It seems like every single experience that comes out of the New World Center is history in the making and talk about how fortunate we should feel to be part of it. This week we attended the Grand Opening of The New World Center and the event was not only magical, but very emotional. We heard Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) tell us about his vision coming true with the help of Frank Gehry and thanked everyone that helped that vision come alive. To give you some background, we wrote about The New World Symphony and the The New World Center’s concept back in November, but we can sum it up with 2 quotes:
“In the New World Center, our new campus, we will be able to present classical music in new and engaging ways. it encourages us to think differently about our relationship with our audience. it offers us the opportunity to communicate with musicians around the world, sharing the different perspectives we have about our musical traditions and imagining together what the future may be. This is a pioneering building and we are looking forward to exploring its potential”
“The best thing an architect can do is help realize someone’s dream and then take them somewhere else. Somewhere they have never been or thought of going. I think that this building will last beyond all of us as a place to inspire young musicians, including future ones, to find new ways to explore the relationship between themselves, their audience and their community.”
— Frank Gehry
The energy in the hall was amazing and even those of us not really part of the process, could feel the significance of the moment, with the first public performance in the concert hall and celebration of so many people’s efforts coming together in a tangible place where magic was about to happen. Of course Frank Gehry was in the crowd and added some humor by announcing, “the place seems to work.” My favorite part of the evening was MTT’s introduction of Teddy Abrams, conducting fellow who announced:
This is so much more than just a concert hall. This building can do incredible things with extra staging capabilities. Let’s begin to explore through the music of Bach – I arranged it so that many different musicians will be playing on balconies, taking advantage of the capabilities of the hall. Hear the music around you.
The event ended with a picnic in the park (SoundScape) with performance by Tiempo Libre (3x Grammy nominated young Latin band). We saw public personalities like Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Belkis Nerey from WSVN and ate next to Minory Nagata (acoustics’ genius) – lucky for them, we left our Paparazzi equipment behind for another occasion. The culmination of the week was Sunday’s concert “Pictures at an Exhibition. ” It was the world premiere of a series of animations made by the school of Cinematic Arts of the University of Southern California , shown as the New World Symphony orchestra performed Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an exhibition. This would be one of many experiments incorporating video/visuals into their performances and I have to admit I was torn by the experience, but if it makes any sense, it was a positive torn. I never realized that I make pictures in my mind when I listen to music, music leads to feelings and emotions and that’s why sometimes people close their eyes to “see” that music. The images and film were really well put together, but at times it felt like I was being given too much and couldn’t add my own emotions, in some cases my emotions from the piece were disrupted. The patterns and colors on the other hand, added so much and made the music more powerful. As it progressed, I realized it was just another way to feel the music and it was just a different experience – talk about adding art forms together to form synergy. After the program I had a brief conversation with Howard Herring, and we agreed that seeing a piece conceptualized, developed and composed from beginning to end with sound and visuals would be a complete package. The beauty of these creative experiments is the fact that traditional classical music experiences are being remodeled and reconstructed into new concepts which puts Miami at the forefront of innovation! The New World Center has iconic architecture, innovative music spaces, and is the epitome of “history in the making”. Howard Herring, President and CEO of The New World Symphony, puts it perfectly when he says,
“Some of you attended our very first concert in 1988 and many of you have been donors for almost as long. You hold a special place in our hearts. Other are experiencing New World for the first time, and we welcome you to the family. It is the love of music and a sense of adventure that bring us together in this laboratory where the most exciting aspect of our future is what we can hardly imagine. As partners, we have a great deal to give and to gain. With gratitude, I look forward to our continued work together.”
To Craig Hall (NWS Vicepresident for Communications), thank you for that first invitation to tour the campus, you have brought my grandfather’s love of classical music back in my life and you cannot imagine what that means to me.