New World Symphony to chart new videocentric course with opening of Gehry hall next season

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The New World Symphony announced details of the inaugural season in its new Frank Gehry-designed campus Tuesday night at a press conference, marking not only several additional musical initiatives, but a strong emphasis on video.

Last November, the orchesatra received a $75,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to “transform the way the audience experiences live classical music by projecting video and/or images choreographed to specific pieces during performances” and several such projections will be presented in conjunction with live musical performances in the 2010-2011 season.

The ceremonial opening of the New World’s yet-to-be-named new home will take place January 25, kicking off six days of events, including concerts led by artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas as well as a commissioned work of video art by Tal Rosner and Casey Reas, to be projected on the building’s exterior wall. The mutating mural, assembled from thousands of photographs of the new building over the course of its construction will be punctuated by “hourly videographic ‘events’ ” marking the top of each hour.

The opening concerts in January will include the world premiere of a new work by British composer Thomas Adès, co-commissioned by the New World Symphony and several other international orchestras. The Ades work will also be accompanied by another work of video art by Rosner. The concerts on January 26 and 28 will also feature MTT and the New World Symphony performing Copland’s Third Symphony.

January 27 will bring a new regular initiative called Journey Concerts, presented in a format designed to exploit the resources of the Gehry hall. Entitled “A Schubert Journey,” this concert will feature Schubert works in various genres including for orchestra, instrumental ensembles, chorus, piano and solo voice. This three-part concert will use the hall’s main stage in addition to four additional platforms, with unbroken movement from one work to the next. Joining MTT and the New World Symphony will be soprano Laura Aikin, pianist Jeremy Denk, violinist Joel Smirnoff, and the University of Miami Symphonic Choir and Frost Chorale.

On January 30, the New World Symphony will present Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, accompanied simultaneously by eleven short films made by current students and recent graduates of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

There will also be a new initiative called Discovery Concerts for young people, which will also feature background video as well as spoken narration. Jamie Bernstein ,daughter of conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein, will be the host of the New World Symphony’s Discovery Concerts, which will premiere Feb 11 and 12 with a program entitled “Igor Stravinsky: Revolution/Evolution.”

Bernstein will write the concert narrations and oversee the development of video elements produced for them.  She will also act in her new role as communications consultant to the New World Symphony in the expansion of the $2.50 Mini-Concerts, which will become a regular feature of the organization’s programming.

In addition to the Journey Concerts, the New World Symphony will present a South Beach-centric musical-social hybrid called “Pulse: Late Night at the New World Symphony,” to be launched on February 25. The building’s performance hall, atrium and rooftop garden will be converted into a nightclub-style setting. Mercury Soul—consisting of conductor Benjamin Shwartz and DJ and Chicago Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence Mason Bates along with New World members,  will offer performances of “theatrically enhanced contemporary classical music integrated into an evening-long set of DJ-spun electronica.” As the orchestra’s release states, “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.”

Posted in News

Leave a Comment

Tue May 4, 2010
at 9:48 pm
No Comments