From April 26 to 28, the New World Symphony in Miami Beach is looking hard at the way technology is changing music, and how the group itself is part of that equation. NWS is hosting the annual Network Performing Arts Production Workshop, which connects people from the arts, technology and education.
New World's building, designed by Frank Gehry, and the adjacent park are testament to some big technological shifts in classical arts. Its fellows take master classes with musicians across the world via Internet 2, and the popular Wallcasts -- the real-time, high-definition projections of concerts onto the wall facing the park -- use 14 cameras inside the concert hall and 167 speakers out in the park. It's like a digital Tanglewood.
The non-profit organization is an orchestra, but also an academic institution. All its players are on a three-year fellowship, out of college, grad school or conservatory, and young -- mostly in their twenties. And a lot of what New World does is different from the way things are done in traditional classical music.
Alongside concerts of Mahler and Tchaikovsky -- often performed under the baton of artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas -- there are late-night concerts in club-like atmospheres, 30-minute concerts for people who don’t want to sit through a whole long thing, concerts for people who like yoga, and the concerts for bicyclists.
The conversation about how to cultivate new audiences for classical music has been happening for at least a quarter-century. Probably longer. And all of this is aimed at developing new experiences within music for the sake of art, yes, but also at getting people to show up. Take a look at the photo of the Wallcast in the slideshow above. People are showing up.