Culture
3:05 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

GardenMusic Festival Kicks Off At Fairchild

The Sixth Floor Trio performs at Fairchild. Pictured from left to right are Harrison Hollingsworth, Johnny Teyssier and Teddy Abrams.
Credit Marva Hinton / WLRN
Click here to listen to our full interview with the Sixth Floor Trio.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables kicks off its second GardenMusic Festival Thursday, Jan. 9. The event features everything from chamber music, to jazz, folk and even Broadway standards.

Members of Sixth Floor Trio, the group that developed the musical program for the festival, say that’s by design.

“We thought that rather than sticking to one form of a music festival we would create something new, something that really highlights the way our artists are able to play in many different styles,” said Teddy Abrams, the trio’s pianist.

That aspect of the program makes GardenMusic stand out in the world of musical festivals which typically focus on one genre of music.

“This sort of ties in with the Sixth Floor Trio,” said Harrison Hollingsworth, the group’s violinist. “We’re all classically-trained musicians, but with the trio we’ve sort of branched out to different genres of music. We told ourselves there’s so much music that we love that’s not classical, why don’t we play that? When we started our trio, that was our philosophy, and so, of course, we brought that for GardenMusic.”

The festival is bringing in several artists from all over the world to participate in the event such as jazz vocalist and Broadway star Morgan James and Venezuelan bassist Bambam Rodriguez.

Fairchild's Wings of the Tropics Butterfly Conservatory inspired a piece written by Sebastian Chang, a composer who's participating in the GardenMusic Festival.
Credit Marva Hinton / WLRN

Abrams says the trio sought to involve artists who would fit in with Fairchild’s international reputation for displaying incredible beauty and culture. The garden is well known for showcasing the work of prominent artists such as sculptor Michele Oka Doner.

“We wanted to make sure that the musicians we brought in matched what Fairchild has to offer, and so we are bringing people from around the world [who are] recognized as some of the most creative and inspiring musicians of their generations,” said Abrams.

But Abrams says excellent musicianship was not the only criteria used to select the GardenMusic artists. The trio was also looking for artists that the audience would want to meet and spend time with.

The festival encourages interaction between guests and the musicians.

“One of the main ideas for this festival was to sort of take over the whole gardens,” said Johnny Teyssier, the trio’s clarinetist. “It’s such an amazing beautiful space [that] sort of calls for music. So one of the ideas is to have musicians just playing outside during the day. Probably every visitor of the gardens will hear music coming from somewhere.”

Musicians will be playing throughout the gardens at random times to surprise and entertain the guests.
Credit Marva Hinton / WLRN

The GardenMusic Festival runs through January 18. The first concert is set for Thursday, January 9 and will feature the Sixth Floor Trio. Thanks to a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, individual concert tickets are available for as low as $5 and can be purchased online or on site.