Point of View

Classical Music and Dance lives on in Miami thanks to the Knight Foundation, the Ziff family and the Classical Encore Circle
August 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Masterworks Series

Community support and quick work by the world’s leading performing arts organizations have ensured that classical music and dance presentations continue to have a home in Miami. Thanks to a $200,000 challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a $500,000 pledge over five years from Dr. and Mrs. Sanford L. Ziff and $80,000 in additional private support from the Classical Encore Circle, the Adrienne Arsht Center will present its first full offering of classical music and dance programming. The inaugural JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT MASTERWORKS SEASON will include the four-performance Sanford and Dolores Ziff Classical Music Series and the three-part Signature Dance Series, as well as a variety of special events that will be made available to subscribers on a priority basis.

“Together, Knight Foundation and Sanford and Dolores Ziff provided philanthropic investments that helped create these grand buildings. With their support for these series, they bring their philanthropic resources to the Center once again to ensure that classical music and dance continue in Miami long into the future,” said M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “Their  leadership support is a clear indication that the inaugural season is destined to bring joy to audiences who cherish the natural acoustics in the Knight Concert Hall and the grandeur of dance in the Ziff Ballet Opera House.”

M. John Richard and Violinist and Condutor Pinchas Zuckerman; Photo by Mitchell Zachs
Adrienne Arsht Center CEO, M. John Richard and Violinist and Conductor Pinchas Zuckerman; Photo by Mitchell Zachs

 “As we evolve into a new and greater Miami, informed by all manner of cultural influences, it’s essential that we keep alive and vibrant the influence of classical music and dance. They are essential parts of our heritage. Knight Foundation’s Miami Program Director, Dennis Scholl, and I are proud to join Sandy and Dolores Ziff in support of these series. We’ve made this a challenge grant to encourage others to embrace this opportunity and ensure classical music and dance for Miami at the Knight Concert Hall and the Ziff Ballet Opera House,” said Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of the Knight Foundation.

Alberto & Susanna Ibarguen

Alberto & Susanna Ibarguen

“It is a great pleasure to watch audiences enjoy the world’s most renowned classical music artists in one of the most spectacular concert halls in the United States. I am proud to support the Adrienne Arsht Center as it enters a new era of presenting classical music and am pleased to know that our community will be able to continue enjoying this transformational art form,” said Dr. Ziff.

Dr. Sanford and Dolores Ziff with Alvin Ailey Artistic Director Judith Jamison; Photo by Noelle Thread

Dr. Sanford and Dolores Ziff with Alvin Ailey Artistic Director Judith Jamison; Photo by Noelle Thread

“As a longtime South Florida resident, it gives me a special thrill to be able to continue to enjoy, on a regular basis, world-class performances in the magnificent theaters that make up Miami’s crown jewel,” said I. Stanley Levine, member of the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Classical Encore Circle, a dedicated group of patrons who are committed to assuring that classical music and dance are presented for the Miami community by the Center. “I am incredibly proud to have the opportunity to be part of a group of dedicated classical arts lovers who are participating in this undertaking by the Center to ensure that these art forms have a home at the Adrienne Arsht Center long into the future.”


I. Stanley Levine

I. Stanley Levine


“In a short amount of time, the Adrienne Arsht Center has successfully ensured the continued presentation of the magnificent art forms that our community supported for 40 years and will continue to embrace for generations to come. As impresarios, we are proud to have assembled a season that brings to the Adrienne Arsht Center stage four of the world’s great orchestras and renowned musicians; three stunning dance ensembles, and three iconic performers,” continued Richard.

The SANFORD  AND DOLORES ZIFF CLASSICAL MUSIC SERIES will present four diverse works by the highly regarded Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Pinchas Zukerman, on December 16; a solo recital of audience favorites by four-time Emmy® Award and 15-time Grammy® Award-winning violinist Itzhak Perlman on January 12; the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the internationally recognized American conductor Leonard Slatkin, on February 14; and outstanding pianist Lang Lang accompanied by the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra,  on March 29, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. The four-part series will take place entirely in one of the most acoustically superb concert halls in the world – the Center’s John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall.

Lang Lang

The SIGNATURE DANCE SERIES will feature a selection of world-renowned dance companies including one of Israel’s leading cultural ambassadors, the Batsheva Ensemble on December 5 and 6; the internationally acclaimed American dance company The Joffrey Ballet on March 26 and 27; and the return of Miami favorite Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from May 20 – 23. The three-part series will take place in the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House.

FallProgarmPhotos 001
The Joffrey Ballet

 Also announced as 2009-2010 season SPECIAL EVENTS are two spectacular holiday performances. Following two years of sold out performances, Miami’s own Seraphic Fire returns to deliver their powerful, critically-acclaimed performance of Messiah on December 19. The all-female vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock performs their unique blend of blues, gospel, rap and reggae-inspired sounds in a special “Holidays with Sweet Honey in the Rock” performance on December 11. Plus, an evening with the man who Frank Sinatra called “the best singer in the business” – the legendary crooner Tony Bennett – on January 8.


1 Comment so far
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I am delighted to know that there will be classical music at the Arsht Center again this season. I only wish we could have at least 8 concerts in the Ziff series.

Comment by Stephen A. Samson, DMD

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