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Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..

One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..

Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..

If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..

Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..

We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..

“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..

Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..

We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..

Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..

It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..

As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

Great friendships can nurture and prod an artist to make greater work. Think Pablo Picasso and Wifredo Lam, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Such is also the case fo..

It’s a tall order to present a season as surprising as it is moving, as disturbing as it is delightful. Miami-Dade College’s Live Arts 2017-2018 season -- Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Mu..

It was only a few decades ago that finding a professional, locally produced performance was an aerobic dance in itself. But after the Miami City Ballet (established 1985), the New World Schoo..

A 50th anniversary calls for gold in celebration. But Balanchine’s “Jewels”­—a sublime marriage of music and choreography from 1967—brings Emeralds, Rubies,and Diamonds. Those pre..

When the Limon Dance Company returns to Miami-Dade this weekend, it brings with it the powerful vision of founder José Limon. He was a man deeply concerned about and connected to the humanity..

Project 305: New World Symphony Crowd-Sources a Miami Symphony

Photo: Tod Machover
Written by: Sean Erwin
Article Rating

Sun-drenched it is, but Miami is sound-drenched as well. Parrots screech complaints from the Grove’s canopy of palms. I-95 is a perpetual sound lab of squeaking brakes, tires rubbing asphalt and the pulse of horns. On Coral Way, abuelaschat in melodic Spanglish about nietos as 747s rumble overhead.

Tod Machover – composer and Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at the M.I.T. Media Lab – hears music in Miami’s noise and believes its soundscapes are ready to be sampled. With filmmaker David Kane, and representatives from New World Symphony and the Knight Foundation, Machover unveiled Project 305 at the New World Center on Miami Beach to a packed room of reporters, teachers, administrators and artists clutching coffees on an early Monday morning last December.

Looking the part of composer-technologist in black t-shirt, jacket and pants, Machover described Project 305 as a “crowd-sourced city symphony.” For 100 days from January 31to May 12, Miamians will be encouraged to record and submit on smartphone apps short audio files capturing the city’s sounds and images.

Then a team that includes Machover, composer Ted Hearne, Kane, and New World Symphony Artistic Director and co-founder Michael Tilson Thomas, will sift through the submissions. The goal is to gel them into a distinctively Miami symphony.

Similar projects by Machover in Lucerne, Switzerland; Toronto; Edinburgh; and Perth, Australia derived inspiration from cow bells on the sides of Alpine mountains, conductor’s whistles, footsteps on a bridge, ice cubes clinking in glasses, a butcher wielding a cleaver, the clink and hiss of an electric plant. Machover’s Symphony in D, described as “a cacophonous love letter to Detroit,” used over 15,000 sound bites.

Contributions from young people have a prominent role in the project. Machover highlighted the Media Lab’s Hyperscore software that makes music composition accessible to children. Using Hyperscore, students generate music not by writing notes on a staff but by drawing sounds using shapes and colors. He encouraged local schools to access the program, and added there are plans for making that software freely available to educational organizations during the project.

The time frame is compact -- the final work will premiere Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the New World Center, with subsequent viewings taking place at partner venues in communities throughout Miami-Dade County.

Machover’s hope is that Project 305 will shape for Miami, as it has in other cities, a fresh, radical “musical ecology with new connections and new creative centers for Miami-based artists, musicians and writers.”

After the presentation, that ecology showed signs of life as many of the attendees networked, exchanging ideas. Ryon Coote, philanthropy director for McLamore Children’s Center, saw Project 305 as “the opportunity to get some exposure for our demographic” and was particularly interested in the compositional software for children.

Miami will be the first city to accompany its symphony with video and photographs. Ronald Baez, artistic director at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, heard in Machover’s presentation an opportunity for local film-makers to make use of the center’s equipment to generate contributions.

Submissions can be made from January 31 to May 12 by sending sound and video clips using the iPhone or Android app, project305.org.

For questions or information, contact Stephanie Torok at Project305@nws.edu, or call 305.428.6722.

New World will hold three public launch day events Jan. 31 throughout the city where the community is invited to come out and learn more about the project and how to start submitting their audio/visuals! Details below:

8:00 - 9:30 am, Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, 6101 NW 7th Avenue, Miami.

3:30 - 5:00 pm, Koubek Center in Little Havana, 2705 SW 3rd Street, Miami; Parking - $3

7:00 - 8:30 pm, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 Southwest 211 St., Cutler Bay.

 


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About The writer

Sean Erwin is a writer and assistant professor of Philosophy at Barry University, with a focus on aesthetics and contemporary french philosophy.
Sean Erwin is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barry University and received his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He has presented and published on topics in political philosophy, Italian and French philosophy, and technology and performance studies. He currently serves as the senior editor of the Humanities and Technology Review.

Erwin is also a performance critic for Artburst, with performance previews and reviews appearing regularly there and in other South Florida publications. Artburst gives him the platform to critique the aesthetic principles he writes on as a professional philosopher through analysis of the concrete movements embodied by performers.

He is also an accomplished dancer and teacher in the Argentine Tango community. In 2000 he founded and served as editor of the Chicago webzine, Tango Noticias, a specialty dance periodical dedicated to examining Argentine Tango as a set of social practices rooted to the Southern cone’s history, politics, and culture.

Since his move to South Florida, he has both taught philosophy and served as a principal tango instructor for the Miami-based, Shimmy Club, a non-profit program that teaches Argentine Tango to vision-impaired teens. Through his involvement with the program, Erwin has been featured in articles and several news outlets including Univision, Telemundo, NBC News, KPFK Los Angeles, and the Miami Herald. For more information, see erwinsean.com.

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