I Dream a World: Mary Lou's Harlem 


In the early 1940s, a small Brownstown apartment in Harlem served as a salon for artists like Dizzie Gillespie, Billie Holliday and Thelonious Monk. Soon to be household names of jazz, these young artists made a nightly pilgrimage to the living room of pianist Mary Lou Williams. Led by Mary Lou, a new generation of jazz musicians would explore a radical new sound and form what we now know as bebop.  

Join New World Symphony and Dr. Tammy Kernodle for a series of performances dedicated to the life, soundworld and legacy of Mary Lou Williams. From the world premiere of a rediscovered composition to an intimate keyboard cabaret, this year’s I Dream a World festival will give you a deeper understanding of the woman who shaped modern jazz.  



2023-24 EVENTS

Concert for Kids: I Dream a World

Sunday, February 4 at 11:30 AM

New World Center

Molly Turner, conductor



Don’t miss this: Bring your little ones to this family-friendly celebration of the Black artists whose work at the turn of the 20th century went on to shape music and culture for decades to come. This relaxed, interactive concert was designed with children ages 4 to 9 in mind.

Film Screening: “Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band”

Wednesday, February 7 at 8:00 PM

SoundScape Park



Don’t miss this: In collaboration with the American Black Film Festival, NWS presents this 2015 feature documentary on the life and music of Mary Lou Williams, voiced by Alfre Woodard and featuring I Dream a World guest artist Carmen Lundy and festival curator Dr. Tammy Kernodle.

In the Land of Oo Blah Dee

Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 PM

The Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater



Don’t miss this: Join musicians from the New World Symphony for an evening of chamber music at the Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown.

Cabaret: Mary Lou’s Salon

Thursday, February 22 at 8:00 PM

New World Center



Don’t miss this: On the heels of two sold-out performances, New World Symphony’s cabaret series returns. Sip on a cocktail and prepare to be transported to Mary Lou Williams’ Harlem Brownstone for an evening of jazz led by pianist Aaron Diehl and his jazz trio.

The Soundworld of Mary Lou Williams

Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 7:30 PM

Sunday, February 25, 2024 at 2:00 PM

New World Center

Andrew Grams, conductor
Carmen Lundy, soprano
Aaron Diehl, piano and jazz trio
Ambassador Chorale of Florida Memorial University
Jazz Vocal Ensemble of Florida International University



Don’t miss this: Contemplate the heavens with selections from Mary Lou Williams’ Mass and Zodiac Suite, an astrological journey that blurs the lines between jazz and classical music. 




Carnival Corporation & PLC Knight Foundation The Kovner Foundation City of Miami Beach Miami-Dade County Yamaha Artist Services