What to See and Hear at the 2018 Look + Listen Festival

What Should We Do?! music expert Meera Dugal picks her must-see festival shows.

Peter Evans and Levy Lorenzo / Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Prepare to kick your senses into overdrive. The annual Look + Listen Festival pairs top composers and musicians with top contemporary artists for an energizing three-day showcase of performances and art. I’ll be there for all three nights to check out these stellar combo shows.

Floating Borders

MacArthur “genius grant”–winning flutist Claire Chase will dazzle as she lends her extraordinary talent to two electrifying pieces: composer and performance artist Du Yun’s “An Empty Garlic,” as well as the NYC premiere of this year’s festival commission, “Talking Gong,” in which she is joined by pianist Alex Peh, composer Susie Ibarra, and, yes, plenty of gongs. The concert will take place amidst BRIC’s powerful Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diaspora exhibit. BRIC House, 647 Fulton Street, Fort Greene; Friday, April 13; 8 p.m.; Free (RSVP here)

Look Listen Festival
Claire Chase / Photo by Digitice


WQXR’s resident happy-hour classical music host Terrance McKnight presides over night two of Look + Listen, featuring two improvised sets performed by saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and vibraphonist Joel Ross. Together, these innovative composers will create a soundscape—from scratch! in real time!—inspired by the intricate, complex ink drawings of Terry Winters’s “Facts and Fictions” exhibition. What you hear will never be heard again! The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street (between Broome and Grand Streets), SoHo; Thursday, April 19; 6 p.m. (RSVP here) and 7:30 p.m. (RSVP here); Free

Look Listen Festival
Ingrid Laubrock / Photo by Frank Schindelbeck


Closing out the festival is a collection of knockout instrumental performances. One highlight for me will be masterful trumpeter Peter Evans’s duet with percussionist Levy Lorenzo. I’ve heard Evans whip up a surround-sound storm all by himself, so I can’t even imagine what will happen when these two get together. Come early for the preshow collaborative performance art piece by installation artist Emma Sulkowicz, whose The Floating World will be on display, and composer Sean Harold. The Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen Street, Boerum Hill; Saturday, April 21; 8 p.m.; Free (RSVP here)

Look Listen Festival
Sean Harold and Emma Sulkowicz with The Floating World. / Photo by Sangsuk Sylvia Kang

Why You Should Go: Experience visual art and original musical works simultaneously in one contemporary art space.

Look + Listen Festival
Multiple Locations
April 13, April 19, April 21

Dinner and drinks round out your night at the festival.

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