Festival Miami, renowned on-campus music festival kicks off

Courtesy of Frost Music School

Festival Miami, the annual concert series hosted by the Frost School of Music, kicks off Friday bringing an eclectic mixture of style, culture and world-class talent to the University of Miami campus all this month.

Running from Oct. 8-30, Festival Miami will present 20 concerts in Maurice Gusman Concert Hall and the Victor E. Clarke Recital Hall featuring styles ranging from Latin, pop and Motown to classical, jazz and bluegrass.

Featured artists will come from across the world to perform, as well from within UM’s own Frost School of Music faculty and students. Many of the performers will also be holding master classes available for any student to attend.

“For students, they get to roll out of bed, walk across campus and see a world-class concert,” said Shelly Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music, adding that many of the concerts are free or discounted for students.

Sophomore Jason Mulligan, who is majoring in music theory and composition, is excited about seeing some of the diverse talent.

“[One visiting composer] has his masters from Julliard, is the composer in residence for the Chicago Symphony and works a night job as a DJ,” Mulligan said.

Other artists include a Grammy Award-winning folk violinist, a long-established South Florida dance company, a composer/guitarist for feature film scores and the writer of 54 No. 1 Motown hits for artists such as The Supremes and Marvin Gaye.

“It’s a great way to find what you like,” said Berg, whose hopes for the festival are two-fold. “I also want [music] students to be in real-world situations.”

Berg excitedly described a planned concert where classically trained students will be playing Afro-Cuban music.

Traditionally, Festival Miami has brought a wide variety of musical styles and talents to UM.

“It’s really bringing the world of music to them… and in an intimate setting,” said Berg, mentioning the relatively modest size of Gusman Hall.

“There’s a little bit of everything for everyone,” said Mariane Mijares, director of events for the Frost School of Music, “One show has student musicians being judged by professional musicians… like ‘American Idol.’”

The concert series, which has run annually since 1984 and has brought hundreds of renowned performers to the UM campus, takes over a year to plan and is programmed by faculty from every department in the Frost School.

This Friday, Festival Miami opens in Gusman Hall with the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Frost Chorale and award-winning opera soprano and UM alumna Sandra Lopez.

David Sargent may be contacted at dsargent@themiamihurricane.com.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Festival Miami

WHEN: Oct. 8-30, with performances at varying times (although most are at 8 p.m.)

WHERE: Most performances take place on-campus in either the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall or Victor E. Clarke Recital Hall

COST: General admission ticket prices vary for each performance, from $25-$65, but student admission is discounted or free for some concerts.

INFO: For more specific information on Festival Miami artists, concert event times, locations and ticket prices, log onto Festivalmiami.com, or call the ticket hotline at 305-284-4940.

FRIDAY’S KICK-OFF EVENT: “Transcendence: Sandra Lopez” in the Maurice Gusman Concert Hall at 8 p.m. Lopez will perform with the Frost Chorale and the Frost Symphony Orchestra.

ARTISTS TO APPEAR IN THE FESTIVAL: Latin dance music performers Hansel y Raúl, Academy Award-winning Frank Loesser, jazz singer Sunny Wilkinson, pianist Santiago Rodriguez, No. 1 songwriter in America Lamont Dozier, among many others.