Not to be outdone, the concert hall boasts some interesting features as well. It will fit more than 700 visitors in its most expanded format, with seating on every side of the stage. But many of the seats are retractable, so that the room can convert into a large, open space. The stage itself can also be raised or lowered in several parts, with four smaller satellite stages standing above the main one so that soloists can be distinguished from the rest of the symphony.
The various configurations of the concert hall will allow the symphony to present concerts in a variety of ways. Plans have been made, for example, to host half-hour concerts for an admission fee of just $2.50 in hopes of attracting pedestrians from Lincoln Road. On other nights, starting at 10 p.m., the seating will all be retracted and a DJ will join a group of musicians playing contemporary music in order to cater to the late-night South Beach crowd.
100,641: Total construction space*
29,595: Size of the performance space*
9,288: Size of public areas*
7,950: Size of the rooftop garden*
2,400: Size of the SunTrust Pavilion*
1,263: Size of the music library*
756: Number of patrons the concert hall can seat
29: Number of coaching rooms
4: Number of ensemble rooms
5: Number of technical suites * Size given in square feet
In a down economy, the symphony's move into these amazing new quarters is nothing short of a miracle. In 2003, in the wake of the previous recession, South Florida's professional classical-music troupe, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, shut down. But the New World Symphony, a wholly unique hybrid of orchestra and higher education, has leveraged its unusual profile to build a bright future.
"Just like Aspen fills up with music lovers in the summer, just like the Berkshires has Tanglewood and the Shakespeare festival, that's going to happen here," Herring predicts. "Art Basel [an annual art show in Miami] was first, we're second, and it's only going to grow."
It's a bold statement. But if the once-dead, now pedestrian-heavy Lincoln Road is any indication, Herring and the New World Symphony are pretty good at making predictions.