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Performing Arts and Culture

Written by judyholm on . Posted in PERFORMING ARTS

Performing Arts and Culture

 The quality of performing arts is often the barometer of culture in a city.  Miami, with its meteoric rise of visual arts, is also rapidly developing as a strong metropolitan center for performing arts and other cultural endeavors.  In addition to the municipal support the arts, but an impressive group of corporations, individual impresarios and philanthropists are making significant contributions to the art scene in Miami.

The cities of Miami and Miami Beach are not only home to some critically acclaimed cultural companies, but they also regularly welcome several premier companies – such as the Cleveland Orchestra and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. 

 Miami is literally filled with music, theatrical performances and dance – indoors and in public.  From jam sessions that fill the streets during art walks and other occasions, to the New World Center’s WALLCAST™ outdoor projections of symphony, dance and film, there is so much to enjoy.  One of the Miami’s urban musical highlights is The Overtown Music Project, which celebrates the rich history of jazz and blues that historically emanated from the Overtown neighborhood, and creates innovative performances in various venues throughout the year.

In further support of the arts, the cities host a number of festivals and community events that showcase art throughout the year.  This section highlights the preeminent companies and performance venues, whereas specific programs and events will be highlighted regularly in the “events” and “highlights” sections of the guide.

The Artistic Companies:


The New World Symphony

500 17th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Tel +1 305 673 3330



Miami City Ballet

2200 Liberty Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
tel +1 305 929 7000       



Florida Grand Opera link

The Doral Center

8390 NW 25th Street Miami, FL 33122

tel +1 305 854 1643



Miami Theater Company

9806 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, FL 33138
tel +1 305 751 9550      


Performance Venues

The New World Center

500 17th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139

tel +1 305 673 3331      


Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami FL 33132

tel +1 305 949 6722


 The Fillmore

1700 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139
+1 305 673 7300

The New World Symphony

Written by judyholm on . Posted in PERFORMING ARTS

The New World Symphony and the New World Center

In 2013, the New World Symphony (NWS) celebrates its 25 year anniversary.  The NWS was founded by and thrives under the brilliant leadership of Michael TilsonThomas, or “MTT”.  Tilson Thomas not only conducts the NWS, he is also the musical director of the San Francisco Symphony, and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.  He has received ten Grammy awards.

The symphony was created in 1987 as an orchestral academy for young musicians to develop and challenge top young talent in classical music, by providing them a unique forum to learn, grow and perform.  Each year, thirty three-year fellowships are awarded to graduates of leading universities and music schools. The orchestra performs approximately seventy concerts a year.

Moving a few blocks away to Collins Avenue from its original home on Lincoln Road, the NWS now practices, prepares and performs in the New World Center, which opened with much celebration in January, 2011.  This venue is a testament to the international interest and attention as an important metropolitan area. Designed by star-chitect Frank Gehry with total vision to the future and incorporating extremely cutting-edge technology, the programming at the New World Center includes not only the performances of the NWS, but also a blend of cultural programs.  Performances are often preceded by an introduction from one or some of the musicians, or someone connected to the performance. The venue is designed to delight the senses, with an infusion of visual components in the theater and outside with simulcast.  In conjunction with the City of Miami Beach, the WALLCAST™ SoundScape events (also presenting film, theater and dance performances) feature a striking use of visual and audio technology on a soaring, 7,000-square-foot projection wall. WALLCAST™ events are free and do not require a ticket.

Adrienne Arsht Center

Written by judyholm on . Posted in PERFORMING ARTS

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, (The Arsht Center)

In October 2006, Miami became home to the largest performing arts center in Florida.  It was originally named the Carnival Center (for the cruise line), and renamed the Arsht Center in 2008 for the support provided by philanthropist Adrienne Arsht.

Located at the juxtaposition of Downtown Miami and Miami Beach, at Biscayne and the 5th Street Causeway, the Arsht Center represents the depth and breadth of performing arts in the categories of dance, music, opera and theater. The Center consists primarily of two large halls which seat 2,400 guests for ballet and opera, and 2,200 for symphonic and other musical performances.  More intimate spaces are also on site, to allow for a full range of production.

The season begins in October and runs through the end of February, featuring performances by the resident companies: the Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony.

Additionally, there are series of works throughout the season by a multitude of diverse artistic companies- including the following highlights:

Music: The Cleveland Orchestra, Knight Masterworks Classical Music and Pop, Jazz Roots. 

Dance: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Austin, Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia

Theater: “Broadway in Miami” is a series of seven Broadway classics, as well as several other independent Tony award-winning productions and contemporary comedies and dramas. 

Miami City Ballet (MCB)

Written by judyholm on . Posted in PERFORMING ARTS

Miami City Ballet (MCB)

Not surprisingly, and when compared to many international ballet companies, MCB is quite young.  The company made its debut in October, 1986, at Miami’s Gusman Center for the Performing Arts.

Since 2000, the company – its dancers, administration, ballet school and rehearsal studios, have been ensconced in the beautiful custom-designed building at 2200 Liberty Avenue in Miami Beach, just across the street from the Bass Museum.

The building was design by of the award-winning architect, Bernardo Fort-Brescia of ARQUITECTONICA.

Where They Perform

The Company has four home counties in South Florida: Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Collier (and there is the resident ballet company at the Naples Philharmonic Center).

The Company

The year 2012 marks the beginning of a new chapter.  Founding Artistic Director Edward Villella left the company, and will be replaced for the first time in the history of the company.

Edward Villella is largely considered one of the finest male ballet dancers, and performed brilliantly during his long career with the New York City Ballet (1957-1975). His background with the New York City Ballet and choreographer George Balanchine reflects greatly on the MCB style and direction.

Miami welcomes Lourdes Lopez as its new Artistic Director.  Though she lived for many years in New York, where most recently she directed Morphoses, a dance company she co-founded with Christopher Wheeldon, she has deep connections to Miami. Born in Havana, Cuba, Ms. Lopez was raised in Miami until she moved to New York on a full scholarship to the Joffrey School.

Ms. Lopez had an illustrious career as a ballerina, and danced for twenty four years with the New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.  Her experience is perfectly aligned to transition the legacy of Edward Villella as she moves the company forward.

Like most ballet companies, the dancers of MCB have diverse international backgrounds and training. Their former companies include Boston Ballet, National Ballet of Caracas, National Ballet of Cuba, Deutsche Opera Berlin, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet and National Ballet of China.  Their training ranges from the School of American Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the schools of the Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Miami City Ballet School.

The company has toured across the United States and has danced in more than 100 U.S. cities. Internationally, MCB has performed in Europe, Great Britain, South America, Central America, and Israel, Most recently, Miami City Ballet made its Paris debut at the Theatre du Chatelet (Les Etes de la Danse) in July 2011.

The School

The Miami City Ballet School, which opened in Miami Beach in January 1993, trains students for a professional career in ballet. The School has an enrollment of more than 350 students, and accepts all qualified dancers, regardless of their financial situation. 

Miami Theater Company

Written by judyholm on . Posted in PERFORMING ARTS

Miami Theater Company (formerly named the PlayGround Theatre)

This theater company was founded in 2004 by Artistic Director Stephanie Ansin, with the mission to produce and present classical and contemporary works that entertain, educate, and delight a full range of audiences. Their productions emphasize intellectual, emotional, and social development while reflecting the cultural diversity of South Florida.

Their pieces reflect the international flavor of Miami and expose audiences to not only American modern classics such as Sam Shepard, but also to the literature, art, and culture of other countries – including Russia, China, England, Colombia, Italy.

A strong component of the company is their connection to the local community and education.  The Theatre Inclusion Program (TIP) provides access to all children and adults.  This innovative program was designed so that all children – those with special needs as well as those without – can enjoy a performance together.  Special accommodations are made so that children with sensory, motor, cognitive and other developmental challenges can enjoy the performance, allowing them to have a sense of empowerment and inclusion.  All children and their families will ultimately gain greater understanding of, sensitivity to and empathy for others. 

Workshops, classes, and camps offer theater education in a variety of venues throughout the community, such as parks, schools, and hospitals, in addition to their own theater location. View to map.

Florida Grand Opera (FGO)

Written by judyholm on . Posted in PERFORMING ARTS

Florida Grand Opera (FGO)

 The FGO was formed in June 1994 by the merger of Greater Miami Opera, founded in 1941, and The Opera Guild Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, founded in 1945. The company performs each season in both Dade and Broward counties. In Miami (Dade County) the FGO is a resident company of The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, in the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House. Fort Lauderdale performances are given at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. 

The origins of FGO are through the 1941 founding of The Greater Miami Opera by Dr. Arturo di Filippi, a voice teacher at the University of Miami. Throughout the years, the company has welcomed many internationally acclaimed artists including Robert Merrill, Dorothy Kirsten, Richard Tucker, Renata Tebaldi, Roberta Peters, Franco Corelli, Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballe, Jon Vickers, Sherrill Milnes, Nicolai Gedda, Birgit Nilsson, Anna Moffo, Plácido Domingo, Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland, Evelyn Lear, James Morris, Thomas Stewart, Diana Soviero, Justino Diaz, Simon Estes, Elizabeth Futral, Helen Donath, Deborah Voigt, and Fernando de la Mora. Luciano Pavarotti made his American debut in 1965 with the company’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor.

Integral components of the FGO are to train emerging opera professionals and to educate young people about opera, while embracing the diverse cultural heritage in South Florida .The company supports the community through several established education programs, including the School Dress Rehearsal Program. Their Young Artist Studio program nurtures gifted young singers and helps them evolve through their training at universities and music conservatories into accomplished professional opera singers.


The “New” New World Center…

Written by judyholm on . Posted in PERFORMING ARTS

The “New” New World Center… Twenty-five Years in the Making,

Celebrates its First Year Anniversary

Excerpts from article published in the Miami Beach News 2/9/12 by Judy Holm

 “What I hope is that the intensity of this experience will stick with people, that it will inspire all they encounter in life.” Michael Tilson Thomas

The New World Center, which debuted on January 25, 2011, marks the centerpiece jewel of performing arts for Miami Beach.  The elegant and dramatic Gehry-designed concert hall is a most suitable home to the spectacular vision of modern performances created under the brilliant direction of its mastermind and highly- awarded conductor and artistic director, Michael Tilson Thomas.  In addition to conducting the New World Symphony (NWS) orchestra, and his dedication to helping young artists hone their talent, Tilson Thomas has earned ten Grammy Awards, is the musical director of the San Francisco Symphony, and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Some years ago, I had the immense pleasure of listening to Mr. Tilson Thomas play the piano in his studio loft on Lincoln Road- above the former home of the NWS.  That evening is one of the highlights of my life, in the close and intimate setting, transported by the music, in the presence of this great man.  His vision and talents are simply remarkable.  His contributions to the future of classical music are inestimable.

The NWS, now housed in the New World Center, was created by Tilson Thomas in 1987 as an orchestral academy for young musicians.  The NWS provides a prestigious and rare opportunity for highly talented young musicians to fast-track their careers. Each year, they provide thirty three-year fellowships to graduates of leading universities and music schools. The orchestra performs approximately seventy concerts a year.

The launching of the new Center last year has more firmly placed Miami Beach on the map as a cultural destination.  The range and depth of programs, with the savvy means of appealing to people of all ages and demographics, is the hallmark of a cultural institution that plays the most important role imaginable of creating a future audience for classical music, and other forms of performing arts, for generations to come.

The programming ranges from traditional, to new world, new age, with amazing audio-visual layers that utterly delight the senses.  Performances are often accompanied by preview lectures given by visiting guests and by the young and uber-talented musicians alike, rendering the performances more vivid and personal.

Music performed by the NWS comes alive, presenting the audiences classical performances in a modern and memorable format. 


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