Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate, Savannah Music Fest '09 (Savannah Grandfather)
Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate

Celebrating its twentieth anniversary, City Parks Foundation is pleased to announce the 2009 season schedule of its flagship free performing arts festival, Central Park SummerStage. Internationally acclaimed for presenting world-renowned and emerging talent from around the globe and New York City's own backyard, the Central Park SummerStage season promises to be as electrifying as ever with a calendar chock-full of culturally diverse programs in multiple disciplines including music, dance, word, film, and comedy.

The 2009 Central Park SummerStage season is marked by innovative collaborations and will open on Friday, June 12 at 8:00 PM with a performance by the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Josh Ritter and his band for the evening, The New York Pops.

City Parks Foundation also welcomes The Metropolitan Opera for the first time ever to Central Park SummerStage as The Met launches its free Summer Recital Series of outdoor concerts in neighborhood parks on Monday, July 13 at 8:00 PM with a special performance of opera arias and popular songs headlined by the Tony Award-winning baritone Paulo Szot and featuring Lisette Oropesa (soprano), Alek Shrader (tenor), and Vlad Iftinca (piano).

Central Park Summerstage will host 31 free programs this summer. Musical highlights include M Ward, Josh Ritter, Juana Molina, Q-Tip, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Bettye Lavette, Béla Fleck and Toumani Diabaté. The whole schedule is below...

Friday, June 12, 8pm - Josh Ritter and The New York Pops

Saturday, June 13, 3pm - Smokie Norful, Tye Tribbett & G.A. & Ruben Studdard

Wednesday, June 17, 7:30pm - Wally Lamb & Zoë Heller (reading)

Thursday June 18, 7:30pm - Sharon Olds & Thomas Sayers Ellis

Friday, June 19, 8pm - Comedy Central Park w/ Gabriel Iglesias & Pablo Francisco

Saturday, June 20, 3pm - Definitely Poetry Hosted by Majora Carter
Earthdriver, Staceyann Chin, Jennifer Johns, Artbattles, Urban Word NYC

Join urban green pioneer Majora Carter and friends in celebration of our planet through innovative and powerful spoken word artists, musicians, and visual art

Sunday, June 21, 3pm - Fête de la Musique, Yannick Noah, Coralie Clément & Mayra Andrade

Saturday, June 27, 3pm - Istanbulive: The Sounds & Colors of Turkey
Mazhar-Fuat-Özkan w/ Painted on Water featuring Sertab Erener & Demir Demirkan & NY Gypsy All-Stars with Hüsnü ?enlendirici and special guests

Istanbulive: The Sounds & Colors of Turkey is an unprecedented event aimed at introducing Turkish music to the popular American consciousness. The event marks the first time Central Park SummerStage has presented a day devoted to the culture of Turkey. The afternoon festivities will feature major Turkish artists including Mazhar-Fuat-Özkan, a.k.a. MFÖ (pop music), Painted on Water featuring Sertab Erener & Demir Demirkan (jazz/folk/rock) and Hüsnü ?enlendirici (gypsy music). The program celebrates the colorful Turkish culture with food, art, and visuals, while underlining the musical richness of Istanbul and the extraordinary virtuosity and diversity of Turkish music today.

Sunday, June 28, 3pm - Ledisi / Esperanza Spalding, Jonathan Batiste (Two leading ladies of jazz unite in this dynamic co-bill.)

Sunday, July 5, 3pm - Oumou Sangare, Les Nubians, A?a

Wednesday, July 8, 7pm - Juana Molina, Curumin & El G (ZZK)

Saturday, July 11, 3pm - Los Fabulosos Cadillacs & Eric Bobo

Sunday, July 12, 3pm - Family Day! w/ DJ Lance Rock & Brobee (of Yo Gabba Gabba!), Surprise Guest TBA, Iza Trapani & Sleeping Beauty puppet show

Monday, July 13, 8pm - The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Featuring Paulo Szot

The Metropolitan Opera launches its free Summer Recital Series with a special performance of opera arias and popular songs headlined by the Tony Award-winning baritone Paulo Szot and featuring Lisette Oropesa (soprano), Alek Shrader (tenor), and Vlad Iftinca (piano).

Saturday, July 18 - Q-Tip, Chester French, Little Dragon & Benji B

Sunday, July 19, 3pm - Alpha Blondy & The Solar System , Lee "Scratch" Perry & Dubblestandart, and Subatomic Sound System

Friday, July 24, 7pm - Bettye Lavette, Budos Band & Felix Hernandez Rhythm Revue

Saturday, July 25, 3pm - Jerry Rivera and special guests & N'Klabe

Sunday, July 26, 3pm - Ginuwine, Joe & Chico DeBarge

Friday, July 31, 8pm - Dance w/ RIOULT & Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Expressions

Saturday, August 1 - M. Ward & Mike Watt & Nels Cline +

Sunday, August 2, 7pm - CineFest Brasil w/ If I Were You 2 (Se eu fosse você 2) directed by Daniel Filho & Silvia Machete

Monday, August 3, 8pm - Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabaté

Wednesday, August 5, 7pm - I Am Cuba directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and The Pedrito Martinez Project

Thursday, August 6, 7:30pm - Asbury Shorts: An Evening of the World's Best Short Films & Mingus Dynasty Quintet

Asbury Shorts, New York City's longest running exhibition of award-winning independent short films presents "An Evening of the World's Best Short Films," featuring live music, celebrity guests, and noteworthy, festival award-winning short films compiled over the past ten years. Films to be featured include: Super Powers - Best Short Film, 2007 Tribeca Film Festival; Yours Truly - voted best animated short film at over five international festivals; Gulp - Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner; Tanghi Argentini - Audience Prize, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival; plus other classic shorts.

Friday, August 7, 8pm - Dance w/ Dayton Contemporary Dance Company & nathantrice/RITUALS dance theater

Saturday, August 8, 3pm - Boys Noize

Sunday, August 9, 3pm - Jazmine Sullivan, Chrisette Michele & Jon B

Friday, August 14th and Saturday, August 15th, 8pm - Dance w/ Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company with musical guest Martha Wainwright

A very special evening of dance and music that will feature a world-premiere by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, set to new music by Martha Wainwright, both commissioned by City Parks Foundation.

Sunday, August 16, 3pm - TBA


For more information on the above schedule, check

The NY Philharmonic is also having a free concert on The Great Lawn in Central Park on July 14th.

Not all shows in Central Park are free. TV on the Radio (sold out), Indigo Girls, Explosions in the Sky/Constantines, and Matisyahu/Umphrey's McGee are on sale at Ticketmaster.

We're still waiting for the full Celebrate Brooklyn Prospect Park summer schedule, but we already know it kicks off with a David Byrne show and includes a Dr. Dog and Phosphorescent concert.


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