On August 13, a massive group of people gathered at the Lincoln Center to sing at the Mostly Mozart festival. The festival, which features orchestral concerts, dance groups, and more, focuses on Mozart’s work. But this year, a 1,000-person choir was assembled to sing a new piece titled, “the public domain” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang.
Lang, who was inspired by the theme of community, wrote the song in response to a single question: What brings us all together? Hungry for answers, Lang turned to Google. He searched, “One thing we all share is …”
Lang came across varied responses to the query, some of which were touching and heartfelt, others of which were shallow and temporal.
“‘Our pride.’ ‘Our favorite sandwich.’ ‘Our love of music.’ One of the most common answers, or types of answers, were about people saying that the thing we have, that we share, is the ability to make choices for ourselves,” Lang commented.
Touched by the diverse set of answers, Lang incorporated some of these responses into his lyrics. “Our passion,” “Our time,” “Our pain,” and of course, “Our power to choose” are just some of the phrases that made it into the song.
As one might expect, the song brought people together…like a community. And just like the search results, there was a ton of diversity. Young, old, black, white, disabled, and able-bodied people united to bring this 25-part choral masterpiece to life.
About Mostly Mozart
This year’s festival marks the 50th anniversary of Mostly Mozart. The Lincoln Center first hosted the festival in the summer of 1966 and has been sponsoring the event ever since. The festival’s popularity has grown since then, with the Mostly Mozart orchestra having performed in cities all over New York, including Oyster Bay, Utica, Schenectady, and Binghamton. They’ve even performed at Washington D.C.’s highly revered John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For a brief time between 1991 and 1999, the orchestra performed annually in Tokyo, Japan. But the official Mostly Mozart festival will always be at home at the Lincoln Center, whose board of directors in comprised of notable figures including Bill Ford, CEO of General Atlantic, John Thain, former CEO of CIT Group, and Christina Baker, New York Times bestselling author.