Updated: As the sun sets over South Beach on a Saturday night, crowds gather on blankets and lawn chairs in Miami Beach SoundScape Park to sip wine and revel in a unique experience–New World Symphony concerts projected onto a 7,000-square-foot wall at the Symphony’s new Frank Gehry-designed home.
Designed by Dutch architectural firm West Eight, the outdoor space adjoining the theater subtly inspires a new generation of Miamians to renew their connection to classical music. Recent concerts included Mozart Cubed, Parisian Glimmers and The Mahler Legacy, led by the Symphony’s Founder and Artistic Director, Michael Tilson Thomas.
On Wednesday night’s Cinema Series, film fans settle in for an evening most reminiscent of retro drive-in movie culture as Avatar, Grease or Disney’s Fantasia flickers across the huge wall.
While South Beach’s glamorous nightclubs and bars attract an international party crowd, the New World Symphony SoundScape Park became the city’s top musical venue on its very first day. The 2.5 acre green space plays an essential role in connecting the New World Symphony to the Greater Miami community by giving locals and tourists a unique gathering spot to enjoy free concerts and movies under the stars.
While many performance spaces cater to wealthy older people who attend opening nights so others can witness their patron of the arts status, the egalitarian New World Campus is designed to promote total inclusiveness, and to inspire the next generation of artists and music enthusiasts.
The WALLCASTS concert series uses state-of-the-art visual and audio technology to project live concerts onto a soaring 7,000 square-foot wall which transforms the building’s concrete shell into a magical window through which everyone can appreciate the marvels of music inside.
The New World Center provides practical training for young musicians who learn how to become professional members of the world’s orchestras at a unique interactive academy. While talented football or basketball players may get drafted to the NFL or NBA based on their performance on the playing field, it is much harder for a gifted oboe player to make a connection with an international orchestra. That’s where the New World Center takes over. Graduates of top-rated music programs spend three years on South Beach, working and performing under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas and learning what it means to be a part of a professional musical ensemble. After touring the world, performing with internationally renowned conductors and artists, over 600 New World fellows have gone on to become members of symphonies across the globe.
The brand new Frank Gehry designed venue incorporates glass walls in most teaching spaces to allow people to observe the performances, lectures and classes taking place every day. Focusing upon creativity and inspiration, the architecture instills curiosity by revealing rather than concealing works in progress. The nws.edu website includes links to free concerts, musician’s forums, children’s programs (including an instrument petting zoo) and opportunities to watch rehearsals. Late night “Pulse” events turn the hall into a nightclub with audio and video installations, a DJ and cocktail bars creating a unique South Beach experience. Three half-hour mini-concerts offer a chance to sample classical music for just $2.50 a piece. By creating non-traditional approaches to the world of classical music, the New World Center effectively demystifies the cultural arts and creates a buzz in the heart of an already busy South Beach scene.
Don’t miss it!
SoundScape Cinema Series:
Weather permitting, movies begin promptly at 8pm
• Oct. 9: ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ (1972).
• Oct. 16: ‘Les Misérables’ (2012).
• Oct. 23: ‘Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ (2010).
• Oct. 30: ‘Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ (2011).
• Nov. 6: ‘Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory’ (1971).
• Nov. 13: ‘Ben-Hur’ (1959).
• Nov. 20: ‘Hello, Dolly!’ (1969).
• Nov. 27: ‘Skyfall’ (2012).
• Dec. 11: ‘Man Of Steel’ (2013).
• Dec. 18: ‘Xanadu’ (1980).
New World Symphony is located at 500 17th Street Miami Beach, FL 33139.
For tickets & information, logon to nws.edu. (305) 673-3330 & (800) 597-3331
Images credit: Joseph Brown