It seems like a no-brainer — marry a lush tropical setting with music for a variety of tastes. That winning combination was tested a year ago with the successful creation of the Fairchild GardenMusic Festival. Now the second annual event is taking place Jan. 9-19 at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd. in Coral Gables.
The festival is being directed by Teddy Abrams, who is a former Conducting Fellow of the New World Symphony and recently joined the Louisville Orchestra.
“I’ve been coming out to Miami to conduct for years,” he said. “I feel very close to Miami.”
He was in Miami from 2008 to 2011 with New World, but has been coming to Miami since he was 13 and has an affinity for this area.
“We did a trial season in 2012. Everything went great. It was a huge success,” Abrams said.
“Even though it feels like a summer music festival, there is no competition. Chamber music, jazz, Miami’s very uniquely positioned to create a signature music festival in a spectacular setting.”
He is a member of the Sixth Floor Trio with Harrison Hollingsworth and Johnny Teyssier and will perform in the concerts. The music will include jazz, classical, traditional folk, Broadway and Latin jazz. He also is conducting with the Louisville Orchestra.
“What we’re doing, the trio is codirecting. The central focus: we’re bringing in around 20 musicians to make up the ensemble and present the music,”
Abrams said. “The musicians have a wide background and are coming from around the world. They are the kind of people who are engaging and exciting, who can build our audiences.” Abrams said two extraordinary violinists are coming from Vienna, including Troy Roberts and one of the greatest folk violinists, Jeremey Kittel
There will be four themed evening performances: Jan. 9, the opening night concert; Saturday, Jan. 11, “Stories Told Through Music;” Jan. 14, “The Edge: Music that Pushed the Boundaries of its Time,” Jan. 17, “Broadway in the Garden (the benefit concert)” and Jan. 19, “A Jazzy Night.”
The festival was one of the winners of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Arts Challenge. The Knight Foundation gave the festival $150,000 in a matching grant.
“The festival is going to grow and be a major deal; it’s going to be recognized,” he said. “The way we’re going to be supporting and celebrating what Miami already has is unique.”
Abrams said the idea is to make the festival extremely accessible and inviting, for people to commune with the arts, the music and the space itself.
“The tickets start at $5,” he said. “We want this to be open and inviting for everyone.”
Abrams will be playing every concert as will the rest of his trio.
“I love the audiences in Miami. I think they are very open to creativity and talent,” he said. “Even if it’s something different, a unique twist to it. People will go with you; people will be excited about it.”
For more information go online to www.gardenmusicfestival.com.