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Celebrate the Empire State in Symphonic Style

Celebrate the Empire State in Symphonic Style

The word “symphony” comes from “sinfonia”. The Greek root “syn” means “together” and “phone” means “voice” or “sound.” Sinfonia, or symphony, beautifully evokes the concept of making beautiful sounds together, preferably for a communal audience. This summer, the Albany Symphony expands the notion of “symphony” to engage all the senses, including  the sights, scents and feel of nature – as it commemorates  the newly minted Empire State Trail with a month-long celebration of new music, performed free for the public. 

The Empire State Trail, a multi-use byway originally proposed in 2017 and completed in December 2020, is the longest multi-use trail in the country, running from Manhattan all the way up the Canadian border, and then also crisscrossing the state from Albany to Buffalo.. 

It’s mosaic of trails weaves together several pre-existing segments, all of which retain their distinct personality within the tapestry of the larger Trail. Visitors will also find links to biking and hiking routes, from the Appalachian Trail to the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. 

The symphonic celebration, dubbed TrailBlaze NY, features performances from leading and emerging voices in the Capital District, with free performances in Schuylerville, Kingston, Hudson, Schenectady, Albany and Amsterdam. 

“The Albany Symphony and I are excited and proud to present our 2022 American Music Festival: TrailBlaze NY, a celebration of New York State’s glorious new Empire State Trail. Taking inspiration from our past celebrations of New York State history, Water Music NY and Sing Out, NY, we wanted to amplify the amazing story of the incredible 750-mile walking and cycling rail trail that now connects all residents of New York State to one another,” Albany Symphony director David Alan Miller said. “Each weekend will focus on different communities, with a day of music and celebration followed by a free Albany Symphony orchestra performance. It’s so much more than music—we’ll be partnering with communities on all sorts of events, from historic kayak trips, to yoga on the trail, to a sunset chamber music happening at Olana National Historic Site, and percussion pop-up and chamber music performances. It will be an absolutely unforgettable month of sights, sounds and experiences highlighting our region.”  

Attendees can expect anywhere from 25-45 musicians, led by Miller. Each stop will feature a different opening act, from solo artists to larger bands. 

Like the trail segments themselves, each stop along the way will be slightly different, and reflect the unique characteristics of the community in which it is performed, explains Robert Pape, director of development and marketing at the Albany Symphony. 

“Our goal in bringing in so many people and groups is to make these true community festival events that celebrate the history, beauty and innovative spirit of each place,” Pape says. “We love using our concerts to shine a spotlight on these great places, and to encourage locals and tourists alike to come explore! The Albany Symphony is proud to support and foster contemporary music through commissions and premieres. Every stop on the tour features a world premiere by a composer who drew inspiration from our region for their music. In addition, each concert features some summertime favorites: music by John Williams and John Philip Sousa, a folk song sing-a-long, and more.”

All of the events are free and open to the public (no sign up necessary). Food and drinks will be available, and picnics and chairs are welcome at most venues — though check ahead of time to prevent disappointment. 

The fun kicked off May 30th, but it’s not too late to celebrate the Empire State in symphonic style. 

Here’s where you can hear the Symphony next:

Kingston - June 19
Hutton Brickyards


All Day · Outdoor Activities
4:30pm - Hutton Brickyards gates open
5:00pm · Music, Food, Free FunZone for Kids, and Dad Joke Contest
6:15pm · Opening Act: Taína Asili
7:30pm · Albany Symphony Performance featuring Sandbox Percussion
9:30pm · Fireworks

Hudson - June 24 to 25
Basilica Hudson (June 24)


All Day · Outdoor Activities
5:00pm · Music, Food, & Free FunZone for Kids
6:00pm · Opening Acts: Devesh Chandra & Diata Diata IFT
7:30pm · Albany Symphony Performance
9:30pm · Fireworks

Olana (June 25)


All Day · Explore Olana State Historic Site’s 250 acre public park
10:00am to 5:00pm – Thomas Cole National Historic Site tours
10:00 am to 4:00 pm · Olana State Historic Site tours
Noon to 3:00pm · Olana State Historic Site Family Program
1:00pm to 4:00pm · Trail Sessions at Olana State Historic Site
7:00pm · Wind Quintet Performance

Schenectady - July 1
Mohawk Harbor


All Day · Outdoor Activities
5:00pm · Music, Food, & Free FunZone for Kids
6:00pm · Opening Act: Flame the Band
7:30pm · Albany Symphony Performance featuring ESYO Percussion
9:30pm · Fireworks

Albany - July 2
Jennings Landing


All Day · Outdoor Activities
5:00pm · Music, Food, & Free FunZone for Kids
6:30pm · Opening Act: Barbara Howard
7:30pm · Albany Symphony Performance
9:30pm · Fireworks

Amsterdam - July 3
Riverlink Park


All Day · Outdoor Activities
5:00pm · Music, Food, & Free FunZone for Kids
6:30pm · Opening Act: Jordan Taylor Hill
7:30pm · Albany Symphony Performance
9:30pm · Fireworks

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