New World Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas directed the creation of the New World Symphony in 1987, and during its two decades the organization has earned a reputation for bold programming. From attracting guest artists such as cello superstar Yo-Yo Ma, to presenting progressive, twentieth-century works such as Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, the orchestra continues to dazzle music insiders as well as newer fans. Thomas came to the New World Symphony after stints as principal guest conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. He has helped the NWS grow into a highly respected traveling ensemble.
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When in town, the orchestra still performs at its Miami Beach home, the Lincoln Theater, where Thomas will conduct the orchestra on February 23 for the first program of a three-part series, World of Shostakovich, dedicated to the centennial of the Russian composer. The NWS will make use of the larger accommodations at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts the next night. With Thomas again conducting, the NWS will again welcome Yo-Yo Ma. (In fact, the show has been sold out for weeks, with only the slightest hope that standing-room-only tickets will be made available.) The final installment of the program will be held in March.
New World Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the New World Symphony performing Symphony No. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich at 8 p.m. Friday, February 23, at the Lincoln Theater, 541 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $15 to $35. Thomas conducts the symphony with guest artist Yo-Yo Ma performing Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 5. at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 24, at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. New World Symphony presents "The World of Shostakovich: Chamber Music" at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at the Lincoln Theater, 541 Lincoln Rd. Tickets cost $12. For more information call 305-673-3331 or visit www.nws.edu.
When the composer is Dmitri Shostakovich, the Russian colossus, three performances seem hardly enough. The Shostakovich series starts on Friday with his dramatic Symphony No. 5, a work created in the midst of great turmoil in Thirties Russia, as a direct response to the government's repudiation of the composer. The composition, with its varied moods and full use of orchestral instrumentation, suits the sensitive, energetic NWS. The second installment will showcase Ma playing Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2. On March 11, NWS wraps up the series with selected works for smaller ensembles, another of the organization's fortes. This program includes "Jazz Suite No. 1," "Piano Quintet," and "Piano Trio No. 2." Shostakovich built these pieces on a smaller scale, but did not neglect to infuse them with his trademark sonic contrasts and emotional power. Andrés Solar