The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and Greater Miami Youth Symphony partner

to develop, commission and premiere their

first family-friendly musical composition in 2023


April 15, 2023

South Florida’s Ethan Soledad to compose piece following a statewide call for artists

Greater Miami Youth Symphony to premiere work during the Center’s free Family Fest in 2023

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County(@arshtcenter) and Greater Miami Youth Symphony (@gmysymphony) announce the creation of their first family-friendly musical composition, a celebration of life in the Tropics. Entirely Florida made, the original score draws inspiration from a picture book by Miami author M.J. Fievre and is composed by Broward native Ethan Soledad for the Greater Miami Youth Symphony (GMYS). The piece will have its world premiere on April 15, 2023 when the Greater Miami Youth Symphony performs it as part of the Arsht Center’s signature free Family Fest series. 


“’The Ocean Lives There’ celebrates Florida-made music and literature, educates young musicians in the practice of new work and provides an accessible and engaging musical experience for families,” said Jairo Ontiveros, Arsht Center vice president of arts education and community engagement.


The project began in summer 2022 with a statewide search for local composers followed by an independent review of submissions by a panel comprised of diverse music experts from across the Miami community. Ethan Soledad, a native of Broward County and graduate of Florida State University, was selected to compose this new piece. At just 23 years old, Soledad’s compositions have been performed at the Etchings Festival (Massachusetts), Charlotte New Music Festival (NC) and at the Oregon Bach Festival Composer Symposium.


“With Ethan’s talent, we transform the rich sounds of life near the equator into a musical gift for generations of young audiences and musicians,” continued Ontiveros.


Making it a truly memorable experience for audiences, “The Ocean Lives There” will include live narration and interactive components in addition to a full orchestral performance by GMYS. Founded in 1958, GMYS is an inclusive year-round, multi-tiered music training program consisting of over 600 students ranging in age from 5 to 18. Learn more about GMYS at


“Generations of children have been introduced to orchestral music through works like “Peter and the Wolf.” With ‘The Ocean Lives There,’ the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and the Arsht Center introduce a new generation of youth to the emotive, colorful sounds of tropical culture – sounds that are inclusive of the rich Caribbean communities that have made Florida their home,” said Jessica Munch-Dittmar, executive director of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony.


After carefully considering a number of high-quality children’s stories written by local authors, the Arsht Center and GMYS selected “The Ocean Lives There: Magic, Music, and Fun on a Caribbean Adventure” as the inspiration for the program. Written by Miami-based, Haitian-born author M.J. Fievre, the picture book tells the story of a door that leads a young girl to vibrant memories and visceral connections to a homeland she never knew.


“The Ocean Lives There” marks the first time the Arsht Center commissions an original piece made specifically for South Florida families. The intention is to elevate the state’s tropical cultures and highlight the shared immigrant experience of many South Florida communities. Other Arsht Center musical commissions have included Chucho Valdes’ “La Creacion” (2021); “Caravan: Road to Revolution” by Terence Blanchard, the E-Collective, Rennie Harris and Andrew Scott (2019); The Vivaldi Project “4”, a collaboration between Decadancetheatre and Miami’s Nu Deco Ensemble (2017); and Avner Dorman’s “Siklon” (2016).


“The Ocean Lives There,” presented by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and the Adrienne Arsht Center, will be performed FREE on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. Family Fest is supported by presenting sponsor Baptist Health South Florida. For more information on FREE first-access passes, visit here.


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