A look back at the 2012 GardenMusic Festival

Arts / Article

By Harrison Hollingsworth, Sixth Floor Trio Bassoonist/Violinist Harrison Hollingsworth is currently on tour with Teddy Abrams and Johnny Teyssier, with whom he forms the Sixth Floor Trio. They are the artistic directors of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s music festival GardenMusic, which is a Knight Arts grantee. Today he checks in with a report from Miami.

It was a crazy idea, but in retrospect, I can’t imagine it happening any other way.

Teddy, Johnny, and I wanted to curate a music festival that embodied the Sixth Floor Trio’s mission and was built with our DNA – Music Connecting People.  We wanted a place of inspiration for all artists – inviting jazzers, folk pickers, dancers, actors, videographers and poets to collaborate and co-create with classical-types like ourselves. Most importantly, we wanted a place for everyone to experience music. And we wanted it all to go down somewhere breathtakingly beautiful.

Fairchild fit the bill perfectly. They jumped at the proposal, and then went even further, helping us to execute the plan better than we thought possible. This past spring, after months of preparation, the inaugural season of GardenMusic took over the Fairchild Garden grounds, bringing a week of music to garden visitors from Miami and around the country.

Here are the specifics. We put on:

  • 4 full-length subscription concerts, including one surveying the History of Music over 800 years (don’t worry, it was an abridged version)
  • A packed-house kid’s concert, complete with instrumental petting zoo
  • 2 brand new works of music, commissioned by and for GardenMusic
  • A new, fully staged production of Stravinsky’s theater masterpiece The Soldier’s Tale, featuring actors from City Theatre and dancing/choreography from Miami Contemporary Dance Company
  • A masterclass for students from the University of Miami
  • Countless open rehearsals, informal 20 minute concerts (“shorts”), demonstrations for school groups, and Random Acts of Culture

We also organized nearly ten major inter-disciplinary collaborations, including:

We certainly didn’t do this ourselves. Fairchild leadership, board members, and staff handled all the heavy logistics. The musicians we invited learned and performed an incredible amount of music at the highest level. The collaborating artists created compelling art consistent with GardenMusic’s mission.  Finally, ever since serving as the “touring act” of the Knight Foundation’s Random Acts of Culture initiative, the Trio has been blown away by the vision, innovation, and love for the Arts that the Foundation demonstrates. We couldn’t be more grateful for the support they gave to GardenMusic 2012, helping our crazy idea to become a reality.

Next year, GardenMusic expands to two weeks at Fairchild. We’re looking forward to new collaborations, more great concerts, and reaching even more people.  Many of our concerts will be free to the public, and we intend to reach every visiting school group with music, in partnership with Fairchild’s education department.

The Sixth Floor Trio and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden will continue to grow GardenMusic into a formidable force for the arts in Miami, pursuing the mission of music connecting people through 2013 and years to come.

Jordan Tice Trio/Sixth Floor Trio Collaboration: http://youtu.be/JCvxS3L4UAo

GardenMusic Finale – Sixth Floor by Teddy Abrams: http://youtu.be/QcFWXXn0EI4

Edgar Meyer – Duo: http://youtu.be/upqh06brV-8