Concert series offers broad musical scope

UM’s Festival Miami returns on Friday, bringing musical diversity to campus for the 28th consecutive year.

The series is composed of more than 20 concerts, master classes and lectures. The festival, which is organized by the Frost School of Music, takes place between Friday and Nov. 4.

“I was invited to be on the planning board of Festival Miami and I leaped at the chance,” said Charles Norman Mason, award-winning composer and director of electronic music studios. “I felt it to be a privilege to have some input into the planning.”

The concerts will be divided into four themes: Great Performances, Creative American Music, Jazz and Beyond, and Music of the Americas.

Each themed performance showcases the musical scope of the festival. It assembles a lineup of guest artists, Frost’s artist-faculty and student ensembles.

Richard Todd, an associate professor of the horn and brass program, will be performing a horn concerto written by Gunther Schuller, who has conducted internationally and composed more than 160 orginal compositions, in addition to his own composition “Celebracion.”

“I am thrilled that he will be here in person to open Festival Miami,” Todd said. “His career reflects the spirit of the Frost School – anything is and should be possible. I am excited to be able to contribute in a small way to such an exciting time each year at UM  Festival Miami,” he said.

The lineup also includes professional artists from a variety of music genres, including jazz, Latin and piano.

Aside from Todd, the list of performers includes Michael Colgrass, who will exhibit two contemporary works with the Frost Wind Ensemble. Additionally, Frost School of Music Dean Shelton Berg will perform a two-piano concert alongside world-acclaimed Santiago Rodriguez with music by George Gershwin.

Other performers include Cuban salsa star Willy Chirino, NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson, Chopin Competition winner Claire Huangci, Liszt expert Jerome Lowenthal and Lucy Arnaz, who is performing  arrangements written by her father, Desi Arnaz. Arnaz is best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the 1950s television series “I Love Lucy.”

“As a new faculty member in the Frost School of Music, I am excited that my first performance with the Frost Chorale will be during Festival Miami,” said Karen Kennedy, director of choral studies and artistic director of the Master Chorale of South Florida.

Festival Miami has set the bar by showcasing a mix of artistically and culturally diverse music with educational opportunities by offering master classes.

Thomas Sleeper, a professor of instrumental performance and program director of orchestral activities at Frost, thinks that “having internationally acclaimed guest artists, people at the top of the field, collaborating with our students” and the Miami community through these classes is a highlight of the festival.

Schuller, for instance, will be offering a free lecture on Friday where attendees can learn about current music trends.

Because of all these features, the festival is known for promoting cultural enrichment in South Florida.


If you go

When: Friday to Nov. 4

Where: UM campus and Adrienne Arsht Center

Tickets: 305-284-4940

Visit: for dates, times, locations and the festival lineup