MTT and the New World Symphony's 2017-18 Season Celebrates 30 Years of Training the Next Generation of Classical Musicians

MTT and the New World Symphony's 2017-18 Season Celebrates 30 Years of Training the Next Generation of Classical Musicians

With the launch of its 2017-18 season this fall, the New World Symphony, America's Orchestral Academy (NWS), led by Co-Founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), celebrates 30 years as the nation's most innovative training ground for the next generation of classical musicians, preparing its resident Fellows for professional careers through an experiential curriculum of hands-on training, live performance, and audience interaction. Throughout the 2017-18 season, NWS Fellows participate in a wide range of professional development activities-from attending workshops and classes to planning and executing their own classical music experiences-while also performing under MTT and with leading guest artists in the WALLCAST Concert Series, New Work event, Side-by-Side Concert, and other signature events at the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center.

"In the 30 years since the founding of the New World Symphony, I'm encouraged to see the multiple generations of NWS alumni that are spokespeople for a more engaged way of thinking about classical music," says MTT. "And though the integration of technology and experimentation with concert formats has increased, what has endured is a sense of personal contact throughout all of our programs and initiatives."

NWS President and CEO Howard Herring says, "In an environment that encourages innovation, New World Symphony's educational work challenges our Fellows to find the vibrant relationship between honoring the past and shaping the future of our art form."

The 2017-18 season comprises over 50 public performances and events and officially launches on October 14 with a WALLCAST concert conducted by MTT featuring pianist Yuja Wang.


Among the many opportunities for musical and professional growth offered to NWS Fellows are special initiatives in partnership with prominent educational institutions across the nation, including the Pratt Institute, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, USC Iovine and Young Academy, and Sphinx Organization, among others during the 2017-18 season.

On December 7, NWS and Brooklyn's Pratt Institute present their first exhibition of audio-visual installations and performances at the New World Center in conjunction with Art Basel, which stages the world's premier contemporary art fairs, including in Miami Beach. While NWS has always complemented the Miami Beach fair with its own programming, the partnership with Pratt transcends the purely musical to intersect with Art Basel's focus on new developments in the visual arts.

Each participating NWS Fellow partners with a team of three Pratt students to create a work of 5-10 minutes, blending chamber music, improvisation, and/or electronic music with video elements. Teams first met and worked together in Miami Beach this March, with follow-up workshops planned for the summer and fall in Brooklyn, as well as shortly before the exhibition. The projects will be overseen and coordinated by a coaching artist to be announced.

Launched in 1970, Art Basel holds annual fairs in Basel, Miami Beach (since 2002), and Hong Kong (since 2013). The 2017 Miami Beach fair is scheduled for December 6-10.

Commencing this fall, NWS and the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management's entrepreneurial program for all first-year Fellows combines classes and lectures with team-based development of an event, concert, online initiative, or small business. Areas of focus are open-ended, with teams able to pursue anything from the launch of a reed-making company to the formation of a genre-bending chamber group. Select proposals will be granted funding from NWS, allowing Fellows the opportunity to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into reality.

The classroom portion of the curriculum takes place from September to March. Led by NWS staff and leadership, Kellogg School professors, and special guest instructors-including notable NWS alumni-these sessions cover a range of topics including project development, leadership & relationships, promotion & marketing, negotiations, financials, and funding. Among the 2015-16 pilot season faculty were NWS Executive Vice President and Provost John Kieser, Kellogg School professor Gregg Latterman, and NWS alumni Gary Ginstling (Chief Executive Officer, National Symphony Orchestra), Rebekah Heller (bassoonist and Individual Giving Manager, International Contemporary Ensemble), and Mark Niehaus (Executive Director, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra).

On October 1 at the New World Center, NWS Percussion Fellows and students at the University of Southern California's Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation present the culminating event in a collaboration that blends NWS's musical expertise with insights from USC Academy students in the areas of design, technology, and cultural trends. The event features conductor and NWS Dean of Chamber Music and Fellow Development Michael Linville leading the Percussion Fellows in Steve Reich's Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ; George Crumb's Dream Sequence (Images II); and István Márta's Doll's House Story, augmented by theatrical and multimedia elements from students at the USC Academy, including projections, lighting, and costumes. The event also features an interactive pre-concert activity that allows attendees to play the instruments themselves, which will allow attendees to develop an understanding and appreciation of the skills required of the musicians during the performance. NWS Fellows and USC Academy students will host a post-concert social event to engage with the audience.

The collaboration is a joint learning opportunity for NWS Fellows and students of the Iovine and Young Academy, who together seek to create an event that will effectively attract and engage Millennials in a classical music experience, many of whom may be inexperienced with the art form. Throughout the 2016-17 season, NWS and its Fellows collaborated with USC Academy students in planning the event, including hosting them on their trip to Miami Beach in January to see the New World Center, contemplate its technology and potential integration in the event, visit and understand the surrounding communities and potential audiences, and meet in-person with NWS Fellows and administrators. USC Academy students visit Miami Beach again at the end of September to help with final preparations for the event, in which they will participate on October 1.

The Sphinx Organization returns for its annual residence at NWS in the week of September 25, including a performance on September 28, 7:30 PM at the New World Center. NWS has partnered with Sphinx for over a decade, seeking to share the organization's mission and message with the Miami community. Since 2004, NWS has featured the winner of the Sphinx Junior Division competition in its annual education concerts, attended by nearly 3,000 school children throughout Miami-Dade County and webcast to an additional 4,000 children. NWS also waives its application fee for Sphinx alumni who are auditioning for NWS fellowships. This year, five of NWS's 24 first-year Fellows are Latino or African American, and three of those five are alumni of the Sphinx program. Since 2008, NWS has also co-commissioned new works as part of the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium-an initiative to bring more music by Black and Latino composers into the concert hall-and for three of those years, Miami was the site of the world premiere. This year's commission, a work by composer Jimmy Lopez, receives its world premiere at the September 28 concert (click here to learn more).

During its residencies, members of the Sphinx Virtuosi work with students at Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor Elementary School, Miami Beach Senior High School, and Miami Northwestern Senior High School. All three schools are members of NWS's annual MusicLab program, in which Fellows work with music students in the school throughout a 26-week period, developing musical, teamwork, and interpersonal skills with the students and culminating in a performance by each school on the stage of the New World Center.

NWS again hosts the annual Network Performing Arts Production Workshop in late April 2018, designed to explore the evolving role of networking technology in supporting cultural performances. The workshop-a collaboration of Internet2, GÉANT (the European Research and Education Networking Association), GARR (Italian national research and education network), NWS, and other European national research and education networks-explores three main topics through a variety of hands-on demonstrations, events, and performances. The three topics are: (1) Outreach-facilitating outreach to new user communities in the arts and humanities by demonstrating the use of digital networks in supporting real-time musical, dance, and artistic performances; (2) Collaboration-identifying and supporting communities for the creation of collaborative research and performance opportunities; and (3) Knowledge Exchange-demonstrating specific audio, video, and lighting techniques, as well as hands-on experience with developing technologies and advancements in the field. NWS has hosted the annual workshop ten times since 2003, with other host sites including the Conservatorio Tartini (Trieste), IRCAM (Paris), The Liceu (Barcelona), Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien (Vienna), the Royal College of Music (London), and the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Copenhagen). Details about the conference in 2018, including agenda and presenters, will be announced in the fall.


Held every spring and led by MTT, the Side-by-Side Concert and Town Hall Master Class are central to NWS's efforts to engage young people with classical music, both as performers and listeners.

MTT conducts the 30th anniversary season's Side-by-Side Concert on April 28, leading an orchestra of young instrumentalists (grades 7-12) performing alongside NWS Fellows as part of the WALLCAST Concert Series. Approximately 50 students share the New World Center stage and develop musical relationships with the Fellows by rehearsing and performing a wide range of repertoire together. A single student musician is also chosen each year to perform in a concerto on the program.

Reflecting on the Side-by-Side Concert, MTT says, "These young people are dealing with music of great sophistication, and their level of performance is astonishing. I'm excited to see the success of this program and the passion that the Fellows bring to it." One student participant adds, "It was inspiring to be next to the NWS Fellows. They had so much advice, were so kind, and it was incredible to work with such great musicians, ultimately what we want to become."

NWS's Town Hall Master Class, traditionally led by MTT within days of the Side-by-Side Concert, is an open forum master class that uses technology to bring together NWS Fellows and middle- and high-school student performers from around the country. Scheduled for April 27, the 2018 master class explores the future of online music education, with young musicians in Atlanta and Nashville connecting and performing in live video via Internet2 distance-learning technology. Participants in Atlanta are part of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's Talent Development Program, while those in Nashville are involved in the Nashville Symphony's Accelerando initiative. Both programs are designed to prepare gifted young students of diverse backgrounds to pursue music at the collegiate level and beyond. According to MTT, the goal of the Town Hall Master Class and other NWS coaching initiatives is to foster "a larger community, a network through which musicians look out for one another and share their experiences."

The Side-by-Side Concert and Town Hall Master Class will be live-streamed and subsequently archived via NWS's online MUSAIC platform (, which offers free, 24/7 access to an extensive video catalog of classical musical instruction, advice, and insight.


Throughout each season, NWS Fellows are presented with numerous opportunities to develop their own projects with the guidance and support of NWS. These opportunities-which include the New Audience Fellow Initiative, Inside the Music, Solo Spotlight, and Musicians' Forum-are provided to further NWS's mission of developing its Fellows' self-sufficiency, audience awareness, and professional skills.

The New Audience Fellow Initiative (NAFI) broadens the Fellows' professional skill set to include not just preparing, rehearsing, and performing concerts, but also creating and producing them, guided by the full-time faculty and production staff of NWS, from concept to execution. Held at the New World Center for a paying audience, each NAFI concert targets a specific audience chosen by the producing Fellow, who is encouraged to make full use of the orchestra and the technological and aesthetic resources of the New World Center. In producing these events, the Fellows receive coaching and mentorship at each stage of artistic production, including in the areas of programming, library, marketing, public relations, production, corporate development, front-of-house, and audience evaluation. NAFI launched with two programs in the 2015-16 season, and in 2017-18, events are planned for January 5 and March 2.

Held at the New World Center's SunTrust Pavilion, Inside the Music events are hour-long, Fellow-led mini-seminars that explore a particular theme, mixing chamber music performance with on-stage presentation. Audience members are also encouraged to participate by asking questions and taking part in post-performance discussions. This season, these events take place on November 7, December 12, February 13, March 20, and May 1.

Solo Spotlights afford the Fellows the opportunity to curate their own solo recital programs at the SunTrust Pavilion. In addition to performing, Fellows may also incorporate lectures on the music into the program. In 2017-18, Solo Spotlights are scheduled for November 13, January 22, March 5, and April 2.

In addition to developing full-length programs, the Fellows may also reserve time to perform a single work at a NWS Musicians' Forum, a showcase-style event allowing multiple Fellows to demonstrate their musicianship as well as deliver a short introductory overview of the work prior to their performance. Four Musicians' Forums are held each year at the New World Center, and this season, they are scheduled for November 6, February 26, March 26, and April 23.

With the exception of NAFI concerts, all of the above are free, ticketed events.

Additionally, select performances are led by NWS Conducting Fellow Dean Whiteside, including the NWS Education Concerts on November 2 and 3; PULSE: Late Night at the New World Symphony on November 17 and March 16; Sounds of the Season on December 15 and 16 (including a WALLCAST concert); and Concerts for Kids on November 5 and March 18.

All of the above events at the SunTrust Pavilion will be live-streamed and subsequently archived via NWS's online MUSAIC platform (, which offers free, 24/7 access to an extensive video catalog of classical musical instruction, advice, and insight.


Now in its sixth year, the WALLCAST Concert Series, presented by Citi, offers 11 free outdoor simulcasts of live concerts performed inside the New World Center. Live video from the concert hall is projected onto the Center's 7,000-square-foot front façade and viewed from adjacent SoundScape Park, which was designed as an extension of the Center and is equipped with over 160 Meyer Sound speakers for an immersive sound experience. Through the WALLCAST Concert Series, NWS Fellows play a central role in NWS's broad effort to reach new listeners, reaching more diverse audiences than those at traditional concerts in terms of age, ethnicity, and income (click here for WolfBrown's study of the WALLCAST series' impact and demographics).

Highlights of the 2017-18 WALLCAST Concert Series include the MTT-led season opener with pianist Yuja Wang; the world premiere of NWS's Project 305 commission (details below); the annual Side-by-Side Concert (details above); additional concerts led by guest conductors Stéphane Denève, James Gaffigan, Edwin Outwater, Jeanette Sorrell (at the harpsichord), and Mark Wigglesworth and featuring guest soloists Leif Ove Andsnes (piano), Nicola Benedetti (violin), Johannes Moser (cellist), and Nicky Spence (tenor).

The WALLCAST experience is being enhanced by NWS's ongoing, end-to-end 4K Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) upgrade of its video infrastructure, which will allow for sharper images and more realistic color. This past season, NWS completed Phase I of the upgrade, in which a dozen 4K UHD cameras were installed in partnership with Hitachi Kokusai Electric America. In transitioning to 4K, NWS not only takes a leading role in bringing this new technology to the world of classical music, but also becomes one of the first cultural institutions in any field to fully adopt the format across all of its major programming.

Attendance at SoundScape Park is free and does not require a ticket, and special accommodations are available for concertgoers with Sensory Processing and Autism Spectrum Disorders through NWS's Sensory-Friendly Environment initiative (click here to learn more).


Reflecting the city of Miami through the eyes and ears of its residents, NWS's Project 305 culminates in an October 21 WALLCAST concert headlined by the world premiere of composer TEd Hearne and filmmaker/video artist Jonathan David Kane's crowdsourced, multimedia symphony, developed under the artistic direction of MTT, who conducts the premiere. Modeled after the collaborative City Symphonies of composer and inventor Tod Machover, who is also involved in Project 305, the new work blends audio and video submitted by the Miami public with live performance, the incorporation of crowdsourced video marking a new development in the collaborative symphony concept. Through participation in Project 305, NWS Fellows gain direct exposure to an ambitious, 21st-century approach to connecting communities and symphony orchestras.

From January 31 to May 19, 2017, NWS accepted audio and video submissions from the Miami public through the Project 305 web site ( and iPhone/Android app, designed by the MIT Media Lab. Mr. Hearne, Mr. Kane, and Mr. Machover also engaged with the Miami community directly through workshops and other local events designed to help the public capture and produce submissions for the project.

Project 305 is a partnership between NWS, the Knight Foundation, and the MIT Media Lab.


The Sounds of the Times concert series underscores NWS's dedication to engaging its Fellows with contemporary and newly commissioned repertoire by today's leading artists. The 2017-18 series comprises three programs.

On February 3, MTT leads the seventh annual New Work event, a format featuring new pieces from high-profile and developing artists across a range of genres, intersecting music with theater, dance, poetry, video, lighting, and other art forms. New Work simultaneously provides an outlet for artists, a forum for audiences to experience new works by those artists, and the ability for NWS Fellows to work alongside contemporaries in a variety of genres, bringing their works to life.

Previous New Work events have featured premieres by composers Samuel Carl Adams, Timo Andres, Marcos Balter, Oscar Bettison, Zosha Di Castri, Ian Dicke, Sean Friar, Michael Gordon, TEd Hearne, Bruce Hornsby, Amy Beth Kirsten, Alex Orfaly, John Supko, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Cynthia Lee Wong; filmmakers/video artists Tyler Adams, Adam Larsen, Bill Morrison, Clyde Scott, and Pascual Sisto; visual artist Merja Nieminen; audio artist James Andean; poets Malachi Black, Joshua Mehigan, and Roger Reeves; choreographer Justin Peck; playwrights Joe Tracz and Lauren Yee; and lighting designer Luke Kritzeck.

This season's Sounds of the Times series also includes a December 9 program, "Myths and Mysteries"-led by conductor Jeffrey Milarsky and featuring Magnus Lindberg's Joy and the East Coast premiere of Steven Mackey's Mnemosyne's Pool, a NWS co-commission with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra-and a March 31 program, "John Adams and the Sounds of America"-conducted and curated by John Adams and featuring his own Tromba Iontana, David Lang's Mountain, Timo Andres's The Blind Banister, the East Coast premiere of Ingram Marshall's Flow, and Samuel Adams's many words of love, with pianists Timo Andres and Jonathan Biss performing as soloists on the program.


Launched in January 2011, PULSE: Late Night at the New World Symphony, NWS's alternative concert format mixing lounge-style lighting, art videos, and alternating DJ sets with performances by the orchestra of both older repertoire and more recent works, continues in the 2017-18 season with events at the New World Center on November 17 and January 19. The atmosphere at PULSE is casual, and guests are encouraged to stay "plugged in" to the digital discourse via social media as the event unfolds. DJ sets, spun by guest Miami DJs, are interspersed around and in between the traditional and contemporary orchestral programs, culminating each night with the premiere of a work composed for full orchestra and DJ. With ensembles around the nation increasingly seeking to reach a younger and more diverse audience, participation in PULSE prepares Fellows for this important aspect of being an effective 21st-century musician.


Each season, NWS Fellows benefit from the experience of performing in a variety of orchestral and chamber music concerts. In addition to gaining in-depth exposure to the traditional and modern repertoire, Fellows grow as musicians and professionals by working alongside-and under the baton of-MTT and NWS's world-class guest artists, whether in concert or in master classes.

In the 2017-18 season, the first orchestral performance is the season opener led by MTT on October 14 and 15, featuring works by Rimsky-Korsakov and Prokofiev, as well as Rachmaninoff's Fourth Piano Concerto and Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto with soloist Yuja Wang. MTT also conducts the Project 305 world premiere, featuring music by TEd Hearne to a corollary film by Jonathan David Kane, on October 21; works by Schubert, Webern, and Mendelssohn on October 27; works by Schubert and Mendelssohn, as well as Richard Strauss's Don Quixote featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violist Jonathan Vinocour, on October 28; the New Work event on February 3; the NWS Gala on February 10; works by Xenakis and Stravinsky, as well as Debussy's Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra featuring Leif Ove Andsnes, on February 17 and 18; the Side-by-Side Concert on April 28; and works by Mahler and Ligeti on May 5 and 6.

Performances led by guest conductors include Mark Wigglesworth conducting Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Britten's Les Illuminations with tenor Nicky Spence, and Elgar's First Symphony on November 11 and 12; James Gaffigan conducting Sibelius's Fourth Symphony, Szymanowski's Second Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti, and Copland's Suite from Appalachian Spring on December 2 and 3; Robert Spano conducting Barber's First Symphony on January 12, Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony on January 13, and Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto with Yefim Bronfman on both evenings; Pablo Heras-Casado conducting Ligeti's Romanian Concerto, Liszt's Les Préludes, and Brahms's Third Symphony on February 23, with Bartók's Second Violin Concerto featuring Gil Shaham replacing the Ligeti work on a February 24 performance of the program; Jeanette Sorrell leading from the harpsichord in a Baroque program of Telemann's Grillen-Symphonie, Vivaldi's Concerto in A minor for Two Violins, and J.S. Bach's Second Orchestral Suite and Second & Fifth Brandenburg Concertos on March 10 and 11; Edwin Outwater conducting the NWS Concerto Showcase on March 24 and 25, featuring selected Fellows as soloists; and Stéphane Dénève conducting Berlioz's Overture to Benvenuto Cellini, Saint-Saëns's First Cello Concerto with Johannes Moser, the U.S. premiere of Guillaume Connesson's E chiaro nella valle il fiume appare, and Respighi's Pines of Rome on April 7 and 8, followed by an all-Ravel program on April 14.

Two programs in the 2017-18 Sounds of the Times series are also led by guest conductors. Jeffrey Milarsky conducts Magnus Lindberg's Joy and the East Coast premiere of Steven Mackey's NWS co-commission Mnemosyne's Pool on December 9, and John Adams conducts his own Tromba Iontana, David Lang's Mountain, Timo Andres's The Blind Banister, the East Coast premiere of Ingram Marshall's Flow, and Samuel Carl Adams's many words of love on March 31, with pianists Timo Andres and Jonathan Biss featured as soloists.

NWS Fellows will have opportunities to perform as part of the season's Chamber Music Series in concerts of works by John Rutter, Joan Tower, and Tchaikovsky, featuring NWS alumni Brook Ferguson (flute), Kevin Pearl (oboe), and Leonid Sigal (violin), on October 8; Johann Strauss Jr., Brett Dean, and Brahms, featuring violist Lawrence Dutton, on November 19; works by Rautavaara, Mozart, Paul Chihara, and Haydn, led by violinist Alexander Kerr, on December 17; works by Poulenc, Chausson, André Caplet, and Saint-Saëns, featuring soprano Michelle Bradley, on January 21; works by Britten, Shostakovich, Carlos Chávez, Ginastera, and Copland, featuring violinist Daniel Ching, on March 4; and works by John Luther Adams, Michael Torke, and Schubert, featuring cellist Sharon Robinson, on April 22.

About New World Symphony

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary season, 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 1,000 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

For ticketing and subscription information, visit the New World Symphony's Events & Tickets web page or contact the New World Symphony Box Office by phone via 305-673-3331 or email at

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