However, in 1958, the current title of Naumburg Orchestral Concerts was settled upon. Worries about its communist sounding name, generated by the concert’s legal counsel, long-standing board member and family friend Peter H. Weil, may have encouraged the change. Or, as a letter of January 1959 from Walter W. Naumburg states, it was merely the result of now having seven Naumburg family members on the Concerts board. In any case, after 1924, Elkan’s memory was always specifically honored in the concert program’s musical choices and notes. Each year’s series also marked his death date with a special concert. In more recent times this custom has been abandoned, along with a change to mostly weekday concerts.

The Knights A violinist silhouetted against the Naumburg Bandshell at this orchestra’s outdoor concert, broadcast live on WQXR from Central Park on Tuesday evening. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times

The Knights A violinist silhouetted against the Naumburg Bandshell at this orchestra’s outdoor concert, broadcast live on WQXR from Central Park on Tuesday evening. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times


Let’s start with the interiview with Dr. London


When and where “Naumburg Orchestral Concerts” started. I’m really fascinated about the history of the family, and especially about the founder Mr. Elkan Naumburg. Would you like to tell something more about this incredible journey?


I think you might wish to look at this link – which connects you to our 100th Anniversary History Booklet on the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts.  It was published in 2005.  The concerts began in 1905.


If you download this Booklet – it will answer many of the questions you ask.


During the Naumburg Orchestra’s history you hosted most of the major musicians all over the world ( conductors, pianists, violinists, singers…) and I would like to ask you if there is an event in particular, something ( ex. a concert)  in which you are particularly fond of, or an anecdote, which concerns a concert or an artist that moved your soul.


I have been running the concerts for 24 years now – the 100th anniversary was a very big year for us –

I was particularly moved by the twins Christina & Michelle Naughton – identical twin sisters, when they performed a few years ago – 2014- – a piano duo – as when they were interviewed by WQXR they really seemed so linked to one another, that they seemed finish each others sentences when they were interviewed.

Their performance was equally tight and connected.


I follow the Naumburg on Social Media and I discover a lot of events! So, would you like to tell to our readers what’s next in the beautiful frame of the Bandshell in Central Park this season?


Our next concert is 2 August 2016, and we shall have ECCO perform that evening – with a new composition by Pierre Jalbert – written for them – on the program.


I saw a news on the New York Times that talks about a fundraising for Central Park and for the Bandshell too ( correct me if I’m wrong) and I just wondering if is possible to support the cause and where.

Yes, the Central Park Conservancy is having another Fund Raising Campaign, and now people can restrict their gifts to be directed to the ‘restoration of the Naumburg Bandshell’ – specifically – if they wish.  They would need to write that on their donation submission form.  Its restoration will be included in this larger campaign’s efforts.


Here the great inscription directly form NYC by Dr. Christoper W.London Naumburg


Inscription for www.alida-altemburg.com

If you visit the Big Apple, don’t forget to take a look on Naumburg Orchestral Concert in Central Park!

The Naumburg Orchestral Concerts are performed at the Naumburg Bandshell, which is located in Central Park just south of the Bethesda Terrace between 66th and 72nd streets. You can enter the park at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street and follow Terrace Drive to the Bethesda Terrace and turn left or enter the park at Central Park West and 72nd Street and follow Terrace Drive to Bethesda Terrace and turn right.

Here you can find some interesting links:


Official Site: www.naumburgconcerts.org

Instagram: www.instagram.com/naumburgconcerts/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/naumburgconcerts/?fref=ts

Twitter: twitter.com/Naumburgconcert

You can also support the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts here: http://naumburgconcerts.org/support/