New World Symphony is holding its season opener by going “off the wall” in grand fashion.
The concert this coming Saturday, October 12 will mark the symphony’s 100th Wallcast. Eight years ago, the orchestral academy led by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas started its free outdoor simulcasts of live concerts performed inside the New World Center in Miami Beach. Live video from the hall is projected onto the Center's 7,000 square-foot eastern facade and viewed from the adjacent SoundScape Park.
Saturday night’s concert will be the first time the audience will see the show in 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD). That means a sharper picture and higher frame rates that keep the onscreen details crisp.
So if you're one of the musicians and know that your image is being projected in sharp resolution on that giant screen, how does that affect your performance?
"Surprisingly, it doesn't bother us too much," says horn player Scott Leger, a New World Symphony fellow. "The cameras are on stage and they're like our colleagues, in a way. They're there participating in the music and we're there just making it."
The camera work is just as carefully orchestrated as the music. Clyde Scott, New World Symphony's Director of Video Production and resident Projection Designer, says an 800-shot script is drawn up well before the filming of each wallcast.
"We spend upwards of 100 hours going through the music and figuring out precisely what should shown at what time and how it should be shown," says Scott.
The city of Miami Beach also uses the projection wall for its SoundScape Cinema Series, where the audience can view movies for free every Wednesday night at 8 pm.
On Wallcast nights, the viewing area in SoundScape park is generally filled with people who secure a spot by spreading a picnic blanket on the grass or bringing their own folding chairs. One can dress for comfort, move around freely and interact with friends and strangers without the strict concert hall etiquette that governs most indoor classical venues.
NWS fellow Scott Leger says the ability of the audience to enjoy the concert on what he calls "their own terms," might be useful in drawing younger audiences to classical music venues.
"I think that's the most important thing for young people coming to these concerts -- is to make sure that they feel comfortable," says Leger.
A 2016 independent study commissioned by New World Symphony supports those views. It found that attendees for Wallcast concerts are both younger and more ethnically diverse than those who attend traditional concerts.
If you go
New World Symphony Season Opener
Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor
Daniil Trifonox, Piano
Chad Goodman, Conductor
- Beethoven : Overture to Egmont
- Scriabin : Piano Concerto
- Berlioz : Selections from Romeo and Juliet
WHEN: Saturday, October 12, 2019
WALLCAST® Concert at 7:30 PM
WHERE: SoundScape Park
500 17 Street Miami Beach, FL 33139
Admission is free for SoundScape Park events, while tickets to New World Symphony concerts vary in price.
For ticket information, please visit nws.edu.