The Orfeo Duo Vita notes

What a Neighborhood 2014

For 11 years, What a Neighborhood! has celebrated and nurtured the Creative Spirit in Morningside Heights, West Harlem, and the Manhattan Valley. Our goals are to inspire and encourage composers and other neighbors, to develop grassroots support for new American music, and to draw neighbors together, nurturing a strong sense of community that includes all of the diversity of our area. We are engaged in urban farming: cultivating music, the food of love.

We would love to get to know you. Please call us at 212-222-2101, or email us at, or better yet, introduce yourself at one of our events. See below for details.

Let us know of any composers of any age who might not yet be listed on our map of over 200 neighborhood composers! Bring your friends and family! Meet your neighbors!

Thank you for the joy and support you have given us over What a Neighborhood!'s first 11 years! And thank you very much for your kind words!

“Such a cool experience... innovative... fun and relaxing... lovely and gracious... passionate and accomplished musicians... You bring many dimensions of ‘wonderfulness’ to so many people - on musical, spiritual, and experiential levels... creative and harmonious... unique and beautiful... a revelation.”

Love, Vita and Ishmael
Sunday September 28 at 1:30 pm
St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Manhattanville
521 West 126th Street,1/2 block west of Amsterdam Avenue
Suggested donation $10, but all are welcome!

A celebration of the extraordinarily rich musical community on Tiemann Place & Claremont Avenue!
The Orfeo Duo & the composer give the world premiere of Laurence Goldman’s Planet 12, an adventure in synaesthetic 12-tone improvisation for violin, piano, & double bass.
Flutist Lisa Arkis plays music for several different sizes of flutes by Anthony Piccolo.
Tom DeMott, best known as a community activist, appears as a singer/songwriter!
The Neighborhood Composers' Chorus sings Neighborhood Songlines created by neighbors about the streets they live on.
Vita Wallace sketches in some history. All in a cozy & historic church with beautiful acoustics.

Claremont Street and Tom Demott
Send us a message ( if you would like information about our
2014 Title: Looking back, looking forward

Saturday March 8 at 5 PM – FREE
Nicholas Roerich Museum, 319 West 107th Street (near Riverside Drive)

Pianist & composer Ishmael Wallace gives a meditative recital of music by neighborhood composers, premiering Preludes for Piano by Nailah Nombeko, Dodecahedral Sonata by Anthony Elia, and his own Canto based on the myth of the Night Sea Journey. The program is rounded out with related works by Franz Liszt, and the setting is exquisite: a townhouse parlor filled with mystical paintings by Nicholas Roerich.

Night Sea Journey
Night Sea Journey

Saturday May 3 at 4 PM - $10 suggested donation for adults

Trinity Lutheran Church, 164 West 100th Street (just east of Amsterdam Avenue)
Bi-lingual (English & Spanish)

Joy, youth, nature, & praise are all wrapped up in one program celebrating the rapture of spring, with the Orfeo Duo performing Charles Ives’s Children’s Day at the Camp Meeting and premiering a setting of Mary Oliver by neighborhood composer Evelyn Saylor. The very young dancers & artists of Ascension Church Cultural Center sprinkle their fairy dust over the afternoon!

113th street roses
113th Street Roses

Sunday May 18 at 1:30 PM
$10 suggested donation for adults

St Mary’s Episcopal Church, 521 West 126th Street (1/2 block west of Amsterdam Avenue) Wheelchair Accessible

Neighborhood composer Daniel Bernard Roumain reflects on Trinity Church Cemetery uptown – including our neighbors who are no longer there, since the African-American section was removed to widen Broadway in the late 19th century. Wind players from the Harlem Chamber Players premiere his new work and the St Mary’s Gospel Choir and the Neighborhood Composers Chorus honor Estelle Bennett, a late choir member buried in the cemetery, with songs of her renowned trio The Ronettes! And a flock of neighborhood composers look back & look forward: Ishmael Wallace performs music by neighbors David Loeb, Robert Cuckson, & Stephen Siegel and premieres a flute sonata by Peter Homans.

The RonettesThe Ronettes
Trinity Church Cemetary
Trinity Church Cemetery

Send us a message ( if you’d like more information about our intimate gatherings in April and June revolving around the questions “How do we balance Nature and Civilization?” and “What causes a Renaissance?” with music, readings, conversation, and food inspired by the Monte Veritá colony in Ascona, Switzerland, and the Harlem Renaissance.

“The What a Neighborhood program on the Upper West Side has done much over the years to create a neighborhood atmosphere and community of intention for musical artists, with a rich, warm spirit for all....”
(Mark Greenfest, SoundWordSight)

What a Neighborhood! is made possible by the generosity of friends and neighbors: artists, volunteers, supporters, arts and community organizations & businesses, and the sponsorship of the 102-103 Streets Block Association and The Field. What a Neighborhood! 2014 is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
The Orfeo Duo
615 West 113 Street #33
New York NY 10025
Phone: 212-666-0928


© The OrfeoDuo 2014