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The National Philharmonic’s virtual performance of “Fanfare for the Common Man”
A rallying cry written during the second World War, Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” celebrates everyday people making immense sacrifice for the larger good. It’s been heard from space (on the Endeavor shuttle in 2008) and absorbed into pop culture (played at Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones concerts), but the National Philharmonic’s virtual rendition holds a new weight as a nod to the current moment. Using their own recording equipment, usually cell phones, members of the orchestra filmed themselves playing their respective parts of the song to be mixed into the final piece, which is dedicated to the health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. The final video features photographs of D.C., Maryland, and New York hospital staff on the job, a deeply personal touch to an already heavy song. It’s those same types of people that Copland celebrated in his original rendition. Inspired by Vice President Henry Wallace’s remarks at the Free World Association in 1942, Copland shared the belief that the “dirty work” of overcoming difficult times falls on the backs of ordinary folks, and the fanfare is an acknowledgement of their common sacrifice. The Philharmonic’s music director Piotr Gajewski said that he hopes the tribute offers hospital workers, currently risking their lives, some solace as they continue to keep the rest of us afloat. The performance is available on YouTube. Free. —Katie Malone
Brightest Young Things’ International Museum Day Instagram takeover
After the world shut down, museums scrambled to find new and effective ways to present their collections online. As a result, our lockdown calendars are nearly as crowded as they were when we could leave the house, with events from the National Gallery of Art’s engaging Twitter threads to watch parties hosted by the film curator at the National Museum of Asian Art. So think of this event from Brightest Young Things as a virtual museum crawl—one where you can BYOB. BYT is giving up its Instagram handle all day May 18 in partnership with museums in D.C., New York, and Boston. Catch up with local collections at the Hirshhorn and the Phillips, take a road trip from home out to Glenstone, or head up to New York for the LBGTQ-themedLeslie-Lohman Museum of Art or Boston for the visionary works at the MassArt Art Museum. And you know you’ve been curious: Now you can get a virtual look at Brooklyn’s THNK1994, a space dedicated to the storied rivalry between figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. The gallery’s current exhibit features new paintings by Laura Collins that interpret the Real Housewives pointing fingers, including, of course, the now-iconic Taylor Armstrong half of the cat meme. The program will be well under way at press time, but you can revisit Instagram Live feeds for 24 hours after the event. The takeover is available at @brightestyoungthings on Instagram. Free. —Pat Padua