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MTA Announces Return of Music Under New York Program to Subway System

Updated May 20, 2021 4:00 p.m.

Longstanding and Highly Popular Programon Hold During Pandemic, Returning on Heels of Return of 24/7 Subway Service and City’s Broader Reopening 


Authority Officials Celebrate Return of Music Under New York With Concert at 72 St Subway Station; Formal Relaunch is June 4


See Photos from News Conference and Concert 


See Video of News Conference and Concert 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that its popular Music Under New York program will return to the subway system on June 4, more than 14 months since it suspended public performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and immediately on the heels of the return of 24/7 subway service and the broader reopening of New York City.

Authority officials, including MTA Arts & Design Director Sandra Bloodworth, joined longtime Music Under New York groups to formally celebrate the news with a brief concert at the 72 St station featuring The Opera Collective and Diverse Concert Artists.

"This is such a profoundly exciting and special moment for MTA Arts & Design and Music Under New York, one of Arts & Design's flagship programs," said MTA Arts & Design Director Sandra Bloodworth. "The last year has been difficult for these artists just as they have been difficult for the entire city. To see Music Under New York return is the product of hard work from so many and I am thrilled that our customers will once again get to experience the power and joy that this program has long been known for. No one has to tell a New Yorker why the arts are so important, but the absence of live performance over the last year has only served to reinforce their cultural significance. After 14 months of missing them, today is a special day."

"The city's subway system is the economic lifeblood of the region and Music Under New York embodies cultural fuel powering that system," said New York City Transit Executive VP for Subways Demetrius Crichlow. “Almost every subway rider can speak to a time when the beauty, power, and joy of a particular Music Under New York act has stopped them in their tracks. This program is a model of public arts programs across the world and serves as an immense source of joy and inspiration to the millions of people who ride our system each day. I'm thrilled it's back."

“Of all the preeminent stages in this incredible city, we view MTA MUSIC as one of the most important” said Rachel Hibbert, member of The Opera Collective at today’s event. “We have the unique potential and ability to make music for everyone, not just those who can afford a seat in a theater. What greater audience could there be than the entire City of New York? Magic happens with MTA MUSIC.” 

The Music Under New York program, also known as MTA MUSIC, will resume with enhanced safety protocols in place. Special protective gear such as singing masks and instrument masks will be provided to the performers, who will be required to socially distance themselves and encouraged to get vaccinated.

The concert at 72 St was part of a series of events aimed at encouraging people to return to mass transit now that vaccination rates are on the rise and COVID positive results are down dramatically. This week, the Authority formally launched its #TakeTheTrain and #TakeTheBus campaign to drive home the importance that mass transit plays in fueling the region's economy and culture. Customers can purchase official campaign merchandise at the New York City Transit Museum's official store.

The MTA has taken unprecedented steps to enhance the cleaning of trains, buses and stations, with a rigorous disinfecting regimen being added to the MTA’s round-the-clock cleaning efforts. Recent surveys show that approximately three-quarters of customers say that trains are cleaner than they were before the pandemic. The Authority has distributed millions of masks throughout the system and usage rates among customers have exceeded 98% during the pandemic. 

Music Under New York (MTA MUSIC) is one of the many visual and performing arts programs administered by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design that enhances the transit environment for customers. Music Under New York began as a pilot program in 1985 and became an Arts & Design program in January 1987 with the enthusiastic support of the commuting public. More than 350 individual performers and music ensembles participate in over 12,500 annual performances in approximately 35 locations throughout the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s transit system. Through Music Under New York, these performances encompass classical strings, jazz ensembles, world music bands, folk, a cappella groups, singer songwriters and more.


The Opera Collective performed their Manhattan debut concert in 2006 in collaboration with Kids & Dreamers Productions and in 2007 collaborated with them again in a scenes program based on the Seven Deadly Sins. The Opera Collective has also been featured on NHK’s documentary series “New York Streets” and on a live broadcast from Battery Park. Their mission is to make opera accessible and affordable to the general public by presenting engaging performances of vocal music, including opera, art song, operetta and musical theater.


Diverse Concert Artists is a classical crossover string quartetIts performers are Tia Allen, Daniel Constant, Sean-David Cunningham and Ivan Luza. Constant and Cunningham are violinists, Luza is a cellist, and Allen plays the viola. Diverse Concert Artists are committed to changing the face of classical and crossover music through diversity. The musicians of DCA are highly trained professionals coming from the nation’s top music conservatories and universities including Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, NYU, Mannes, and more. The musicians have performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Royal Opera House of Muscat, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Plaza and many more.