Michael Tilson Thomas' New World Symphony

Members of the New World Symphony rehearse.

hide captionMembers of the New World Symphony rehearse.

Music from 'New World Jazz'

Hear selected song clips from the New World Symphony's CD, 'New World Jazz'

Listen: Prelude, Fugue and Riffs by Leonard Bernstein

Listen: Ebony Concerto by Igor Stravinsky

Nestled among the beach bunnies and muscle men of Miami's trendy South Beach neighborhood is a group of 82 young classical musicians. They hail from all across the country, representing America's most promising new artists, and they come each year to participate in a unique training orchestra called the New World Symphony.

Michael Tilson Thomas, founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony

hide captionMichael Tilson Thomas, founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony

An intensive, three-year fellowship program, the New World Symphony offers performance and training opportunities with seasoned coaches, conductors and soloists. In the first of a three-part series following a year in the New World Symphony, NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the orchestra's famous artistic director, Michael Tilson Thomas.

Thomas established the New World Symphony in 1987. He is also the director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, but spends 10 weeks a year in Miami coaching the young resident artists. Having studied with the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein as a young musician, Thomas sees the New World Symphony as his own way of passing that training down to the next generation of great musicians.

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