In our final series of look backs to 2016, we’re revisiting resolutions some of Miami’s leaders in the arts made last year and asking them to make a prediction for 2017.
Howard Herring is the president and CEO of the New World Symphony. A native Oklahoman, and pianist by training, he took over leadership at NWS in 2001, after spending 15 years as the executive director of the Caramoor Music Festival.
“We’re finding performance formats that are redefining relationships with artists and audiences. Using classical music as my point of departure — the traditional format is: We play. You listen. But we are finding that the path toward engaging new audiences by being sensitive to their lifestyle choices and crafting presentations that are in line with their pace of life.”
We’re definitely making progress. What’s happening at the New World Symphony is the fellows are ever-more involved in identifying new audiences and designing experiences that the public experiences that will attract new audiences and putting classical music in the middle of that and executing. We’re clearing more space in the schedule for fellow driven experiences. We’ve had nothing but success. We did two fellow performances last year, and we’re doing two this year. In January, one will be pairing wine and music and I expect it to be sold out.
All of that in the business of engaging and attracting new audiences is working. In fact, they are coming back! A third of our new audiences have come back once and 20 percent have come back two times.
What program were you most excited about last year?
Our fellow Nicholas Platoff, who created Mixtape, paired two songs by Richard Strauss with the Beach Boys’ melodies. The juxtaposition was magical.
“The music scene will improve as we become even more experimental and as artists take even more responsibility and authority for the creation of intriguing presentations and as Miami becomes more sensitized to the power of the music and how it will inform their life.”
In both cases and in both situations those are multi-year things. …
Are we experimenting enough?
I think there’s a lot more to do. We began we made a little progress but we need to be even more adventuresome. We have only just begun. We had the Miami Beach Jazz Fest [on Lincoln Road], artists working in storefronts and on the streets, and fellows out there just a bit. So we really only have just begin to think about this. … we’re reimagining what it is to make music in a totally public setting.
What’s one prediction you have for Miami’s arts scene in 2017?
I think that the New World Symphony’s Project 305 will cause all participants to become better listeners and become more visually observant of the unique culture that is Miami. And that we will all be better for it as human beings and a community.
Read his full 2016 resolution here.