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Exploring the past, present and future of music in New York City

"The five Italianate-style structures, located between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, were built in the 1850s. Iconic songs like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “God Bless America” were published in the Alley during the boom of the sheet-music business at the turn of the 20th century. African-American composers coming from the Jim Crow-era South and Jewish composers fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe, “created unprecedented opportunities for themselves as mainstream songwriters and music publishers,” Sarah Moses, an LPC staff member, said during the hearing.

But at the hearing back in April, a representative for Yair Levy, who owns one of the buildings, testified against the designation, arguing that designating the buildings would celebrate a history of bigotry that permeates the music published during this time.

Commissioners rebutted that claim during today’s hearing, arguing that the designation is important to recognize what happened during that era.

“This designation does not celebrate racist imagery found in some of Tin Pan Alley sheet music, but it must acknowledge it and put it in a context of American history,” said Commissioner John Gustaffson. “We are preserving … to avoid people saying things like ‘it wasn’t like that,’ [or] ‘it did not happen.’”...

“Tin Pan Alley forms an indelible part of not only our city’s history, but also national identity,” "

Can’t wait to see this!

Moment NYC - The Museum of Music & Entertainment in New York City shared a link.

Moment NYC - The Museum of Music & Entertainment in New York City

Happy Birthday to Marco Rizo! While perhaps not a household name, Mr Rizo's music was heard in likely every American household at some point from the 1950s-70s and his influence continues to be felt. As pianist and orchestrator for the “I Love Lucy Show” from 1951 to 1957, pianist-arranger for the “Bob Hope Radio Show”, his work with hundreds of top artists, and with inner-city youth his musical prowess and dedication enriched the lives of many. His work was a huge part of synthesizing Cuban traditional music with European classical, jazz, and folklore traditions, influencing many of his contemporaries and generations to come.

Marco studied harmony and composition with Spanish composer Pedro San Juan and was an honor student at the Havana School of Music. In 1940 he immigrated to the US and attended the Juilliard School of Music, with Igor Stravinsky at UCLA.

In his later years he founded the not for profit organization, "The Marco Rizo Latin American Music Project: (AKA SAMPI), presenting Latin American music workshops to students in inner-city neighborhoods under the sponsorship of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Arts Connection. Carrying along all the needed percussion instruments, Mr. Rizo introduced this art form to minority children whose heritage was rooted in the music they were learning to play. Mr. Rizo was known to kids in East Harlem, the South Bronx, Sunset Park, Bushwick, Brooklyn, Corona, Jamaica, Queens and Chinatown and his work spread appreciation for Latin music and culture to students in universities, colleges, high schools, and public schools.

Mr. Rizo was awarded the Silver Medal of the French Academy of Arts, Science and Letters for outstanding achievements in the field of Latin Music. As a pianist, he recorded some 30 albums. He had a light, sure touch, and his playing combined classical technique with the syncopation of the Afro-Cuban tradition and the swing of Jazz.
His own piano and orchestral compositions include “Suite Campesina”, “Ñáñigo”, “Danzas Cubanas”, “José Martí- Sinfonía Cubana”, “Broadway Concerto”, “Suite of the Americas”, “Suite Española”, “Visions of New York”.
Mr. Rizo passed away on September 8th of 1998 in Manhattan.

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This article is from 2015 but shows how the place of music has changed so much. Music is as important as ever but in a world obsessed with market value it needs more philanthropic support than ever.

“Aside from the club’s main vision to unite a happier and healthier community of old folks, for Simon Casson, it is also an attempt to create a crossover between the younger and the older generations. “I think we’ve lost a lot of interaction between the ages, it’s not the type of thing that capitalism encourages.” (The Guardian)”

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The musical history of Needle Park