Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Palm Beach Social Diary

A fascinating WALLCAST image of Saturday night’s concert as seen projected on an outside wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Symphony complex while the performance was taking place within the 750-seat pavilion. The sound was as superb as the weather and the setting, a delight for the more than thousand al fresco concertgoers. If only I had found a parking space the day before, I wouldn’t have missed the first part of the program.
South Beach Saturday Night
By Augustus Mayhew

Saturday night I motored down to SoBe to give a listen to the much talked about state-of-the-art WALLCAST, the first performance was January 28 at Miami Beach Soundscape, the name given to the 2.5 acre park adjacent to the New World Symphony’s campus, home to “America’s Orchestral Academy.” Frank Gehry did not design the park; it was done by West 8, a Dutch firm who produced a space as compelling as Gehry’s latest origami-styled tour de force.
With speakers stacked in front beneath the screen panels and housed within the vertical towers, the innovative surround-sound was enhanced with close-ups of the musicians.
Bringing the classics to a whole new audience.
Saturday night’s Parisian Glimmers concert, broadcast through more than 160 symphonic speakers sculpturally camouflaged throughout the park, was under the baton of Stephane Deneve, rather than NWS artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas,  featuring piano virtuoso Jean-Yves Thibaudet.  The program included Guillaume Connesson’s A Glimmer in the Age of Darkness, actually dedicated to Monsieur Deneve as a wedding present in 2005, and works by Roussel and Ravel.  The forthcoming April 30 concert, The Mahler Legacy, is sold out but I see it will be WALLCAST. If you are in the area, and have a strategic parking plan, all the surrounding garages were filled this past Saturday night, don’t miss the experience.
West 8 is an international urban design and landscape firm based in Rotterdam with offices in Belgium, Toronto, and New York, where they developed the winning design for the 170-acre park on Governor’s Island.
The casual crowd covered every square inch of the park. Yes, it was 80 degrees at around 9:15 p.m. Saturday night.
This appeared to be the extent of the entire tech crew needed to facilitate the presentation of Saturday night’s Soundscape concert.
An appreciative audience among the palms, projectors and speaker columns.
Even a view of the audience, top right corner of the image, who I wondered whether they realized their reactions were being broadcast to the Soundscape audience.
I listened to much of the program before detouring over to Lincoln Road for the hike to find my car over on West Avenue. A few years ago, Lincoln Road was a welcome refuge from the Ocean Drive crowds; Saturday night it was SRO, unbelievably mobbed. The push-shove-and-crunch had all the sophistication you have come to expect when the Jersey Shore meets the Housewives of Coney Island.
The geometric structures still recall the Morris Lapidus era.
Next to Swarovski’s, the Apple Store was jammed.
The Taschen window, above, and Victoria’s Secret add some much-needed dazzle.
The Colony Theater has held on to its sympathetic elements.
While a block west of the Colony Theater, the uptempo Raymond Jungles-designed landscape reflects a more dimensional 21st-century presence.
The colorful Lincoln Center adds some visual boogie-woogie to the pedestrian mall.

For more information on the New World Symphony visit
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

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