From Friday’s Miami Herald:
First up on the side of the building was the gigantic head of Michael Tilson Thomas, seven stories tall, hair and baton flying on the podium before the New World Symphony.
Then came an old favorite, Bugs Bunny, conducting a cartoon orchestra. And, finally, sharp and luminous, came a mash-up of sparkling streams, incandescent forests and billowing abstract shapes in pungent color.
The eye-popping outdoor show that took place Wednesday night in Miami Beach was a sneak peek at what will be free daily fare once the New World inaugurates its new Frank Gehry-designed rehearsal and performance hall in January 2011.
From four synchronized projectors, each the size of an old VW bug engine, the symphony will beam a nightly, ever-changing program of concerts, videos, movies -- maybe even
sporting events -- onto the front of its new hall just off Lincoln Road.
The 70-by-100-foot projection wall, conceived as an integral part of the building, will face a planned new 2.5-acre park that symphony and Beach officials hope will become the city's new central gathering spot.
From the projectors, and a companion state-of-the-art sound system, will pour forth live broadcasts from inside the New World hall, or from concert halls around the world, as well as a steady diet of recorded performances, art videos, movies and anything else of a fitting cultural nature to divert the crowds expected to gather in the new park. (No advertisements, city and symphony officials promise.)
New World Symphony executives tested the powerful projection system, mounted on temporary scaffolding in what is for now a parking lot, over three nights this week. The projectors, manufactured by Christie, pour out a massive 30,000 lumens each, the brightest available, they said.
After trying several projection modes, they settled on having each projector simultaneously beam out just one section of the 7,000 square-foot digital image, with software erasing any seams between the four quadrants.
“For the first time they saw the magnitude of this and began to think of all the possibilities, the same thing that happened to us Monday when we first switched it on,'' Hall said.
The new park, being designed by cutting-edge Dutch firm West 8, will include an open viewing area in front of the symphony hall. In a presentation last week, firm principal Adriaan Geuze said he envisions the projection shimmering through a screen of trees as visitors stroll through the rest of the park.
As bright as Wednesday's demonstration was, Hall said it will only get better once crews are done applying stucco and paint to the exterior wall, which flanks the new concert hall's main entrance.