Univ. of Miami's 30th Annual Festival Miami

Art lovers have Basel. The Miami City Ballet puts its aficionados en pointe. The FGO rends the hearts of opera buffs. Meanwhile, South Floridians who crave a wide gamut of live music genres will surge forth to welcome the October 1st arrival of 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 Henri Mancini Institute Orchestra, with Frost School of Music Dean and Festival director, Shelton (Shelly) Berg at the piano.

During this privileged month, four broad themes characterize the twenty-five 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 and the Night Trippers; jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; romantic salsa star, Luis Enrique; violin/bass duo Joshua Bell and Edgar Meyer; vocalist Karrin Allyson – to pull a few names from the hat.

A distinctive feature of Festival Miami is the opportunity it gives for students and faculty to play along with the guest performers. The Frost Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Mancini Institute and Symphony Orchestras, Opera Theater, Chorale and Chamber Players all join featured guests in a variety of concert configurations. This interchange of students and masters is central to the festival’s mission and to Dean Berg’s fulfillment. The educational charge includes children’s concerts, master classes, student contest winner performances, lectures, forums, premieres and other historical highlights.

Since the Standards opening performance is already sold out, let’s look at a few others of particular intrigue. The diversity of programming reflects Dean Berg’s conviction that patrons “brand loyalty” to the Festival gives them confidence to “try something new.”

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 – besides classical music. He has composed a piece, Double concerto for violin and double bass, specifically to perform with Grammy-winning violinist Joshua Bell, who plays both classical repertoire and diverse film scores and vocalists.

On Thursday, October 17 at 8:00 p.m. 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 regional stars, Jaco Pastorious, Ira Sullivan and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Expect a dynamic range of cool, soothing, romantic and nostalgic moods. A Q&A session begins the evening.

Thursday, October 17 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: $30/20/15

 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 thirty-seven 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 diverse programs, 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 will perform at the piano, re-uniting the first and current musical director colleagues.

Tuesday, October 22, 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: $30/25/20

A second Costa Rica Symphony performance is on Wednesday, October 23, featuring two more world premieres.

Closing the festival on November 1st is a collaboration with Larry Rosen's Jazz Roots series at the Adrienne Arsht Center. This 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 Amée, Nicole Henry and Jon Secada.

Friday, November 1, 8:00 p.m.

Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center

Tickets through the Arsht Center Office at 305-949-6722 or online at www.arshtcenter.org

Miami-born artist Alexander Mijares was commissioned to create “Making Music Through Art,” a painting that vividly conveys the movement, color and drama of his hometown, while hiding and revealing specific images of band instruments within the composition. Look for Milares’ work to pop out on posters and programs.

 This brief scan of the program misses potent jazz and salsa artists; renowned blues players, a children’s program, woodwinds, arias and a be-ribboned package of additional treasures. Consult the program, then make your plans!

 Summarizing his delight with students’ reciprocal role the festival, Dean Berg said, “Knowing that they can perform under the baton of Leon Fleisher, or side-by-side with Bobby McFerrin, Gloria Estefan and Joshua Bell makes my job worthwhile.” Students return with glowing reports on professional engagements they otherwise “never could have done.”

 Festival Miami gives audiences a front row seat on this priceless transformation.

For more information:


(305) 284-4940.  Hours are Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All performances are held at the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall, located at the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, 1314 Miller Drive, on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables Campus (unless otherwise noted). For more information on the Frost School of Music, visit www.music.miami.edu