Summer is at its apex, and along with it comes a barrage of fantastic free performances throughout New York City. July features a hero of Chicago Blues, indie-rock pioneers, opera stars, and some of today's finest jazz and hip-hop artists. Slather on the sunscreen and enjoy.
SUMMERGARDEN AT MoMA For four Sunday evenings in July, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden hosts performers selected by the Juilliard School and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Have some sorbetto, hang out with Picasso's "She-Goat" and Miró's "Moonbird," and lose yourself in cutting-edge compositions. Performers include The New Juilliard Ensemble (Sunday) and the Vijay Iyer Trio (July 29).
WHEN | WHERE Sunday, doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. Also July 15, 22 and 29, MoMA Sculpture Garden, gate on West 54th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues
INFO 212-708-9400, moma.org for a full schedule
LOWDOWN HUDSON BLUES FESTIVAL The first night of the fest features living legend Buddy Guy, who helped define the Chicago Blues sound, influenced guitar greats like Hendrix and Clapton, and at age 74 continues to tear it up on the touring circuit. The following night, Neko Case weaves hauntingly gorgeous alt-folk yarns with the power of a gale-force wind.
INFO 212-945-0505, artsworldfinancialcenter.com
4KNOTS MUSIC FESTIVAL The second year of the Village Voice's summer concert sets sail with headliners Archers of Loaf, a landmark band from the college-rock era of the '90s. Joining the vets are indie-pop buzz acts the Drums, Crocodiles and Hospitality, among others.
WHEN | WHERE July 14, 1-8 p.m., South Street Seaport, Pier 16 and 17
SHABAZZ PALACES + THEESATISFACTION Two of Seattle's most lauded artists of recent years have busied themselves by rearranging the parameters of hip-hop. Trippy, gritty Shabazz Palaces and soul-flavored THEESatisfaction upend all expectations and bring much needed depth and groove to the genre.
INFO 347-559-5142, nycgovparks.org
THE METROPOLITAN OPERA'S SUMMER RECITAL SERIES Spoil yourself with some of the premier singers in the world performing pieces from a variety of operas and selections from the American Songbook. The first of six free shows features star soprano Danielle de Niese, tenor Dimitri Pittas, and bass-baritone John Del Carlo, as well as pianist Dan Saunders.
WHEN|WHERE July 25, at 8 p.m., Central Park Summerstage, Rumsey Field, located off the Fifth Avenue and 69th Street entrance
INFO 212-362-6000, metopera.org/parks