New World Symphony Gala

Featuring special performance by Audra McDonald

Stephen Bittel and Sabine Bittel

New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), held its annual Gala, in celebration of the organization’s 29-year-long commitment to community engagement. Hosted by Gala Chairs Stephen and Sabine Bittel, the black-tie affair honored the vision of Michael Tilson Thomas, NWS’ Co-Founder and Artistic Director (MTT), with a special program featuring the most decorated performer in American theater history, Audra McDonald.

Themed “Making the Connection,” the gala took place at the iconic Frank Gehry-designed New World Center and touted beautiful white and gold décor. The evening began with an elegant cocktail reception and also offered guests a viewing of Volvo’s latest models, including the stylish new XC90. Volvo, a gala spsonsor, also provided NWS Chairman Edward Manno Shumsky and his wife Susan D. Kronick, as well as Audra, MTT and other guests an exclusive chauffeured experience to the event.

The performance showcased works selected by Audra, a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning singer and actress, who took the stage alongside New World Symphony’s 87 Fellows and MTT himself. The audience enjoyed MTT’s “Agnegram,” George Gershwin’s “Summertime” and “Fascinatin’ Rhythym” as well as some other favorites including “The Glamorous Life” from A Little Night Music (1973) and “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady (1956).

Edward Shumsky, Audra McDonald

After the performance, guests enjoyed a seated dinner by Thierry’s, which featured entrees including Vodka Seabass Brûlée, Mesquite wood-grilled Filet Mignon with tequila glaze, and a Mushroom Quartet, which were accompanied by special music interludes performed by NWS Fellows. Following the dinner, supporters danced the night away at an exclusive late night after party at the center with Michael Andrew Big Band.

Sponsored by Volvo, Total Wine & More and Bacardi, the event was a huge success. Proceeds from the event directly benefit the organization’s mission of preparing gifted young musicians for careers in professional orchestras, while providing meaningful cultural programs to the South Florida community.

Notable Guests: Stephen and Sabine Bittel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Audra McDonald, Sarah Arison, Ana and Neisen Kasdin, Ximena Caminos and Alan Faena, Susan D. Kronick and Edward Manno Shumsky, Rose Ellen Greene, Ambassador Paul and Trudy Cejas, Liliya “Rose” Mukhamadyarova and William Strong, Matt Haggman, Nadim and Marlene Ashi

For information about New World Symphony’s events, performances, fellowship program, and more, visit

The New World Symphony also announced that next year’s gala will take place on Saturday, February 10, 2017, celebrating the milestone of their 30th anniversary.

Photos by Cindy Karp Photography, Gregory F. Reed Photography, and World Red Eye

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