Walking through the airy, light-flooded halls of the New World Symphony’s faculty building in downtown Miami Beach, you pretty quickly get a sense that this is far from your run of the mill conservatorium. It’s home to around 90 students, many of who you can peer in on as they practise inside the glass-walled rehearsal rooms, but these are no ordinary rooms, and this is no ordinary college of learning. Oh, and by the way, there is no residential musical faculty here.
New World Center, Miami Beach
Instead, NWS fellows (as they are known) are taught by a combination of visiting guest artists and hi-tech, interactive, long-distance coaching sessions. Their teachers include senior musical pedagogues from all over America (or even further afield), plus the careful guiding hand and sensitive, forward-thinking ministrations of founder and Artistic Administrator, conductor, composer and impassioned educator, Michael Tilson Thomas.
NWS is essentially a geographically-led model, hence its technical solutions should be of interest to a large and awkward-to-get-to country like Australia. This kind of approach, for example, would enable a musician in Perth to be coached by a mentor in Sydney. But it isn’t just the mechanics...