Based on the caliber of performance at the New World Symphony one might think they were in the presence of a professional orchestra. In fact, the NWS is an orchestral academy consisting of students from the top music schools in the country. Unlike other notable classical conservatories like Juilliard which are comprised of undergraduates, the NWS is the only postgraduate program providing a 3 year fellowship to the most distinctive learning experience around.
Since 1988, Ted Arison and Michael Tilson Thomas have dedicated themselves to musical excellence and innovations in programming. Most recently with the construction of the Gehry designed New World Center, the NWS is shaping the way classical music is taught and experienced.
The NWS’s fellowship program is unique because it encompasses more than just musical training. The faculty carefully considers what is integral to a young musician’s career. For example, every year a renowned psychologist is brought down to coach the students on how to mentally prepare for the audition process. Another example is how they train their students in public speaking. Fellows are encouraged to foster a relationship with the community and become advocates for their art. By learning how to speak to large audiences as well as groups of elementary school children, a sense of community and cultural connectivity is engendered. This unique training is why many NWS alumni fill prestigious positions and form foundations of their own.
The New World Symphony’s New World Center is an amazing performance facility that contains state of the art technology. Even on its exterior, the New World Center presents concerts by way of WALLCASTS. This consists of a live concert inside being projected on a 7000 square-foot wall. The accoustics are cutting age, transmitted by an audio system of 167 individually tuned speakers. The appeal is somewhat surprising- this is classical music after all! By inviting people to listen for free on the lawn, NWS is broadening the appeal and changing the perception of classical music.
Aside from the WALLCASTS, NWS’s unique programming includes the Mini- Concerts and the Pulse events. The Mini- Concert is a 30 minute, $2.50 shrunk down version of the traditional 2 hour format making it leaner and more digestible – especially if you are not a classical music aficionado. The PULSE events fuse classical and electronic music in a hip, nightclub environment. Inside the concert hall, the next Pulse event will occur Friday, January 18th when a DJ and a NWS fellow mash up their music styles.
As the New World Symphony prepares for its 25th season, we can expect them to challenge old precepts and experiment with new ones connecting yesterday with tomorrow. In honor of their first quarter century they will hold two public concerts on February 24th: one at 2:00 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m. After sundown they will begin projections on the wall revisiting images from the last 25 years. Don’t miss the fireworks!