New-look Festival Miami to open at Arsht Center with tribute to Corigliano

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The 25th anniversary of Festival Miami is the first to bear the imprint of Shelly Berg, jazz pianist and the Frost School of Music’s dean. The University of Miami’s fall concert series will have a new look structurally, and, to some extent, musically, with events grouped into four themed weeks of classical, jazz, pop and Latin music.

The goal, says Berg, is to make the festival a destination for more people outside the Miami area, who are likely to visit if music of similar genres are scheduled closely together.

On opening night, Festival Miami will move off campus with a concert honoring composer John Corigliano (above) at the Adrienne Arsht Center Oct. 9. Gary Green will lead the Frost Wind Ensemble in the Florida premiere of Corigliano’s theatrical Circus Maximus (Symphony No. 3), violinist Jennifer Koh and the Frost Symphony Orchestra will team up for the Red Violin Concerto, and Joshua Habermann directs the Frost Chorale in Corigliano’s setting of Baudelaire’s L’invitation au voyage.

The classical “Great Performances” week will continue at Gusman Concert Hall with the Ritz Chamber Players Oct. 10 and a tribute to pianist and outgoing Frost faculty member Ivan Davis Oct. 11 featuring Berg and Frost musicians, with Davis performing Schumann’s Kinderszenen. Faculty composers will be featured Oct. 12 in the afternoon with pianist Ning An in music of Chopin the same evening. On Oct. 13, a co-presentation with Friends of Chamber Music of Miami will offer the Brahms and Schumann piano quintets performed by the all-star lineup of violinists Cho-Liang Lin and Adele Anthony, violist Roberto Diaz, cellist William De Rosa and pianist Joseph Kalichstein.

Week 2, “Jazz and Beyond,” will lead off with singer Tierney Sutton and the Frost’s Jazz Vocal I Ensemble Oct. 16, followed by the Joshua Redman Trio Oct. 17. The Frost Concert Jazz Band will be joined by saxophonist Eric Marienthal and trumpeter and new Frost faculty member Greg Gisbert Oct 18. Oct. 19 will bring an experimental evening of Latin electronica music by “DJ Le Spam and the Spam All-Stars.”

A bevy of pop and rock musicians will highlight the “Creative American Music” week. Several of Berg’s friends team up Oct. 23 at the BankUnited Center for a concert featuring UM alum Bruce Hornsby, Steve Miller, Patti Austin, Monica Mancini, Dave Koz, Ricky Skaggs and Jon Secada with the Frost’s new Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra. Hollywood songwriters and Oscar perennials Alan and Marilyn Bergman will be feted Oct. 25, and Frost students will have their chance with the traditional Emerging Young Composers event on Oct. 21 and a new Songwriter’s Showcase Oct. 22. Berg will also participate in a discussion of solo jazz piano history Oct. 26 with writer Buzz McCoy, and that evening the legendary bluesman Honeyboy Edwards will take the stage.

Latin music will be to the fore the final week, “Music of the Americas.” Author Nelson Faria and the Frost Studio Jazz Band will offer a survey of Brazilian musical styles Oct. 29, followed by an evening of tango with the Pablo Ziegler Trio Oct, 30, jazz pianist-bandleader Eddie Palmieri Oct. 31 and a salute to ballroom music and dance Nov. 1.

The festival will conclude with a two-night tribute to Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera (left). Luis Ascot will perform his Piano Concerto No. 1 with Thomas Sleeper and the Frost Symphony Orchestra. Soprano Virginia Correa Dupuy performs Ginastera songs with Berg at the piano. Also to be heard are the Pampeanas Nos. 1 and 2, the Lamentations of Jeremiah and the rarely performed Cantata para America magica for solo soprano and 53 percussion instruments.

Most events take place at Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Drive, Coral Gables on the UM campus. Tickets are $15-$200 and go on sale September 1. Call 305-274-4940 or visit

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Sat Aug 30, 2008
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