Monday, March 3, 2014

Miami's Classical Music Scene

New World Center

“There’s nothing more rewarding than the love of music.” Gil Shaman – violinist

By James Cubby

Once known primarily for its gorgeous beach and nightlife scene, Miami has now become a cultural center for the arts. “Miami has a genuine love of music,” says violinist Gil Shaman, a recent guest performer with the Cleveland Orchestra who has been traveling to Miami for over 20 years as a guest performer.  Miami has always supported classical music but during the last decade Miami has witnessed a thriving classical music scene that continues to flourish. The 2006 opening of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the second-largest performing arts center in the U.S., put Miami on the cultural map as it now offers more than 300 performances per year and is home to the Florida Grand Opera including the Cleveland Orchestra as resident artists. This venue has helped nourish and cultivate Miami’s classical music scene, which has been attracting younger audiences. “We’re on a spring board and about to take the leap…so much is happening,” says John Richard, CEO of the Arsht Center. “We’re receiving so much support from audiences and supporters. We’re developing new audiences as 50-60 percent of our audiences are first timers.” The Arsht Center’s classical music season is as impressive as ever with guest appearances from great talents like Itzak Perlman, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta, Joshua Bell with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin.

In 2011, The New World Center, the Frank Gehry designed home of Miami’s New World Symphony, brought Miami yet another state-of-the art performance space. The New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, artistic director and founder, has been instrumental in promoting classical music to younger audiences. Their impressive season includes guest artists like oboist Eugene Izotov and violinist Ani Kavafian. Miami Beach audiences are treated to free concerts telecast on the Miami Beach SoundScape, a 7,000-square-foot projection wall, a program that has created a whole new audience for classical music. NWS has an incredible outreach program and the symphony has performed in prestigious venues all over the world including New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Barbican Centre, and Paris’ Bastille Opera. Since its inception, the New World Symphony has been instrumental in the launch of the careers of more than 900 alumni worldwide. The creative programming of NWS and ingenious use of New World Center has created new interest in classical music with programs like the PULSE, the series that transforms the New World Center into a late-night lounge with club-style lighting, video projections and a DJ spinning along with the performing New World Symphony. Miami has indeed fallen in love with classical music and in the words of violinist Gil Shaman, “there’s nothing more rewarding than the love of music.”
(Reprinted courtesy of Where South Florida)

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