Music Under New York Audition 2011

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May 19, 2011
By Posted in busking | 2 Comments »

Every year subway musicians who are members of Music Under New York help with the annual audition for musicians who wish to play in the subway under the Music Under New York umbrella.
While it is legal for any musician to perform in the NYC subway, many musicians find it easier and helpful to have a schedule card from Music Under New York.

Music Under New York audition

I enjoy working at the Music Under New York audition, because I like meeting the musicians who aspire to play in the subway. Many of them I have already seen playing in the subway, and it’s nice to see them again.

This year about 250 musicians applied to Music Under New York. A panel of judges went through their applications and listened to the CDs they sent. 68 of these musicians advanced to the final stage of the audition – auditioning live at Grand Central Terminal.

The amazing line-up of talent aspiring to play in the subway this year was:

Jeronimo Hernandez – Gospel
Threeds – oboe trio
Johnny Jackpot – sings and plays banjo while tap dancing.
Metropolitones – 4 ladies singing a capella
Honey Rums – pop sould duo
Shigemasa – opera singer who plays guitar
Jennie Walker – pop singer
Eric Reimers – guitar player who plays classical & traditional Argentinean music
Susan Keser – whose been playing classical violin in the subway on weekends, by the mosaics at Times Square
Harold Allen – a country singer/songwriter who’s been playing in the subway for 6 months
Melissa Kaplan – a jazz & pop singer/songwriter who has played in the Boston subway.

Please turn off the player on the right-hand side column before playing this video:

Meta Joy Epstein – a harpist who plays in the subway and Central Park. Her husband was in the first batch of musicians who joined Music Under New York 25 years ago. He now plays dulcimer in the subway as a freelancer. Whenever I see a harpist in the subway I am always reminded of Daphne Helman, who played her harp in the subway as part of Music Under New York years ago. Sadly, she passed away.

Keiso Ishibashi played his mandolin in the subway once before the audition. I am puzzled why more musicians don’t try playing in the subway on their own before bothering to audition for it. I have seen many musicians who got into Music Under New York, then played in the subway only to realize it is not what they imagined it would be like, and they never played in the subway again.

Dan Brody – a capella singer
Canue – Latin American & blues fusion trio
Lindsay Dragan – singer/songwriter who plays guitar
No Future – Hip Hop artist who has been rapping for 6 years
Ron Service – saxophone

muny audition

Starnes & Shah – four people (singer, 2 guitars and drummer) folk rock band
Timothy Garrigan – guitar & harmonica
Istanza – better known as Anja Ghielli from Italy, has been playing Turkish folk music inspired guitar improvisation in the subway for a while.
Margarita Tragedy – singer/songwriter who plays keyboard
Matt Dallow – accordion player who has been playing in the subway for a while
Fish Altieri – guitar & vocals
Musical Prophets – a duo guitar & vocals
Novus Cantus – two brothers (really) playing percussion and vocals
Lost Wandering Blues & Jazz Band – 3 people swing band

MUNY audition

After the lunch break:
Tony Styles – guitar & vocals
Erik Heger – plays harp in the subway
Eric Lee – traditional Celtic violin
The Connections – Motown, R&B duo – the singer has been singing in the subway for many years
Tricia Douglas – pop and R&B singer
Mahlon Hoard – saxophone
Marcella Louise Adame – opera singer
Mike Lunapiena – cellist who plays in the subway
Christopher Worth – singer
Brazilian Quarter – 6 piece band playing Brazilian/New Orleans music
Gene Robinson – R&B singer
David Spectra – blues singer
Rainy Day Assembly – Indie-pop singer/songwriter
Thalys Peterson – Brazilian guitarist who has been playing in the subway for a few years
Naomi Frank –
Appalachian dulcimer
Key Appleseeds – singer who plays harmonica and guitar for a few years in the subway
Metro Brass Quintet – classical, pop and jazz
Arlette Beauchamps – singer
Tara Hack – pop & rock singer
Tom Larsen – blues singer who plays guitar
Aria – operatic eclectic duo
Matt Vorzimer: eCussionist – had a lot of percussion equipment, including electronic panels
Samuel Saffery – folk, old country and pop singer who plays guitar
YG and the XYZ’s – 6 piece group of guitars, vocals and percussion
Jay Legaspi – singer/songwriter

MUNY audition

Joseph da Fonseca – classical singer
Kyndra – jazz & soul singer
The Body Electric – 6 piece Afro beat jazz band
Josif Faerman – Russian singer
Lachi – vocal & guitar trio

On my way home I saw Josif singing by the Shuttle train. I told him that I am very happy to see that he is performing in the subway and that even if he should happen to not be one of the musicians who pass the audition he should continue to perform in the subway anyway.
Myself – I played in the subway for a few years as a freelancer before I auditioned for Music Under New York. If I could go back and live my life all over again – I would do it exactly the same way.


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2 Responses to Music Under New York Audition 2011

  1. Ryan on May 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Natalia,

    My brother is in town this weekend and we wanted to set up a quick jam session. I play bass, he plays drums, but he would use buckets for this little excursion.

    I was wondering if there were many power outlets in the subway, particularly Union Square Station.

    Also, etiquette? If I find a spot that’s free, can we play there for a couple of hours just for the day?

    I appreciate your input, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.



  2. Ryan on May 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Natalia,

    Thanks for your quick reply! That is all extremely helpful information.

    One more quick question: what do people use to power their equipment without outlets?

    Thanks again!


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