Festival Miami Arrives With Sounds for Everyone

Written By ArtBurst Team
December 19, 2015 at 6:45 PM

The cultural season is upon us: Art lovers will get Art Basel; opera buffs can start off with Florida Grand Opera’s Mourning Becomes Electra; ballet fans will have several options in the next several weeks alone, with the first programs unveiled from the Arts Ballet Theatre and Miami City Ballet. And South Floridians who crave a wide gamut of live music genres will welcome the Oct. 1 arrival of University of Miami’s month-long Festival Miami’s 30th anniversary. No less an international star than home-girl Gloria Estefan will take the University of Miami Gusman Concert Hall stage to introduce her new album, The Standards, accompanied by the Frost Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, with Shelton (Shelly) Berg, dean of UM’s Frost School of Music and festival director, at the piano. During this month, there are four broad themes to the 25 concerts: Great Performances, Music of the Americas, Jazz and Beyond, and Creative American Music. The lineup presents such luminaries as blues singer/pianist Dr. John & the Nite Trippers; jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; romantic salsa star Luis Enrique; violin/bass duo Joshua Bell and Edgar Meyer; and vocalist Karrin Allyson – to pull a few names from the hat. Festival Miami gives music-school students and faculty the chance to play along with guest performers, a distinctive feature of the event. The Frost Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Mancini Institute and Symphony orchestras, Opera Theater, Chorale and Chamber Players all join in a variety of concert configurations. This interplay between students and masters is central to the festival’s mission and to Berg’s fulfillment of it. The educational charge includes children’s concerts, master classes, performances by student contest winners, lectures, forums, and premieres. The diversity of programming reflects Berg’s conviction that patrons’ “brand loyalty” to the festival gives them confidence to “try something new.”Since the Standards opening performance is already sold out, here’s a look at a few other particularly intriguing performances. Bassist Edgar Meyer is celebrated by the classical performance community, but he is also a composer who ranges widely in his explorations. Stylistically, the concert promises great crossover appeal, as Meyer is embraced by lovers of bluegrass, “newgrass,” and jazz — in addition to classical music. He composed Double Concerto for Violin and Double Bass specifically to perform with Grammy-winning violinist Joshua Bell, who plays classical repertoire, film scores, and vocal accompaniments: Fri., Oct. 4, 8:00 p.m.; tickets: $55/$45/$35. Chicago-based Brazilian guitar-vocalist Paulinho Garcia will present a range of bossa nova, samba and other popular styles from his homeland. Known for his clean, direct approach, he will likely include one or more of his own compositions in the program, besides those of Jobim, Caymmi, and others. He will be joined by versatile veteran saxophonist Gary Keller, who has performed with Woody Herman, John Pizzarelli, Frank Sinatra, plus Jaco Pastorius, Ira Sullivan, and Lonnie Smith. Expect a dynamic range of cool, soothing, romantic, and nostalgic moods. A Q&A session begins the evening at 7:15. Thursday, Oct. 17, 8:00 p.m.; tickets: $30/$20/$15. Arturo Sandoval In 1983, composer, conductor and orchestrator José Serebrier was artistic director of the brand-new International Music Festival of the Americas as the festival was then known. He returns to conduct two anniversary programs. The recipient of NEA and Guggenheim awards — among others — as a composer and 37 Grammy nominations as a conductor, Serebrier has toured and recorded with the world’s great orchestras. As part of the Music of the Americas series for Festival Miami, he brings the Costa Rica National Symphony Orchestra for two evenings, beginning with a premiere of composer Vinicio Meza’s Imagines. Crossing to North America, Gershwin’s enormously popular Rhapsody in Blue provides a lively contrast of period and style. Shelly Berg himself will perform at the piano, reuniting these inaugural and current musical director colleagues. Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8:00 p.m.; tickets: $30/$25/$20. (Note: A second Costa Rica Symphony performance follows on Wed., Oct. 23, featuring two more world premieres.) Closing the festival on Nov. 1 is a collaboration with Larry Rosen’s Jazz Roots series at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. It will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Pink Panther, whose enduring musical score was composed by Henry Mancini. The Frost music school’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra will, naturally, be performing, along with guest vocalists (daughter) Monica Mancini, Cyrille Aimée, Nicole Henry, and Jon Secada. Fri., Nov. 1, 8:00 p.m.; tickets: $25-$150; Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; Festival Miami also is jam-packed with vibrant jazz and salsa artists, renowned blues players, and a children’s program. Consult the program, then make your plans. Festival Miami runs through Nov. 1. Unless otherwise noted, all performances are held at the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall, the Frost School of Music, 1314 Miller Dr., University of Miami’s Coral Gables Campus. For more information go to; ticket sales: 305-284-4940. Photo credits: Joshua Bell, Marc Holm; Arturo Sandoval, Manny Iriarte.

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