Unless you walk everywhere, I’m almost certain that you’ve come across a musician or two in the subway. In my quarter-century of existence, I’ve stumbled upon many of them performing on the platforms or mezzanines and up until recently I just assumed that these talented, unappreciated individuals just set up shop and started playing. Boy, was my face red when I found out that the MTA actually give these people a platform to perform (subway platform, but nonetheless a platform).
The MTA has actually been running the Music Under New York program since 1985. They currently have a list of 200 participants, including soloists and groups with up to 150 performances a week. Spread out over 25 locations in the city’s subways—including the LIRR and Metro-North lines—there’s a strong possibility that that group or soloist you see on your way to school or work is a MUNY participant.
Every Spring, MUNY has auditions at the Grand Central Terminal to add new members to the roster. Once performers apply, they’re invited to the public, one-day only audition to perform a five minute set. There, the performer is judged by a panel based on “criteria of quality, variety, and appropriateness for the mass transit environment.” Once selected, the performers attend an orientation and are given they’re own personalized banner that they can display when they’re performing for us, the New York City commuters.
Check out www.mta.info/mta/aft/muny/ for audition times and locations.
Photo Credit: Me