Thursday, February 5, 2015

SoBe (it) Miami Beach

South Beach scene
     South Beach (SoBe) a barrier island in Miami Beach has been one of our favorite anchorages along the south eastern seaboard. It's historically a glamorous hot spot for people watching and seaside activity. Unfortunately, we've had a slow start while anchored in the SoBe neighborhood of Sunset Lake due to a visit to Mt. Sinai ER and a subsequent follow up appointment. Darn that blood pressure medication! I think it sometimes causes more issues than management. To make a long, boring story short. I am fine now, just holed up here until we have a weather window for a Gulf Stream crossing to the Bahamas. As of today it seems the window may open on Monday for a crossing to Bimini.

The New World Center designed by architect
Frank Gehry
     In the mean time we've toured the New World Center home of the New World Symphony where we rendezvoused with several other cruising sailors during last Saturday's Wallcast Concert. The concert was a world premiere event featuring avant-garde musical New Works by three prominent composers including Bruce Hornsby who premiered three of his his newest compositions.
The interior stairwell of the New World Center


      The Wallcast is a live projection of the indoor concert on the New World Center's exterior wall. Hundreds of concert goers gathered hours before the concert to stake their claim to a spot of land within prime viewing distance of the projected event. Excitement permeated the atmosphere. Concert goers trickled in hours before the 7:30 PM start time. Chairs & blankets were set up and coolers were positioned. Conversations, shared snacks and adult beverages were consumed in anticipation of the event. A classic tailgate party for the classical music crowd.

The Wallcast

   As darkness set in and the moon rose over the palms, outdoor lighting was dimmed and  New World Symphony Artistic Director Michael Tillson Thomas was projected larger than life on the Wallcast announcing the special evening we were about to experience. At the time none of us knew exactly how extraordinary this evening would be and how challenged we'd be as an audience.
French horns

The Orchestra


     Composers take risks. It's relatively easy to compose mellifluous sounds for a toe tapping audience. It's a whole other ball of wax when composers create sounds that may not be agreeable, soothing, that may aggravate creating tension and discord. These attributes describe Saturday evening's concert. It was discordant, dissonant, aggravating, and at times wonderful. It was a musical experience! Very much on the level of an artistic installation. The composers were drawing inspiration from sounds of city life. Horns, screeches, you've been there use your imagination. The final piece was a composition titled El Sol Caliente by Miami musical composer Michael Gordon and filmmaker Bill Morrison. The piece dedicated to Miami's centennial celebration was performed simultaneously with archival video footage displayed on split screens from Miami dating from the 1920's through the 1960's. It was a powerfully integrated piece performed with video footage albeit once again not a toe tapper. The video and music mesmerized. I imagine this was the composer's intension. It was a memorable experience and I imagine that too was the intension of this musical extravaganza.
One of the violin fellows from the New World Symphony Orchestra
during a private lesson. 


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