Published on January 6th, 2023

Nu Deco Ensemble at the New World Symphony Center on April 20, 2018

The stated mission of Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble to create “transformative genre-bending musical experiences” is an interesting one considering the already atomized state of modern music and, on the other hand, Miami’s reputation for bulldozing anything “traditional.” Thinking about where orchestral music fits in the land of Ultra and DJ Khaled gets complicated. Yet Nu Deco Ensemble are here to make it make sense and win over as many musical camps as possible.

Formed in 2015 by Jacomo Bairos and Sam Hyken, they’ve become one of the city’s most dynamic musical forces, taking classical music as a foundation and finding compatible elements of hip-hop, pop, reggae, soul, rock and electronic music. They are, in their own words, a “flexible and hybrid orchestra that celebrates living composers, reimagines all genres of music, and collaborates with a wide range of diverse musical guests, composers, choreographers, dancers, and mixed media artists.”

Kishi by Jason Koerner

They’re also an arts organization that uses music engage and inspire a community that oftentimes is underserved in both education and accessibility to affordable entertainment, especially through their Imagination Series. In 2020 Nu Deco also created a youth version of the ensemble, adding “wellness, health, leadership, collaborative communication, interpersonal skills, and community stewardship” into their musical curriculum.

Their concerts have featured either collaborations with or reimaginings of artists including Outkast, Macy Gray, Angélique Kidjo, JP Saxe, Daft Punk and Ben Folds, among others. They are kicking off 2023 with a “high-octane” interpretation of Jacques Ibert’sDivertissement” — an already-energetic 1930 composition known for the spiritedness of its six movements — and a world-premiere of an original piece. The bill also features a reimagined Stevie Wonder album, “Innervisions,” and a special collaboration with New York’s soul-pop duo Lawrence.

Active since 2013, siblings Gracie and Clyde Lawrence are garnering high praise for their most recent effort, 2021’s “Hotel TV” and their hit single “Don’t Lose Sight.” More than just their soul and pop sensibilities, Lawrence’s affinity for funk and r&b, and their musical know-how, make them a perfect Ensemble partner.

The Nu Deco Ensemble featuring Lawrence perform 8pm Saturday, Jan. 21, at Miami Beach Bandshell in Miami Beach. ~ Abel Folgar