December 2, 2019
New World Symphony and Miami City Ballet to Celebrate Legacy of Stravinsky and Balanchine with Live-Streamed WALLCAST® Event at New World Center, Saturday, February 1 at 7:30pm ET
Left: New World Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Right: Miami City Ballet performance.
Left: New World Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Right: Miami City Ballet performance.

Collaboration inspired by NWS Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas’s and MCB Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez’s personal connections to Stravinsky and Balanchine

WALLCAST® event to be projected live for audience attending free of charge at SoundScape Park; free webcast to be available on

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA (December 2, 2019) — On Saturday, February 1, at 7:30 p.m. ET, the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), and Miami City Ballet (MCB) come together for a special live-streamed WALLCAST® event celebrating Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine, two icons of the 20th century whose decades-long friendship proved to be one of the most prolific artistic pairings of their time. Led by NWS Co-Founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), this performance at the New World Center is projected live on the 7,000-sq.-ft. eastern façade of the building and may be experienced for free in adjacent SoundScape Park. Additionally, a free live-stream is available to viewers around the world via

Curated by MTT and MCB Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez, who as young artists worked with Stravinsky and Balanchine respectively, the program on both evenings comprises Stravinsky-Balanchine’s Apollon musagète; Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto, featuring violinist James Ehnes; and Stravinsky’s Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant, originally choreographed for circus elephants and ballerinas by Balanchine on commission from Ringling Bros. Circus Polka is performed in its orchestral concert version, accompanied by immersive visuals by video artist Emily Eckstein.

MTT said:

“It was in the late 1980s that I first wandered over from the Lincoln Theatre, which was then the home of the New World Symphony, to the store front on Lincoln Road that was then the home of the Miami City Ballet. Since then I dreamed of uniting the brilliant young musicians of the New World Symphony with the extraordinary dancers in the Miami City Ballet. I’m happy that, after sharing over 30 years of residency in our city, our orchestra and the dancers are going to be on the same stage together at the New World Center. The fact that we are coming together to celebrate Stravinsky and Balanchine makes this occasion all the more special. I was very fortunate to have known and worked with Igor Stravinsky in Los Angeles during the later years of his life. I’m so pleased that the insights I gained from him will now intertwine with those that Lourdes Lopez will share with us from her work with George Balanchine. It will be a truly memorable experience.”

Lopez said:

“Balanchine famously said, ‘See the music, hear the dance,’ and together, throughout their decades of collaboration, Stravinsky and Balanchine revolutionized how we see, hear and interpret dance. I am thrilled that together, with New World Symphony, we will bring to life this very sentiment, in what will be a truly remarkable event for the entire community. It’s interesting to think that in terms of classical arts Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony are considered relatively young organizations. Since our beginnings just over 30 years ago, we’ve been able to present, at the highest caliber, some of the most influential and iconic works of music and dance to the public and I am extremely proud of our collective accomplishments. To have the world-renowned Miami City Ballet dancers perform live alongside the youthful and abundantly talented musicians of New World Symphony, is a perfect union. A union more than 30 years in the making, in which the audience will be able to share in and appreciate the astounding relationship between Stravinsky and Balanchine.”

Tilson Thomas and Stravinsky — Lopez and Balanchine

Left: Michael Tilson Thomas with Igor Stravinsky. Right: Lourdes Lopez with George Balanchine.

Michael Tilson Thomas was a young boy when he first heard Igor Stravinsky conduct his own music, and as a teenager and young adult, he had the privilege of working with the composer in a variety of settings—from rehearsals to recording sessions. His first collaborative experience with Stravinsky came in his late teens, in rehearsals for the Huxley Variations. MTT soon began performing in Los Angeles’ Monday Evening Concerts, which afforded him more opportunities to work with Stravinsky and become acquainted with his circle. The composer also coached MTT as he and fellow pianist Ralph Grierson made the first recording of The Rite of Spring arranged for piano four hands. These experiences have informed MTT’s approach to the music of Stravinsky throughout his career as a conductor.

Lourdes Lopez joined New York City Ballet at the age of 16 at the invitation of Balanchine. He promoted her to soloist in 1981 and was promoted to Principal dancer in 1984, making the Cuban-born Lopez the first Latin female to hold such a position. Lopez was featured in countless leading roles in seminal Balanchine works, including Firebird, Serenade, Symphony in C, Agon, and The Four Temperaments. She also danced and was coached by Balanchine in Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Apollo, two of the three works on the upcoming program.

This performance is made possible by the generosity of the Knight Foundation, whose vice president of arts Victoria Rogers said:

“This is a wonderful example of collaboration between two long-term Miami institutions recognized internationally for artistic excellence and innovative approaches to their respective classical art forms. That Lourdes and MTT continue to explore new ways of making art accessible, keeping true to their training and using their personal experiences with the masters to interpret and evolve ballet and classical music, keeps things relevant and fresh. That the performance will be ‘wallcast’ free to the community and recorded for future generations extends the impact.”

For more information about NWS’s partnership with Knight Foundation, visit

Michael Tilson Thomas is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to conducting the world’s leading orchestras, MTT is also noted for his work as a composer and a producer of multimedia projects that are dedicated to music education and the reimagination of the concert experience. He has won eleven Grammys for his recordings, is the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France. For his lifetime artistic achievements, he was selected to receive the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors. For more, visit

Lourdes Lopez was awarded the prestigious Dance Magazine Award in 2018 and named one of the “The Most Influential People in Dance Today” by Dance Magazine. As a Soloist and Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet, she danced for two legends of the art form, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. In 2012, she was named Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet, marking the first time a woman was appointed to lead a nationally recognized Top 5 ballet company. Under her direction, Miami City Ballet has become one of the country’s premier ballet companies with 53 dancers and has commissioned critically acclaimed new works by today’s leading choreographers, including Justin Peck and Alexei Ratmansky. According to The New York Times, “This troupe [is] at the forefront of all those dancing choreography by George Balanchine today. … Bold, light, immediate, intensely musical, the dancing of Miami City Ballet flies straight to the heart.” For more, visit

James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after violinists on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favorite guest of many of the world’s most respected conductors including Ashkenazy, Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Denève, Elder, Ivan Fischer, Gardner, Paavo Järvi, Mena, Noseda, Robertson and Runnicles. Ehnes’s long list of orchestras includes, amongst others, the Boston, Chicago, London, NHK and Vienna Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Czech Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Philharmonia and DSO Berlin orchestras. For more, visit

The New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy, prepares graduates of music programs for leadership roles in professional orchestras and ensembles. In the 30 years since its co-founding by Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and Lin and Ted Arison, NWS has helped launch the careers of more than 1,100 alumni worldwide. A laboratory for the way music is taught, presented and experienced, the New World Symphony consists of 87 young musicians who are granted fellowships lasting up to three years. The fellowship program offers in-depth exposure to traditional and modern repertoire, professional development training and personalized experiences working with leading guest conductors, soloists and visiting faculty. Relationships with these artists are extended through NWS’s extensive distance learning via the internet. NWS Fellows take advantage of the innovative performance facilities and state-of-the art practice and ensemble rooms of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, the campus of the New World Symphony. For more, visit

Miami City Ballet is considered a leader in the field – nurturing dancers, creating innovative collaborations, commissioning new works, presenting renowned masterworks, and opening avenues of inclusivity within classical ballet. MCB’s repertory of 100 ballets, including 13 world premieres, was built upon the Balanchine repertory, style, and technique and then expanded to include beloved classical works of critical acclaim and exciting new choreography by ground-breaking artists. MCB maintains annual seasons in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward, serving more than 100,000 patrons through four diverse repertory programs; the treasured holiday fairytale, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®; and a burgeoning roster of stateside and international touring engagements. Founded in 1985 by Toby Lerner Ansin and Founding Artistic Director Edward Villella, Miami City Ballet is universally admired as one of the world’s pre-eminent interpreters of the choreography of George Balanchine. For more, visit

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

New World Symphony would like to recognize the following institutional partners: 

Carnival Corporation is the Premier Sponsor of the New World Symphony. 

New World Symphony concerts are presented with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

New World Symphony concerts are presented with support of the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Council. 

New World Symphony new media are presented by Knight Foundation.

Hitachi and FOR-A are Technology Partners of the New World Symphony.

Yamaha is the Official Piano of the New World Symphony.

Major funding for Miami City Ballet is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Miami-Dade County support is provided by the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor, and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners with the support of the City of Miami Beach Department of Tourism and Cultural Development, Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Miami Beach Mayor and City Commissioners.

Support for Miami City Ballet in the Palm Beaches is generously sponsored in part by the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

Broward County funding is provided in part by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Company is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

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Saturday, February 1, at 7:30 p.m. ET
New World Center / SoundScape Park (Miami Beach, FL)

New World Symphony WALLCAST® event

New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy
Michael Tilson Thomas, Co-Founder and Artistic Director
Miami City Ballet
Lourdes Lopez, Artistic Director
James Ehnes, violinist
Emily Eckstein, video artist


Stravinsky/Balanchine: Apollon musagète
Stravinsky (visuals by Emily Eckstein): Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant
Stravinsky/Balanchine: Stravinsky Violin Concerto

Attendance at SoundScape Park is free and does not require a ticket. Free live-stream available via

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Press contacts:

New World Symphony
Maureen O’Brien | | (305) 428-6730
Shuman Associates: John Hamby | | (212) 315-1300

Miami City Ballet
Julii Oh |
Wow MKTG: Diana Delgado |

Photo credits / copyrights:

Rui Dias-Aidos (New World Symphony)
Alexander Izilaev (Miami City Ballet performance)
Arnold Newman (Michael Tilson Thomas & Igor Stravinsky)
Steven Caras (Lourdes Lopez & George Balanchine)
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