NWSA Symphony Orchestra Concert Highlights Guest Artist, Leah Hawkins

Conductor and students symphony orchestra performing on stage

New World School of the Arts returns to the iconic Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate the annual NWSA Symphony Orchestra concert, under the baton of NWSA conductor, Dr. Hyunjee Chung. Featured will be guest soloist and internationally renowned soprano Leah Hawkins, joined by the NWSA High School Choir (Dr. Leslie Alan Denning, choir director) and College Opera Theatre Ensemble (Dr. Megan Barrera, opera director).

“Having Leah Hawkins share her powerful artistry with our students during her residency at NWSA will undoubtedly be inspirational,” said Dr. Daniel Andai, dean of music at New World School of the Arts. “Her career is unfolding in impressive ways and her visit is a demonstration of the talent, high caliber artistry we aim to surround our students with. The bookended overture and symphony serve not only as a musician’s study for a lifetime, but the promotion of the well-rounded artists we educate daily, so that they too may develop a greater appreciation for the ways in which these composers changed the course of music for future generations.”

Photo inserts of Leah Hawkins and Dr. Hyunjee Chung
Leah Hawkins and Dr. Hyunjee Chung

In addition to the opera and spiritual works to be performed by the remarkable soloist, Leah Hawkins, who brings tremendous experience and knowledge to the audiences, the Symphony Orchestra will perform one of Beethoven’s most famous works, Symphony No. 5 in c-minor as well as the overture to Wagner’s opera, Rienzi, conducted by NWSA faculty, Dr. Hyunjee Chung. Featured alongside Leah Hawkins will be students from the NWSA High School Choir, directed by Dr. Leslie Alan Denning and NWSA College Opera Theatre Ensemble, directed by Dr. Megan Barrera.

A native of Philadelphia, soprano Leah Hawkins began the 2023-24 season in Verdi’s Messa da Requiem and X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X at the Metropolitan Opera, reprises her roles in X at Seattle Opera, and debuts as Giorgetta in Il Tabarro at Dutch National Opera. She had a series of exciting role and house debuts in the 2022-23 season, beginning the season as the Foreign Princess in Rusalka at Pittsburgh Opera, followed by Ariadne auf Naxos at Arizona Opera, Tosca at Opera Memphis and Santa Fe Opera, and Musetta in La bohème at the Metropolitan Opera. The winner of the 2023 Marian Anderson Award and a 2022 Richard Tucker Career Grant, she presented a recital at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, sang Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. She began the 2021-22 season as Desdemona in 7 DEATHS OF MARIA CALLAS at Opéra National de Paris, returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Porgy and Bess, and the Summer Recital Series, appeared at Des Moines Metro Opera, and had a title role debut as Adriana Lecouvreur.‍ Leah received her Master of Music in Voice from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in Music from Morgan State University.

The academic music curriculum fosters creativity and develops a knowledge of musical heritage. Course work develops the student’s growth and maturity in comprehensive musicianship. The study of music history and theory is pursued by taking a variety of classes, including foundations of music; surveys of music history in the western world, jazz and pop music in America, and music of the world’s people; and seminars in composition aesthetics, jazz improvisation, chamber music, and general musicianship. Students receive private lessons each term. The Private Lesson program offered by the music division is unique. Each student has the privilege of studying on a one-on-one basis with the New World artist faculty. Rigorous daily practice and preparation is expected of each student with their progress closely monitored. Each student is required to perform a solo jury at the end of each semester before the entire faculty of their area. Information about New World School of the Arts music division at (305) 237-3622.

A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, New World School of the Arts is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, and University of Florida. NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative, and academic development through a curriculum that reflects our community and the rich multicultural state of Florida. Through our partners NWSA confers the high school diploma, Associate of Arts degree, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees in programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater and Art & Design. NWSA’s rigorous eight-year curriculum and conservatory-style teaching has empowered students in our community and our nation to become leaders in the arts for more three decades. Information about New World School of the Arts at 305-237-3135 or nwsa.mdc.edu.


March 12; 7:30 PM

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Knight Concert Hall
1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

General admission $20 / Students and seniors $10