Photo credit: Tomas Loewy
It’s not typical that “noise” is cited as a major concern when specifying a lighting fixture, but the New World Symphony (NWS) and its New World Center are not your typical orchestra and concert hall. Furthermore, the symphony’s recent “Pulse” event—where a dozen elektraLite Dazer Outdoor fixtures were used to help transform the venue into a hip club vibe—was definitely not your typical symphonic performance.
Billed as “America’s Orchestral Academy,” the New World Symphony and its blazing white New World Center venue are Miami icons, and NWS’ recent Pulse event—which combined its musicians, a DJ and dancers—was the kind of cross-cultural fusion that truly best happens in a place like South Florida.
“Pulse is programed into different sets that rotate between a DJ and the full orchestra, plus we commission crossover works for the DJ and orchestra to perform together,” says NWS Director of Lighting Luke Kritzeck. ”We transform our concert hall into a late-night lounge, complete with club-style lighting and video art, all of which is synced to the music. The Dazer fixtures give us endless possibilities in color matching and their dimming profiles are very smooth.”
Designed with both outdoor stages and architectural uses in mind, elektraLite’s Dazer Outdoor incorporates 54 powerful five-watt LEDs to bring rich, vivid RGB color saturation, along with literally millions of color blending combinations. The fixture features a sophisticated diffraction lensing system that offers four different beam sizes (15, 25, 40 and 60 degrees) as standard.
That combination of flexibility and power was key to transforming the New World Center into a funky, art-club feel. Kritzeck reports that the Dazer Outdoors do much more than the fixtures they retired, which were used only to light some architectural elements within the concert hall.
“I demoed a couple of different units from other manufacturers, but I was unable to find a solution that ticked all of the boxes,” he says. “Then, I attended a showing at the Barbizon Lighting office in Miami where the elektraLite fixtures were being demoed and I really liked what I saw first-hand.”
“The Dazer Outdoor fixture was chosen for two reasons: color—everything in our building is white—and noise,” Kritzeck notes. “Most larger and brighter fixtures on the market have fans in them. With us being in a world-class concert hall, noise pollution is a big concern. Most outdoor fixtures are completely sealed and generate no fan noise, so we look to a lot of non-standard theatrical lines for our equipment solutions.”
While lighting for the Pulse event was largely provided by Barbizon, the Dazer Outdoor fixtures have now become permanent fixtures at both the New World Center’s main concert hall as well as the SunTrust Pavilion, which serves as a secondary performance space for smaller ensembles.
Kritzeck, who worked previously with Cirque du Soleil on both the touring show TOTEM and ZAiA—the company’s resident show in Macau, China—emphasizes what makes NWS different from orchestras.
“New World Symphony is not your typical orchestra, nor do we perform in your typical concert hall,” he describes. “NWS is an academy that serves as a laboratory for classical music; we’re constantly experimenting with the performance, presentation and experience of classical music. All of our concerts have some sort of theatrically designed element to them. Whether it be immersive video and lighting that sets the mood for the concert as you walk into the performance space, or fully staged performances with the orchestra being joined onstage—or virtually—by dancers, singers and visual artists, our concerts have a very visually-curated focus.”
Again, the “look” that the Dazer Outdoor fixtures achieved was matched in importance by what they did not bring with them—unwanted noise. “In a ‘typical’ lighting gig, not much thought goes into the amount of noise generated by the gear, but here at New World, the music is the focus. Equipment is spec’d to keep our performance space clean of noise pollution.”
While cueing changes are written to be hidden as much as possible by louder parts of the performance, NWS is not a rock band. “The Dazer Outdoor fixtures brought us everything we needed to transform the space without any baggage that would have adversely affected the performance,” Kritzeck adds. “You just can’t turn the orchestra volume up to hide 68 moving lights changing parameters.”