The New World Center opened in January 2011 to much fanfare, with the architectural community abuzz about its Frank Gehry design and classical music enthusiasts excited to have another comfy venue to enjoy their favorites. It quickly has established itself as a tentpole of Miami Beach’s cultural community.
While its primary purpose is to act as campus and performance hall for the New World Symphony, a fellowship of the best and brightest instrumentalists from around the nation, the New World Center has served many purposes for the arts community. The adjoining park hosts free movie screenings and Wallcasts of performances, it has served as venue for MTV Unplugged’s Juanes concert, Project Bandaloop performed on its facade during Sleepless Nights.
The New World Symphony has been tireless in its mission to get new faces into the New World Center; hosting $2.50 mini-concerts, the Pulse: Symphony After Dark series which blends electronic music with orchestral music, concerts for kids, visiting conductors and soloists.
Catching a show at the New World Center should be on your cultural agenda. Here are a few things to know to help you plan your visit.
Most shows are in the Main Performance Hall, a 784-seat concert theater with in-the-round seating, giving some lucky concertgoers a view of the conductor’s face as he cues the musicians. The only downside to the rear- and side-seating is that you may miss any visuals incorporated into the performance that appear on the sail-shaped projection surfaces that float overhead. The space feels intimate, and the seating is steeply banked, minimizing the distance between audience and performers and the furthest seat is only thirteen rows away from the stage. The hall has 196 retractable seats and four satellite stages, allowing for several different seating arrangements depending on the nature of the show.
Tickets for the shows are available on the New World Symphony’s website and at the Box Office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. through concert intermission. The box office is closed on weekend days that feature no events.
The New World Symphony often performs free concerts for children, and their $2.50 mini-concert are about the cheapest form of cultural entertainment available, but for some of the big events tickets are available at a discount (for $5) for students ages 13-22 at Culture Shock Miami. Friends of New World Symphony members have access to many of the season’s shows, depending on the level of membership.
If you can’t get tickets to a show, some of the performances are WallCast live for free. Just bring a blanket and some chairs and watch the show on the soaring, 7,000-square-foot projection wall.
The Arts in the Park program also offers free movie screenings Wednesday nights. Bring blankets and chairs and enjoy a show at SoundScape park.
Friends of New World Symphony is an organization that supports the New World Symphony through memberships and special events. Memberships start at $200 for an individuals and can run to up to $5000 for 10 people. Depending on the category of membership, Friends have VIP access to many of the season’s events, including all Pulse: Symphony After Dark events.
The Pennsylvania Avenue Garage is located between Pennsylvania and the New World Center and even has a pedestrian bridge connecting it to the New World Center. Also close by is the 17th Street Garage, located on 17th Street between Meridian and Pennsylvania. Just remember to keep your ticket with you and to pay at the machine before returning to your car. There may be street parking available around Lincoln Road, but if your time expires while you are enjoying the events, the ticket will run you $19.
West from the mainland use the Julia Tuttle Causeway (I-195) to enter Miami Beach and proceed south on Alton Road (toward the Convention Center). Turn left (east) onto 17th Street and proceed to Pennsylvania Ave for entrances to both parking garages.
Driving from northern Miami Beach (Collins/A1A) turn right (west) onto 17th Street and proceed to Pennsylvania Ave.