‘Mozart in the Garden:’ magical in many ways

Children dancing to Mozart at the Knoxville Botanical Garden last Thursday.

“Mozart in the Garden,” a free evening of music by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra held at four locations in the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, was an almost magical experience last week.

Quartets each played two sets in three locations — the Stone Terraces, the Martha H. Ashe Garden and the Stone Greenhouse. The evening concluded with the entire orchestra performing in the Dogwood Center where some audience members were seated inside and many others set up chairs outside and listened as the music wafted out the open doors.

The timing allowed guests to wander from location to location for the first hour, experiencing some of the greatest music of Western civilization in various lovely settings.

This was the second year the KSO has performed a free concert at the Botanical Garden, located just five minutes from downtown in East Knoxville. Rachel Ford, executive director of the Knoxville Symphony, said the idea for the concert came during the pandemic when the organization was looking for ways to provide outdoor listening experiences. But it looks like it has become a tradition.

“We thank our friends at the Botanical Garden for partnering with us,” Ford said. “This concert fit the protocols of the time — and, as an added bonus, it also contributed to the Symphony’s mission of offering performances that reach East Tennessee audiences of all ages. We look forward to performing in the Garden again next fall.”

Music director and conductor Aram Demirjian explained that 80 percent of the Symphony’s performances are not held on the stages of its traditional venues but are located instead at libraries, hospitals and other settings such as the Garden. “So, if you liked what you heard tonight, follow us!” he urged.

Audience watching a quartet perform at the Stone Terraces.

And, here’s that quartet. From left, Sean Claire, Ikuko Koizumi, Stacy Nickell (in back) and Joshua Ulrich.

Ikuko Koizumi, left, and Stacy Nickell.

Watching from the terrace.

From left, Audrey Pride, Kyle Venlet, Steve Benne and Jennifer Bloch playing in the Martha H. Ashe Garden.

The appreciative audience.

Among the audience were Joan and Victor Ashe. The garden was named for his mother.

Great seeing our friends Jon Agazzi and Sheena McCall there, too.

Next stop: the Stone Greenhouse.

Where the players included, from left, Rachel Loseke, I-Pei Lin, Sarah Senn and Bill Pierce.

The conductor grabbing a shot!

It was getting toward sunset when we headed to the Dogwood Center for the finale.

That’s where we found Shawn White warming up.

We chose a seat inside.

As did these folks.

The outside audience.

From left, Rachel Loseke, Ikuko Koizumi, Audrey Pride and Kyle Venlet.

Stacy Nickell.

Sean Claire.

Sarah Ringer.

Gary Sperl.

Andy Bryenton.

Music Director Aram Demirjian in action.


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2 Responses to ‘Mozart in the Garden:’ magical in many ways

  1. Sheena McCall, on October 3rd, 2022 at 4:07 pm said:

    It really was a lovely evening and wonderful to see so many families with children.
    The Symphony does a great job of providing free outdoor concerts, so that families can bring their children and don’t need to pay a babysitter.
    Audiences of the future❤️

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on October 5th, 2022 at 3:08 am said:

    Great point, Sheena. And, while I love seeing the KSO perform anywhere, there is something so special about seeing them in the great outdoors.

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