Project 305: A Real Miami Soundtrack

October 18, 2017Pola Bunster

If you were a composer or any sort of musician, what would Miami sound like to you? What noises, alarms, and sounds cannot be left out of the piece? What would the beat sound like or the crescendo? These are all questions waiting to be answered at the world premiere of the highly-anticipated Project 305 on October 21st at New World Center, culminating in the live performance of “Miami in Movements” and its accompanying visual collage of our city’s many known and yet-to-be-discovered landscapes.

Now if this is the first time you’re discovering Project 305 and its subsequent effect it will have on our city, you must be wondering what in the world we’re talking about. Here’s the break down: From January 31st – May 19th, the New World Symphony asked Miamians to record sounds specific to our city that encapsulated just what Miami might represent to locals and travelers both. It was then compiled and transformed into a symphonic suite and the whole city has been waiting (im)patiently to hear it. What’s more, there’s a video, too.

The entire project was inspired by the collection of “city symphony” pieces invented and composed by Tod Machover of MIT Media Lab, who had done similar projects for international cities like Toronto, Edinburgh, Perth, and Lucerne. The Knight Foundation, ever-present and excited to bridge the gaps between culture and community, brought the project to Detroit to huge success. Paired with New World Symphony’s identity as an American laboratory for classical music, it was a perfect fit. “We often think about how to incorporate new and emerging technologies into the classical music experience” said Craig Hall – V.P. of Communications for NWS, “it made sense for the us to partner with the Knight Foundation and the MIT Media Lab in bringing this project to Miami.”

Photo by WBUR


Working with a team at the MIT Media Lab, who created a custom app that allowed participants to record and upload the sounds and sights that represent “their Miami,” they took the Machover project a step further. They asked participants to not only share audio, but video as well. “We believe this was an important progression for this project and this city, in order to fully understand, appreciate and showcase the diversity of Miami” said Hall. “The result will be the first symphony with accompanying film to be crowdsourced by the community.”

They didn’t conduct the project alone, though. they partnered with community leaders throughout Miami-Dade County like The New Tropic, The Miami Foundation, the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, YoungArts and many more to help get the word out and ensure that the piece was all-encompassing of our magic city. “For us and for this project, it was important to have wide participation to ensure that the final work was representative of the diversity that makes Miami unique.” The resulting crowd-sourcing led to over 1,000 sound and video entries for the project, where every participant was given their moment for creative expression.

In a time where quality of life seems unstable across the world, the country, and even our own backyard, Project 305 is an essential piece of artistic glue that will bond our communities together under a shared pride for our city. Along the five months of audience participation, many locals unearthed new things about Miami they hadn’t yet learned. “This project helped sparked conversations about Miami” Hall said, “and provided an opportunity to reflect on their lives, their communities and the issues we deal with regularly, but don’t often stop to think about.”

All of this work and creative discovery has come together for a ground-breaking final product: “Miami in Movements” which, as Craig Hall explains, “reflects both that the actual work consists of multiple movements but also that Miami is a city in constant motion, and that its identity is based on multiple influences over time.”

The big reveal is this Saturday, October 21st where audiences have multiple opportunities to experience the world premiere of the piece for the very first time. You can tune in through Facebook Live, catch it in person at the Soundscape Park WALLCAST, or watch it inside the concert hall.