Tonight: Classical Musicians in NYC Pay Tribute to Eric Garner, Others Murdered By Police

By Sameer Rao Jul 17, 2015

In the year since the killing of Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, musicians from across the country have paid numerous tributes to him and others killed by police. Tonight, another concert pays tribute to Garner, with one notable difference from most other tribute concerts—classical music.

"The Dream Unfinished: A Symphonic Benefit for Civil Rights" brings together a racially-diverse group of musicians that includes members of the New York Philharmonic, youth musicians from programs like the Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids, and Broadway performers. Under the direction of conductor James Blachy with contributions from concertmistress Kelly Hall-Tomkins and guest conductor John McLaughlin Williams, the orchestra will perform works from William Grant Still (the first African-American to conduct a major symphony orchestra) and Leonard Bernstein (who championed civil rights causes during his lifetime). The concert will also feature the premiere of a new work from New York-based composer and violinist Jessie Montgomery

In addition, the event will feature a guest speech from Erica B. Snipes-Garner, Eric Garner’s daughter, among others. 

Says a statement from the "The Dream Unfinished" website: 

"As musicians, we intend to support this work. As we reach the one year anniversary of Garner’s death, tragedies in Baltimore, Charleston, and Atlanta show us we are far from a resolution. By selecting New York City as the location of our concert, we are in the position to generate national coverage for our event, and help maintain visibility of the Black Lives Matter movement in the press. 

"Our title also invokes the powerful speech Martin Luther King Jr. delivered at Washington D.C. more than 50 years ago. It is for this dream that we have assembled; to raise our collective voice in support of those who have been silenced or ignored; and through music, we hope to inspire others to continue working towards a dream fulfilled."

The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. tonight at The Salvation Army’s Centennial Memorial Temple, located at 140 West 14th Street (near 6th Avenue) in Manhattan. Tickets are $25, with proceeds going to the Center for Constitutional Rights, The National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, Justice League NYC, and Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul

Click here to learn more about the concert and buy tickets, and check out the promo video above. 

(H/t New York Times)