Buskers Audition to Play Music Underground

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The sounds of accordions and harps rang out in Grand Central Station on Tuesday morning at the annual tryouts for "Music Under New York." The program, run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (M.T.A.), allows Subway buskers to play in key locations underground and use amplification in their busking acts. Approved musicians can also hang official banners alongside their acts while performing.

Some 350 performers are on the MTA's roster of sanctioned performers. Of the 65 individuals and groups who tried out Tuesday morning, about 20 more will be selected to be part of the "Music Under New York" program.

A panel of judges made up of New York arts figures will select the lucky buskers in two weeks. The MTA's program is in its 24th year.

WNYC stopped by the auditions on Tuesday to talk with some buskers-to-be. Here’s what they said:

Erik Heger, Harpist

Matt Dallow, Accordion player

Margarita Tragedy, Pianist and singer

Jenneth Webster, "Music Under New York" Judge


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Comments [4]


Wonderful article

Jun. 03 2011 12:15 AM

I am generally a supporter of both government and the arts, but this program is truly an egregious abuse of the public and its purse.

New York is a LOUD city. Excessive noise is the number one official complaint of residents by far. I don't mean just grumbling in the street - I mean officially calling it in to the authorities. Year after year for at least a decade now this has been so.

The subway system is one of the loudest environments in this loud city. With surfaces of concrete and tile and steel wheel screeching over steel rails, it draws regular warnings from the medical profession concerning hearing loss and psychological impact.

And into this over saturated noise environment, the MTA - a public authority - uses taxpayers own funds to add insult to injury by arranging for amplified music in the subway stations. What an abuse of power by out-of-touch limousine-chauffeured elitists!

Real buskers are all over the subway and they require no electronic amplification.

May. 24 2011 06:56 PM

When asked by friends, family & tourists where to go to hear great music I tell them to go underground ;-)

May. 19 2011 10:24 AM
Saw Lady from Astoria, NY

Great sound clips, Marlon!
It was nice to see you again (glad you recognized me - my head was reeling from all the people I met that day).

May. 18 2011 08:51 PM

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