“A Celebration of John Williams”
New World Symphony’s 31st Annual Gala
John Williams, Itzhak Perlman, and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas


New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), held its highly anticipated gala titled “A Celebration of John Williams”. The event, chaired by Will Osborne and Karen Bechtel, celebrated and featured John Williams, showcasing music from his best-known scores including Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter and more. Other surprise additions to the program included a special performance of Happy Birthday, arranged and conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) in honor of John Williams’ birthday just two weeks prior; a guest appearance by R2-D2, who came onstage to deliver a conducting baton to MTT, and a special guest – violinist Itzhak Perlman – joined John Williams onstage to perform the theme from Schindler’s List as an encore.

For the first time in the organization’s history, the New World Symphony presented a WALLCAST® concert of the gala program to an estimated audience of 3,000 attendees in Miami Beach’s SoundScape Park. The simultaneous gala and WALLCAST® concert brought together South Florida’s large community of supporters and classical music enthusiasts, while celebrating the leadership, accessibility and experimental nature of one of the country’s most dynamic cultural and educational institutions, the New World Symphony. Also, in celebration of John Williams’ compositions for eight Star Wars films, the evening featured surprise appearances by iconic Star Wars characters on the plaza of SoundScape Park and in the New World Center atrium, including stormtroopers, snowtroopers, a Wookiee, Darth Vader, two Royal Guards, Rey, Kylo Ren and others.

NWS WALLCAST® concerts, presented by Citi, are live concerts that take place inside the New World Center and are simultaneously projected onto its 7,000-square-foot projection wall through a striking use of visual and audio technology for audiences in the adjacent SoundScape Park. These events, which occur regularly throughout the New World Symphony season, attract an average of 2,000 people in the park, and represent an opportunity for multigenerational audiences to customize their own experience with classical music. WALLCAST® concerts have also become a model for other organizations and cities around the country looking to attract and engage their communities. For a larger summary and full report on the audiences and community building that result from WALLCAST® concerts, visit www.nws.edu/WALLCASTreport.

Following the performance, Thierry Isambert Culinary and Event Design staged a seated dinner throughout the New World Center, treating guests to a delectable three-course meal with a myriad of fantastic cuisine options, including Roasted Lavender Scottish Salmon, Aka Ushi Local Wagyu Beef, and Quinoa Cake with Root Vegetables, topped off with a MiniMagnum, Raspberry Pavalova and Crip Cone with caramel popcorn. After the affair, Gala patrons danced the night away at an exclusive late-night after party with live performances by musical guests Michael Andrew Big Band and Sol + The Tribu. The Friends of New World Symphony also played an important role in the gala, involving the 300+ members in the gala through a special gala ticket, which included the reception, performance, dinner at Lobster Bar Sea Grille, and the late-night after party.

NWS also launched “John Williams Comes to Miami,” a series of free events celebrating the composer/conductor in anticipation of his performance with the New World Symphony at the gala on March 2. The series included three films - each scored by Williams - that were shown on the wall of the New World Center in the weeks before the gala.

The gala program was supported by over 500 of Miami’s most generous citizens and sponsored in part by Miami Cancer Institute, Bacardí, Total Wine & More, and Cultured Magazine. Power Collective is the official PR partner of the New World Symphony gala.

Matt Haggman and NWS Gala Chair Will Osborne

Nicole Ceballos, Julia Hammond, Monique Pena, Nelly Cardoza
and Linda Smith

David and Linda Frankel, Marvin Ross Friedman
and Adrienne Bon Haes

Martin Sher, Craig Hall and CEO Howard Herring

Charlotte Schou and Ezra Deutsch

Ira Birns and company

Dinner setting

NWS fellows

Alexa Wolman, Oti and Remi Roberts, Adam Wolman

Arlenis Adames and Ira Birns

Sol Tribu

Aaron and Dorothy Podhurst

NWS Ushers and Volunteers

Gala Reception

Jerry and Adrienne Cohen

Michael Andrew

Mike and Katy Lingle, Florencia Jimenez-Marcos, Xavier Gonzalez- Sanfeliu and Ohad Jehassi

Gala After Party

Michael and Merle Orlove

John Williams conducts the New World Symphony

Mario and Lourdes de Armas

Judith, Stephen and Sabine Bittel

Ana and Neisen Kasdin

Martha and Bruce Clinton

Sue Kronick and NWS Board Chairman Edward Shumsky

Diane and Robert Moss


Cindy Friezo, Franklin and Jessica Sirmans, Robert Friezo, Alexa and Adam Wolman and David Phillips

Susan and Dennis Richard

Gala After Party

Diane Sepler

NWS Gala Guests

Jeffrey Davis and Michael Miller

Tracey Robertson Carter, Francisco Joubert Bernard, Blake-Anthony Johnson and Franklin Sirmans

Gala Concert

Brass Ensemble

CEO Howard Herring and Kristin Podack

Oti and Remi Roberts

Friends of NWS

Gala Performance

Rooftop Tent