New civic and cultural landmark, designed by Frank Gehry in close collaboration with Michael Tilson Thomas, is the first purpose-built home for New World Symphony
MIAMI BEACH, FL, January 25, 2011—New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy, marks a new era for classical music with the inauguration of the institution’s first purpose-built home, an extraordinary new facility in the center of Miami Beach. Designed by Frank Gehry in close collaboration with the New World Symphony’s founder and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas, New World Center opens up exciting new possibilities in the way music is taught, presented and experienced and dramatically advances New World Symphony’s mission to provide exceptional professional training for the gifted young music school graduates who are its Fellows.
“The opening of this extraordinary building is the beginning of a wonderful adventure and exploration,” said Michael Tilson Thomas. ”Not only are we marking a new era for this organization and giving our musicians an unrivalled facility in which to learn and achieve their potential, but we are also inviting everyone to experience classical music in a new kind of space—one that is designed to engage and to energize, and that will move people from around the world to think about music in new ways.”
At the heart of New World Center is a flexible and technologically sophisticated 756-seat performance hall, featuring large acoustically reflective “sails” that surround the audience with sound and also serve as video projection surfaces.
Directly adjacent to the 100,641-square-foot building is the new Miami Beach SoundScape, a landscaped 2.5-acre public space into which New World Symphony will extend its programming. Together, the building and the public space create a dynamic new city center and a geographical “heart” from which civic, cultural, recreational, tourist and leisurely activity will radiate.
Six days of opening festivities will showcase the new building’s remarkable capabilities. Events include the world premiere of a commissioned work for orchestra by acclaimed composer Thomas Adès; video projections within the performance hall, including a new work by filmmaker Tal Rosner and the world premiere of a series of animations developed in collaboration with the University of Southern California (alma mater of Michael Tilson Thomas and Frank Gehry) and its School of Cinematic Arts; outdoor video projections of a new work by Tal Rosner and digital artist C.E.B. Reas; an outdoor wallcast™ of a live concert; the introduction of new concert formats designed to engage and broaden audiences; an architecture symposium; live outdoor entertainment; and fireworks.
Frank Gehry stated, “I am very proud of this building, which results from a close working relationship with my lifelong friend Michael Tilson Thomas and brings to life his dream for New World Symphony and the entire world of classical music. I hope the spirit of creative engagement that Michael and I have enjoyed will live on in the building’s spaces. They are designed to encourage young musicians, their mentors and their audiences to try new things, interact in new ways and remain open to new experiences.”
According to Howard Herring, President and CEO of New World Symphony, “What we have with the opening of New World Center is a set of unprecedented opportunities. Opportunities for the best young orchestral musicians in the world, our Fellows, to learn to surpass themselves. Opportunities for the public, inside and outside this building, to become engaged in the Fellows’ journey, and feel their thrill of discovery. Opportunities to reinvent, and reimagine, the way classical music is taught, performed, programmed and experienced. From the infinitely varied projections on the outside of this building to the dazzling array of configurations and visual experiences you see inside this performance hall to our amazingly flexible and advanced spaces for teaching and rehearsal and media, everything at New World Center is designed to open fresh possibilities, and to keep opening them, not just today but every day.”
Major components of New World Center’s program-focused design are:
-a soaring, 80-foot-high glass façade providing a spectacular entrance and views of activities inside
-a skylit atrium where playful, tumbling geometric forms delineate the internal spaces, and where the public may relax at an illuminated glass bar with a blue titanium canopy;
-the 756-seat performance hall, with acoustic design led by Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics;
-a giant, 7,000-square-foot exterior projection wall for outdoor video presentations, including wallcasts™ of live concerts;
-a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views of Miami Beach, the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay;
-a music library; and
-numerous practice and rehearsal spaces and technology studios wired with 17 miles of fiber-optic cable for high-speed Internet2 transmissions.
Miami Beach SoundScape, commissioned by the City of Miami Beach and designed by the acclaimed Dutch firm West 8, is located to the east of New World Center. To the west of the new building lies Pennsylvania Avenue Garage, a new 550-car parking structure designed by Gehry Partners, LLP. These facilities, combined with the building, comprise the City Center redevelopment project that is injecting fresh vitality into the architecturally historic district of South Beach.
Opening Festivities and New Concert Experiences
The opening ceremony of New World Center on Tuesday, January 25 at 7PM celebrates the public/private partnership that has realized this project, saluting donors and contributors including the City of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County and the leaders of a successful capital campaign and paying tribute to the brilliance of Frank Gehry and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Festivities within the hall will culminate with a performance by the New World Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. The celebration will then extend outdoors with the world premiere of a New World Symphony-commissioned work of video art – a collaboration between artist and filmmaker Tal Rosner and digital artist and software designer C.E.B. Reas – shown on the building’s exterior projection wall. Entitled Chronograph, the silent video mural is based on thousands of photographs taken over the course of the construction of the new building, and of images of local architecture. It will be punctuated by hourly videographic “events” marking the top of each hour, so that the wall is both aesthetic and informative. Chronograph will be shown at nighttime throughout the season when a concert or other content is not being shown.
To offer the public a deeper insight into the design of New World Center, New World Symphony will host an architecture symposium on Wednesday, January 26 at 9.00AM, featuring a conversation between Frank Gehry and New World Symphony chairman Neisen Kasdin. The conversation, introduced by University of Miami School of Architecture dean Liz Plater Zyberk, will be followed by a roundtable with Adriaan Geuze, principal of West 8, in discussion with leading critics, curators, scholars and fellow architects Reed Kroloff, Richard Florida, Marilyn Taylor and Aaron Betsky.
The inaugural concert on Wednesday, January 26 at 7.30PM will feature the world premiere of Polaris: Voyage for Orchestra, an orchestral work commissioned by New World Symphony from British composer Thomas Adès. Partners in commissioning this work are the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, The Barbican of London, the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon, where the work will subsequently be performed. Featured with Polaris will be a New World Symphony-commissioned video artwork by Tal Rosner. Joining the New World Symphony in the video commission are the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. The concert by New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas also features Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman and Copland’s monumental Third Symphony. This concert will be repeated on Friday, January 28 at 7.30PM, when a live wallcast™ of the performance on the building’s exterior projection wall will allow the public to experience the concert free of charge.
The first of New World Symphony’s Journey Concerts, designed to exploit the unique design and theatrical resources of the performance hall, takes place on Thursday, January 27 at 7PM. Entitled A Schubert Journey, the concert will explore the many genres of Franz Schubert’s music, including works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, chorus, piano and solo voice. Transitions from one genre to another will be made seamlessly, using the hall’s flexible main stage and four satellite stages and subtle, evocative lighting, to take the audience on a true journey through the composer’s music. Joining Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony will be soprano Laura Aikin, pianist Jeremy Denk, tenor Diego Silva, violinist Joel Smirnoff, and the University of Miami Symphonic Choir and Frost Chorale with director Joshua Habermann.
On Saturday, January 29 music and art lovers from Miami and beyond will celebrate the opening of New World Center at the Grand Opening Gala. The festivities include cocktails, a concert by New World Symphony led by Michael Tilson Thomas, dinner under the stars, late-night dancing and an after-party performance by Broadway star Audra McDonald.
In two performances on Sunday, January 30 at 5PM and 7PM, the New World Symphony will present the world premiere of eleven animations made by students, faculty and alumni of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and its John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts. Created to be shown as the New World Symphony performs Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, the films establish a provocative and celebratory merger of the art forms of two distinguished educational institutions.
To encourage people to approach classical music in different ways, and to develop new audiences for the art form, New World Symphony will launch its experimental initiative Pulse: Late Night at the New World Symphony on Friday, February 25, 2011 and Friday, April 22, 2011. These events will transform the building’s performance hall and atrium into a nightclub-style social setting. Pulse will feature the artistry of Mercury Soul—conductor Benjamin Shwartz, composer /DJ Mason Bates and designer Anne Patterson—with the New World Symphony in performances of theatrically enhanced, contemporary classical music integrated into an evening-long set of DJ-spun electronica. Standing areas for the audience, cocktail bars inside the performance hall, nightclub lighting and wraparound video projections will enhance the ambience of these musical, social and dance events.
Hour-long Discovery Concerts will be a recurring presentation at New World Center. Offering explanations of the music by an onstage host accompanied by a specially produced, synchronized background video, these concerts are designed for younger audiences but will also appeal to adult concert-goers interested in learning more about classical music. The next Discovery Concert, entitled Igor Stravinsky: Revolution/Evolution, will take place on Friday and Saturday, February 11 and 12, 2011. Beginning with the 2010-2011 season, narrator, writer and broadcaster Jamie Bernstein will host the Discovery Concerts. Ms. Bernstein, daughter of conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein, is well known for her acclaimed youth concerts on the music of Copland, Mozart, Bernstein and others. The scripts and videos created for these programs will subsequently be made available to other orchestras for presentation elsewhere.
The New World Symphony’s $2.50 Mini-Concerts, piloted in November 2008 to offer easily accessible high-quality musical experiences, will complete the series of new concert formats. For two weekends each season, a trio of 30-minute Mini-Concerts will be presented in succession over the course of an evening. Each will be prefaced by remarks by a New World Symphony Fellow and specially produced background imagery. The first Mini-Concert will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, 2011. Beginning with the 2010-2011 season, Jamie Bernstein serves as communications consultant to the New World Symphony’s Mini-Concerts, lending her expert guidance to the Fellows in developing their onstage remarks. The scripts and images created for these programs will be made available to other orchestras for presentation elsewhere.