All About the New World Symphony

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WALLCAST concert

New World Symphony

New World Symphony

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The New World Symphony (NWS) was established in 1987. It moved into the New World Center, its stunning and futuristic new home designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, in 2011. The mission of NWS is “to prepare highly gifted graduates of distinguished music programs for leadership roles in orchestras and ensembles around the world.” NWS has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Bastille Opera in Paris.

In addition to its role as an educational institution, NWS invites the public in, and out, for performances. A year-long calendar of events showcases the symphony’s students in performances under the direction of artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas, with visiting conductors and in solo shows.

interior of New World Center
Admire the architectural details at New World Center

Frank Gehry's New World Center

Frank Gehry may seem like a natural choice to design an arts building in a prime location, but there’s more to the story. The architect’s famed “deconstructive” style is on display at buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Dancing House in Prague. But the story of how Gehry was selected as the architect of the New World Center is more than just a big name signing onto a new project; it’s personal. Many years ago, before they became a famous architect and a respected conductor, Frank Gehry baby-sat Michael Tilson Thomas.

The white stucco building looks at home in Miami Beach. Gehry’s design blends in with the architecture of the area, while still reflecting Gehry’s thumbprint. It was conceptualized as a center of education for young musicians. Gehry has said that the design is meant to be forgiving, for young people who might bang a violin case or a music stand against a wall.

The 756-seat main hall is a comparatively intimate theater, conjoined with a series of rehearsal halls where young classical musicians train and learn. The building also features 24 individual rehearsal rooms, four ensemble rooms, three percussion rooms and a large multipurpose room. From outside, passersby can see cellists, violinists and pianists perfecting their skills.

outdoor concert at New World Symphony
Enjoy a concert under the stars in SoundScape Park

Wallcast and SoundScape Park

The New World Center’s surrounding area, the Miami Beach SoundScape, is just as important as the inside. Sure, students’ education happens inside, but everyone is invited to a free education in classical music and more in this park surrounding the building.

A 7,000-square-foot projection wall broadcasts live feeds of the indoor performances for the public to enjoy at no cost. Bring a blanket and a picnic dinner and enjoy the Miami weather and beach breeze at free events for the whole family on the WALLCAST. This state-of-the-art screen draws music lovers who cozy up on the grass and enjoy orchestral performances, popular films as part of the weekly Miami Beach SoundScape Cinema Series (every Wednesday night during the fall and winter season) and site-specific art projections. Digital projections are a popular and emerging form in the art world and the WALLCAST is an important site for this form.

The WALLCAST is part of SoundScape Park, the public green area surrounding the building with giant silver hand-fabricated structures and winding paths. The structures are essentially avant-garde plant holders for bright bougainvillea supported by aluminum strands that wind together to form a strong, sinewy vase.

Thierry’s at New World Symphony

For a meal before concerts or a bite during intermission, visit Thierry’s at the New World Center, a restaurant by celebrity chef-caterer Thierry Isambert. It’s located on the first level of the Atrium. Isambert executes dishes inspired by traditional French cooking techniques with a blend of Mediterranean, Caribbean and Pacific influences.

Thierry’s serves special boxed meals for the WALLCAST Concert concessions. You can get your choice of a roasted turkey sandwich on a brioche or a Caprese sandwich on a soft baguette with crisp golden potato chips and a large chocolate chip cookie. Options may change depending on what’s in season.

Other Events

Throughout the year there’s a busy calendar of exciting events for patrons, Friends of the Symphony and families. Put on your black tie for the annual gala, bring the family for fun, music and learning, or stop by late-night for an after-hours concert. This season looks a little different, so please check the New World Symphony website for updated information about events and performances.

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