Garden of Music Shares Rich History of Longwood’s Musical Instruments and Performing Arts
New book now available at The Garden Shop
Kennett Square, PA—Longwood Gardens is a treasure trove of plants, fountains, learning opportunities, and performing arts. Few venues can say they’ve hosted both local community artists and nationally known stars. For decades, music, dance, and theater have filled the landscape with more than 10,000 events, thanks to the vision of founder Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) and to those who have followed him. A new book Garden of Music: Musical Instruments and Performing Arts, by Colvin Randall, Longwood’s P.S. du Pont Fellow, with Jonathan Ambrosino, organ expert, takes an all-encompassing look at the rich history and legacies of the musicians, performers, staff, and instruments that have elevated the performing arts at Longwood Gardens. The book, retailing for $38, is available now for purchase in Longwood’s online shop and onsite in The Garden Shop.
“Combining the beauty of our gardens with the brilliance of the performing arts is deeply intertwined with our mission of bringing joy and inspiration to all who visit,” said Paul B. Redman, President and CEO of Longwood Gardens. “In this thorough dive into Longwood’s collection of musical instruments and history of performances, Randall and Ambrosino highlight the many people who have helped to bring to the arts to Longwood.”
No garden in America can equal Longwood’s rich history of presenting the performing arts both indoors in the Conservatory and outdoors in the Open Air Theatre and other venues within the Gardens. Magnificent instruments that call Longwood home include a celebrated 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, a 62-bell Eijsbouts carillon, and a historic Steinway grand piano.
“I’m honored to tell the story of Alice and Pierre S. du Pont’s dedication to supporting artists and using their Gardens as a place to showcase the arts,” said Randall. “Longwood’s success in presenting the performing arts is a testament to the du Ponts’ vision, the talented performers who have graced our venues, and the staff who’ve helped to facilitate these inspiring moments.”
Garden of Music shares the remarkable history in 320 pages with more than 900 illustrations, recounting in detail glorious concerts, theatrical performances, musical instruments, fabulous garden parties, and more than a century of entertainment in an unparalleled setting.
An industrialist who was also a patron of the arts, du Pont and his wife Alice were patrons of the arts. During his lifetime, he presented large-scale public and private entertainments at Longwood Gardens. He aided several budding musicians, performers, and organizations in their starts including local organizations such as The Brandywiners. The first charity production at Longwood was in 1916 when The Savoy Company of Philadelphia, the oldest amateur theater company solely dedicated to presenting the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, performed in the Open Air Theatre, a tradition that continues today.
Garden of Music: Musical Instruments and Performing Arts is available in Longwood’s Garden Shop for $38, and online at shop.longwoodgardens.org.
About the Authors
Colvin Randall is Longwood’s first P.S. du Pont Fellow, a recognition given for his many contributions to the Gardens. His journey at Longwood began with his first visit to Longwood in 1963. He is a 1972 graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in architectural history. He entered the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware, where he received a master’s in horticulture. He was hired as Longwood’s Publicity Coordinator in 1977 and in 2004 became Historian and Information Manager. Throughout his career, Randall has written and produced numerous books, exhibits, DVDs, and CDs about Longwood.
Jonathan Ambrosino is a historian, journalist, and organ consultant. He has helped to maintain the Longwood Organ since 2001 and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Longwood Gardens International Organ Competition. Since 1986, Ambrosino distinguished himself as a tuner-technician, tonal finisher, historian, author, and consultant. As a consultant for new organs, Ambrosino has worked with numerous institutions and builders, most notably Harvard University’s Memorial Church, Saint Thomas Church, and Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City.
About Longwood Gardens
In 1906, industrialist Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, PA, to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great horticultural displays, encompassing 1,100 acres of dazzling gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and grand conservatory. Longwood Gardens is the living legacy of Pierre S. du Pont, bringing joy and inspiration to everyone through the beauty of nature, conservation, and learning. Open daily, Longwood is one of more than 30 gardens in the Philadelphia region known as America’s Garden Capital. For more information, visit longwoodgardens.org.