Led by Co-Founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas, the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), is taking its curriculum beyond Miami to include community engagement in New York City and performances at Carnegie Hall. These activities are part of an experiential curriculum that each year immerses NWS’s resident Fellows in hands-on training, live performance, and audience interaction.
“With last year’s 30th anniversary celebrations now past, we at the New World Symphony look ahead to another 30 years of preparing our Fellows to be leaders and influencers in the field of classical music,” said Michael Tilson Thomas. “Next spring, I have the special pleasure of conducting our orchestra at Carnegie Hall as part of my second Perspectives series, and I am greatly looking forward to this opportunity for more people to experience the Fellows’ artistic excellence and devotion to their audience and community.”
In addition to learning through performances and master classes, Fellows participate in a wide range of professional development activities, from attending workshops and classes to planning and executing their own classical music experiences. Key initiatives this season include the Community Projects program, through which Fellows develop their own initiatives that engage with the public, whether digitally or in-person in South Florida, outside of the New World Center; and an entrepreneurial curriculum in partnership with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Colorado-based Blue Wing Consulting, designed to equip Fellows with music business, collaboration, innovation, and leadership skills, as taught by experts in various fields.
“New World Symphony honors the past and shapes the future,” said President and CEO Howard Herring. “Our return to Carnegie Hall gives our Fellows a chance to touch history. In the South Florida community, we are redefining the relevance of symphonic music in the performance hall and across Miami, as our Fellows share the traditions of classical music with as many people as possible.”
NWS also fosters a spirit of inclusion and diversity in classical music through programs that provide access and training to musicians in underrepresented or underserved communities. Continuing this season is the recently launched National Alliance for Audition Support, a partnership with The Sphinx Organization and the League of American Orchestras that aims to increase diversity in orchestras through a series of programs and funding for Black and Latinx musicians. NWS also increases opportunities for musicians internationally through its cross-cultural exchange programs that bring musicians in Brazil and Colombia to the New World Center.
Carnegie Hall Performances And Partnerships
The New World Symphony returns to Carnegie Hall in spring 2019 for two programs conducted by Thomas as part of his 2018-19 Carnegie Hall Perspectives series, which reflects his multifaceted career and commitment to shaping the future of classical music. These two performances, on May 1 and 2, conclude the series and feature pianist and fellow 2018-19 Perspectives artist Yuja Wang. The orchestra, conducted by Thomas, last performed at Carnegie Hall in April 2015. Thomas was previously honored over a two-season period as a Perspectives artist during Carnegie Hall’s 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.
National Alliance For Audition Support
In April 2018, the New World Symphony joined The Sphinx Organization and the League of American Orchestras in announcing their new partnership, the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS), which is a field-wide initiative with the long-term goal of increasing diversity in American orchestras. Supported by a four-year, $1.8 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Alliance offers a holistic and personalized array of support to Black and Latinx musicians to develop their audition skills, increase their participation in auditions, and ultimately, increase their representation in orchestras.
One of NWS’s key contributions to the initiative is its expertise in the area of audition training. Honed over decades of preparing NWS Fellows for the audition process with professional orchestras, NWS’s unique curriculum in this area informs the training offered through NAAS, including peak-performance psychology training, mock auditions, and individual lessons.
Utilizing these and other educational strategies, NAAS formally launched with a three-day Audition Intensive at the New World Center, June 6-8, 2018. The eighteen pre-to-early professional Black and Latinx string musicians selected to participate had the opportunity to work in group and individual settings with professional musicians who understand the audition process, including members of the Dallas and Seattle Symphonies and faculty of The Juilliard School and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
During the 2018-19 season, NWS continues to strategize with its NAAS partners and will be involved in NAAS-related activities both at the New World Center and in Detroit at the annual SphinxConnect conference. Held in February 2019, the conference includes the Sphinx Orchestral Partners Auditions (SOPA), through which the June 2018 Audition Intensive participants were selected.
Sounds Of The Times
The Sounds of the Times concert series underscores the New World Symphony’s dedication to engaging its Fellows and audiences with contemporary and newly commissioned repertoire by today’s leading artists. The 2018-19 series comprises three programs and includes U.S. premieres of works by Gavin Bryars and David Lang.
On September 29, NWS Dean of Chamber Music and Fellow Development Michael Linville conducts the U.S. premiere of Gavin Bryars’s New York (2004), a concerto for solo percussion quintet and chamber orchestra. The work reflects the composer’s conviction that “the family of keyboard percussion is as important as, say, the string family, and a great percussion ensemble … [is] as musically subtle and expressive as a well-seasoned string quartet.” The program also features selections from Martin Matalon’s Le Scorpion (2002), for percussion sextet, piano, and electronics, a contemporary soundtrack to Luis Buñuel’s 1930 film L’âge d’or, selections from which will be screened during the performance.
The series continues with the December 8 WALLCAST® concert in which Brad Lubman conducts the U.S. premiere of David Lang’s harmony and understanding (2018), an NWS co-commission. For details, see WALLCAST® Concert Series above. The program also includes John Adams’s Harmonielehre (1985), and occurs during the international art fair Art Basel Miami Beach.
Composer-conductor Matthias Pintscher leads the orchestra in the final, February 16performance of the series. The program features Ligeti’s San Francisco Symphony (1974), Olga Neuwirth’s Masaot/Clocks without Hands (2013), and Mr. Pintscher’s own work, mar’eh (2011), featuring violinist Renaud Capuçon as soloist.
About New World Symphony
The New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), prepares graduates of music programs for leadership roles in professional orchestras and ensembles. Since its co-founding in 1987 by Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and Lin and Ted Arison, NWS has helped launch the careers of more than 1,100 alumni worldwide.
A laboratory for the way music is taught, presented, and experienced, the New World Symphony consists of 87 young musicians who are granted fellowships lasting up to three years. The fellowship program offers in-depth exposure to traditional and contemporary repertoire, professional development training, and personalized experiences working with leading guest conductors, soloists, and visiting faculty. Relationships with these artists are extended through NWS’s extensive distance-learning via the Internet.
NWS Fellows benefit from the innovative performance facilities and state-of-the art practice and ensemble rooms of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, the campus of the New World Symphony.
In the hopes of joining NWS, more than 1,500 recent music school and conservatory graduates compete for about 35 available fellowships each year. The Fellows are selected for this highly competitive, prestigious opportunity based on their musical achievement and promise, as well as their passion for the future of classical music.
For more information about the New World Symphony, visit nws.edu.