Experimental concert series ‘Phantom Waves’ coming to Green-Wood Cemetery

Green-Wood Cemetery set to present new concert series inspired by the cemetery's catacombs and historic chapel.
Green-Wood Cemetery is set to present a new concert series inspired by the cemetery’s catacombs and historic chapel.
File photo by Maike Schulz

The Green-Wood Cemetery, one of the first rural burial grounds in the country, will present a new concert series “Phantom Waves,” inspired by the acoustics in the cemetery’s catacombs and historic chapel.

Curated by singer-songwriter and Broadway star Gelsey Bell, the series will be headlined by experimental artists pushing the boundaries of music with unique approaches to composition, vocals and instrumentals all while performing in the cemetery’s catacombs.

“Curating this series has been an absolute honor and joy,” Bell said in a statement. “In a completely acoustic environment, the spaces at Green-Wood contain unique sonic and historical reverberation unlike anything else in New York City. All of the experimental artists in the series are invited into these spaces not just for their incredible creativity and virtuosic ability, but also for their profound attention in the creative process to the sonic, emotional, and spiritual characteristics of each space they inhabit.”

Artists featured in the concert series include trumpeter and Iraqi Maqam player Amir ElSaffar, Bell and saxophone player Erin Rogers, and composer and vocalist Odeya Nini. Bell will return with artists Sunder Ganglani, Aviva Jaye, and Paul Pinto, with vibraphonist Levy Lorenzo, for a closing performance of musician and composer Darius Jones’ “Samesoul Maker.”

Bell said curating “Phantom Waves” has inspired her.

“I have found creating in these spaces incredibly enriching, and I am thrilled to share my work and to see what delights of the soul all of these artists cook up,” she said.

The concert series starts with ElSaffar’s performances on April 24 and 25 and with concert dates planned two days each month through July. Heads of the historic Brooklyn burial ground promise additional concerts and performances later this year.

“We are thrilled to be launching a new series of concerts celebrating the historic structures in the Cemetery,” said Harry Weil, vice president of education and public programs at Green-Wood. “While not initially designed as music stages, they’ll now host a roster of artists whose performances embody experimentation and site specificity, curated by the very talented Gelsey Bell. You won’t be able to experience these performers, and these works, anywhere else like you will at Green-Wood.”

Tickets are $40 for the general public and $35 for Green-Wood members with two shows on each performance night — one beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the other at 8:30 p.m. 

To learn more about the concert series or to purchase tickets, visit green-wood.com.