“[The Songbook] is a love letter that will have the cognoscenti nodding in recognition of all that resonates, shimmers and knells in the Big Apple.”

Sherri Rase | Q on Stage | July 2012
CD Review: Five Borough Songbook

“With 20 composers involved you might expect every current style to be represented. Quite a few were… [I]nventive approaches to taking the city’s pulse were plentiful.”

Allan Kozinn | The New York Times | January 15, 2012
Review: Five Borough Songbook Manhattan Premiere

“[T]he true impact of the Five Borough Songbook was its juxtapositions and musical landscape, creating neighborhoods that are distinct but which sit on top of one another bringing out inherent comparisons and contrasts.”

Olivia Giovetti | WQXR Operavore | October 8, 2011
The Song of the City

“[A]ll composers contributing to The Five Borough Songbook are Greatly Gifted, the performances were Graciously Groomed, so as for the upcoming performances in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, well, you really must Go, Go, Go, Go!”

Scott Rose | The New Civil Rights Movement | October 23, 2011
Review: Five Borough Songbook Premiere

“[O]n this occasion [the composers] often seemed to channel the wisecracking New York wit and the nostalgic art largely missing from Broadway for the last generation.”

John Yohalem | Opera Today | January 23, 2012
Review: Five Borough Songbook Manhattan Premiere

“[The Five Borough Songbook] is exactly the kind of wide-ranging, all-encompassing program that impressively represents nearly all that contemporary American art song has to offer.”

Gregory Berg | Journal of Singing, Volume 69, No. 2 | November/December 2012
CD Review: Five Boroughs Songbook

In honor of our 5th anniversary in 2011-2012, 5BMF embarked on a bold new venture: creating the Five Borough Songbook, a collection of 20 brand-new songs all about New York City, composed by 20 unique composers and performed throughout the year in every borough of the city. Five years later, we celebrated our 10th birthday by honoring the rich musical legacy of NYC once again with the second installment of this ambitious project, Five Borough Songbook, Volume II.

Now, as 5BMF enters its 15th year, we are thrilled to continue our musical celebration of New York City with the premiere of the Five Borough Songbook, Volume III! The third volume features 15 brand-new songs composed by an entirely new cohort of composers, to premiere all over the city in 2022.


We invite you to be a part of the creation of this special project by sponsoring a Songbook commission and helping strengthen our mission to champion new music across the city. Pledging at any level will make a profound impact on our ability to continue the Songbook’s legacy far into the future!

All sponsorship levels partially support the commission of one Songbook song or poem, and will be acknowledged in 5BMF programs and marketing materials. In addition, individual levels of sponsorship include:


PLATINUM | $1,000

  • Two complimentary VIP tickets to 5BMF’s Season Opening event on Sep. 14, 2021
  • Two complimentary VIP tickets to all Songbook performances in April 2022 and fall 2022
  • Signed Score or Manuscript, numbered 1/1

GOLD | $500

  • Two complimentary VIP tickets to 9/14 Season Opening event
  • Two complimentary VIP tickets to any single Songbook performance
  • Signed Score or Manuscript, numbered 1/2 or 2/2

SILVER | $250

  • Two complimentary VIP tickets to 9/14 Season Opening event
  • Two complimentary VIP tickets to any single Songbook performance
  • Signed Score or Manuscript, numbered 1/4 – 4/4

BRONZE | $100

  • Two complimentary tickets to any Songbook performance
  • Signed Score or Manuscript, numbered 1/10 – 10/10

Questions about Songbook Sponsorships or wish to sponsor by mail? Contact us at with Subject: Songbook Sponsorship.

History of the Five Borough Songbook

Since our earliest days, 5BMF’s artistic programming has maintained a particular focus on the emergence of new music in New York City, regardless of genre. This dedication, coupled with our mission to celebrate the city as a whole, culminated in our ambitious Five Borough Songbook projects.

For Volumes I and II, we commissioned 20 composers to write one new vocal work each, inspired by places, themes, and poetry from every corner of NYC. The resulting Five Borough Songbook volumes, each a masterful and eclectic collection of diverse musical voices, serve as a celebration of the entirety of New York City, of its literary history, and of its most promising musical talent.

Volume 1 (2011)

The original Five Borough Songbook, commissioned in 2011, comprises 20 works scored for various combinations of SATB (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and baritone) solo voices, piano, and violin. The collection includes not only songs for voice and piano, but also ensembles of many different permutations, providing the listener with as varied a selection of instrumentation as the range of poems and texts chosen by the composers.

Over the course of our 5th anniversary season in 2011-2012, the original Songbook premiered in all five boroughs of New York City, with the World Premiere performance taking place on October 6, 2011 at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn. The Songbook was the first 5BMF program to be presented in all five boroughs in the course of one season, thrilling audiences across the city and receiving glowing responses across the board. Allan Kozinn of The New York Times wrote of the Manhattan premiere in January 2012, “With 20 composers involved you might expect every current style to be represented.… [I]nventive approaches to taking the city’s pulse were plentiful.”

Songbook Volume 1

Christopher Berg | OuLiPo in the Bronx
Lisa Bielawa | Breakfast in New York
Tom Cipullo | G is for Grimy: An Ode to the G Train
Christina Courtin | Fresh Kills
Mohammed Fairouz | Refugee Blues
Renee Favand-See | Looking West on a Humid Summer Evening
John Glover | 8:46 AM, Five Years Later
Ricky Ian Gordon | O City of Ships
Yotam Haber | On Leaving Brooklyn
Daron Hagen | The New Yorkers
Martin Hennessy | The City’s Love
Gabriel Kahane | Coney Island Avenue
Gilda Lyons | rapid transit
Jorge Martín | City of Orgies, Walks, and Joys!
Russell Platt | The Avenue (II)
Glen Roven | F from DUMBO
Matt Schickele | Days afield on Staten Island
Richard Pearson Thomas | The Center of the Universe
Christopher Tignor | Secret Assignation
Scott Wheeler | At Home in Staten Island

Volume 2 (2017)

Following the success of our original Songbook, we created the Five Borough Songbook, Volume II in honor of our 10th Anniversary in 2017. Volume II features an entirely new group of 20 dynamic composers, with works scored for various combinations of SATB voices, piano, and cello. The Songbook, Volume II traveled around New York City throughout our 10th Anniversary year, premiering in every borough of NYC, to once again celebrate the city’s rich musical and literary tapestry.

10th Anniversary Performances

WORLD PREMIERE: February 11, 2017 | DiMenna Center for Classical Music
QUEENS PREMIERE: February 12, 2017 | Flushing Town Hall
STATEN ISLAND PREMIERE: September 16, 2017 | Trinity Lutheran Church
BRONX PREMIERE: September 17, 2017 | Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture
BROOKLYN PREMIERE: November 16, 2017 | National Sawdust

Songbook Volume II

Matthew Aucoin | Walt Whitman’s New Years Greeting for 2017
Lembit Beecher | I Missed the Beginning
Conrad Cummings | Lamento del Barista
Jonathan Dawe | The Isle is Full of Noises
Evan Fein | Musings: The Temple of Dendur
Daniel Felsenfeld | Everything Must Go
Herschel Garfein | The Cyclone
Whitney George | A Night in Brooklyn
Marie Incontrera | Greenwood Cemetery
Laura Kaminsky | Right to Life
Libby Larsen | Running the Boroughs
Hannah Lash | Riverdale
Missy Mazzoli | Lorca in the Bronx
Jessie Montgomery | Loisaida, my love
Robert Paterson | Crossing the Hudson
Paola Prestini | Aquarium, Coney Island
Kevin Puts | The Subway
Kamala Sankaram | The Last Blast of Anthony the Trumpeter
Gregory Spears | Aquehonga
Bora Yoon | Grand Central

Studio Album

Released on January 12, 2012, the Five Borough Songbook World Premiere Recording is 5BMF’s first studio album. Produced by GPR Records, this special 2-disc set contains the original Five Borough Songbook in its entirety – 20 unique and exciting new works by 20 composers, celebrating every corner of New York City.


Of the World Premiere recording, Gregory Berg notes that “[it] is exactly the kind of wide-ranging, all-encompassing program that impressively represents nearly all that contemporary American art song has to offer” (Journal of Singing).

Featured Artists

Javier Abreu, tenor
Mireille Asselin, soprano
Thomas Bagwell, pianist
Jesse Blumberg, baritone
Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano
Scott Dispensa, baritone
Jocelyn Dueck, pianist
Blythe Gaissert, mezzo-soprano
Martha Guth, soprano
Keith Jameson, tenor
David McFerrin, baritone
David Adam Moore, baritone
Harumi Rhodes, violinist
Alex Richardson, tenor

5BSB CD cover

Produced by GPR Records (Glen Roven, Peter Fitzgerald, Richard Cohen, Megan Henninger)
Co-produced by Five Boroughs Music Festival
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Megan Henninger and Peter Fitzgerald

Recorded at Sound Associates in October and November, 2011

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