Dec 292013

We are very excited about the upcoming season of GardenMusic at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami! Visit the website,, for more information on the festival and our concerts. The Sixth Floor Trio serves as Artistic Directors of the festival, which will run from January 6 to 19, 2014. Fairchild is one of Miami’s most magical venues, and the perfect place to hear music either in the concert tent or on the lawn. In an effort to make GardenMusic as accessible and inviting as possible to the widest audiences, ticket prices are very affordable – starting at just $5!

Our four main concerts will take place on January 9, 11, 14, and 19. Each will have a special theme: January 9 is an introduction to our artists and our philosophy that great musicians can collaborate both personally and stylistically. January 11 is about music that tells stories in many different ways. January 14 is called “The Edge” and features music that pushed boundaries throughout history. The final concert on January 19 explores jazz and its connections to classical music.

GardenMusic Kids Concert

There will also be a special benefit concert on January 17 featuring the amazing singer Morgan James and a kids concert on January 18; our artists specialize in music education and this should be an amazing family event!

Morgan James – featured on January 17!





For more info visit and for tickets please go to

See you in Miami in a few weeks!

Apr 192012

March was an incredible month for the Trio… So much happened that it’s proving difficult to consolidate everything into a website post! So while we work on a report about GardenMusic 2012, the music festival we direct, check out these articles that have been written about the Trio in the press! More to come…

ClevelandClassical Review of our Akron, Ohio show

KnightArts Review of the same show

KnightArts blog post about GardenMusic 2012

Diario Los Americas article about GardenMusic (in Spanish)

And a preview of what GardenMusic looked like (we can’t wait to share the rest of the pics!):

The Trio performs at GardenMusic

In true Sixth Floor Trio style, we just completed a grueling and exhilarating week of concerts and events. We started in McLean, Virginia (in the Washington, DC area) playing a performance at the home of our wonderful friends Jan and Elizabeth Lodal. The Lodals are fascinating and amazingly laid-back – and we think they didn’t mind our sprawling display of luggage, instruments, loose-leaf music, and reed tools. They invited a very interesting and mixed group of friends to the show, and this concert also served as the premiere for the Pilot of our video project Music Of The People (more to come…).

Just a few hours after the concert ended we were on our way to the Baltimore Airport for a 6:30 AM flight to Cleveland on Teddy’s preferred airline, United (he’s been flying a lot recently)…

Not the actual plane, obviously

Our destination was Akron, Ohio – we were scheduled to perform at 11 AM at Wadsworth High School as part of a two-day residency in the area. The Trio has played many school concerts in our three seasons of existence, but this was one of the most exciting and positive experiences we’ve had. The students were tremendously engaged, enthusiastic, and polite! We wish all of these wonderful young folks the best…

We then performed a Random Act Of Culture at the Akron-Summit County Public Library. This is the type of place normally known for peace and quiet, so we were relieved that the musical “intrusion” was received well!

The next day we presented a masterclass at Kent State University and another school visit at Hudson High. The masterclass included an improvisation workshop with a few of the Kent music students. We loved hearing bassoon, clarinet, and viola students trying their hand at generating music on the spot – they all did a great job!

Finally, that evening (March 16) we played our main event in Akron – a performance at the Fuze! Concert Series at the Akron Art Museum. The Art Museum is one of several striking contemporary buildings in downtown Akron (which we found to be a surprising lively and energetic community). Our friends at the Knight Foundation have been big supporters of the arts in Akron, and it is clear from Akron’s many beautiful cultural buildings and programs that they’ve been a wonderful force in the region. We had a great time at the concert, and we couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful and supportive audience. We can’t wait to come back to this area…

The Akron Art Museum

Then it was back to Washington, DC for a performance at the Kennedy Center as a part of their Budapest, Prague, and Vienna Festival. This gave us a great opportunity to add two new arrangements to our repertoire – Dvorak’s C Major Slavonic Dance and Johann Strauss’ Voices of Spring Waltz. We loved the idea of exploring the rich traditions of both “art music” and “folk music” in these three cities – and Teddy was particularly excited about this program because he is living in Budapest this season!

Beautiful (and early) Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC

The only thing left to do was to attempt to visit the Kryptos Statue at the Central Intelligence Agency. Apparently the CIA isn’t keen on people snooping around the spook headquarters, and we were forced to hustle out of Langley. (Harrison wanted to push forward, but Johnny wisely insisted on heeding the 47 “Restricted Area” signs.)

Now we’re off to Miami to get ready for our festival GardenMusic at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden! This should be a new level of crazy, but that’s how we roll…

PS – check out this article about the Trio by Mike Telin at

We’re very excited to announce the first season of GardenMusic, a chamber music festival we’re creating at the beautiful Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami! The Sixth Floor Trio is serving as Artistic Directors of the festival, which will run from March 25 to April 1, 2012 (and will be an annual event at Fairchild!).

We’ve been working hard to develop a diverse and engaging range of activities and programs: GardenMusic will include subscription concerts, “shorts” – 20 minute interactive concerts, Random Acts of Culture, kids concerts/demonstrations, and more. We would love to see you at this year’s GardenMusic – please click here for more information and tickets.

SO when we last left you, dear readers, the Sixth Floor Trio was frantically preparing for the filming of our pilot episode of “Music of the People”, a travel show focusing on a certain area’s musical culture. Episode 1 – Bluegrass in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Not knowing the local music scene that well (and having little luck with some of the remote cold calls we tried in the preceding month), once we were on location we decided to visit our friend Kenny at his day job at the Linville post office for some advice. We had met Kenny a few years back when he ran sound for one of our gigs, but he also plays bass and knows all the musicians in town.

Kenny was more than helpful – He found and set us up to collaborate with a great local band. It consisted of fiddler Alan Johnson, banjoist (banjoer?) Jason Burleson, Merlefest champion guitarist  Steve Lewis and Josh Scott on bass. Man those guys could play! During the interview section they expressed sentiments very similar to our own ideas about music from different traditions being part of the same tonal language (In Josh’ words: It’s just all good music that grooves together), and for fun we even jammed out together on old-time fiddle tune Angeline the Baker.

To round out the episode we interviewed Mark Freed, a professor with the Center for Appalacian Studies just down the road at ASU in Boone, NC. All our videography was done by a very talented film student there named Jessie Whitman. Unfortunately we were so busy with the filming that day that we don’t have any photos for you, but we promise to have a trailer up for you very soon.

In an effort to recreate the insanity that was our Fall tour (even just a few weeks later), all the images start blurring together.  Thankfully we have a memory aid – the iPhone.

Teddy and Johnny outside our home in Vermont

Oh yes.  The Sixth Floor Trio had an AMAZING time playing at the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival (, and many thanks to Peter Sanders (the festival’s music director) and our gracious hosts the Wilders (whose home is nestled cozily in the background) for making our stay so enjoyable.

However, this picture of Johnny and Teddy is highly deceptive – During our Concert at the Inn, a hurricane (the one that was supposed to hit NYC and ended up demolishing much of Vermont) chased us back to the Wilders’, and when we left the next morning, roads had been washed away and covered in trees; it was nearly impossible to get back to New York.  Vermont is still recovering, and we were sorry to leave it in such a mess, but we did have a great time playing for such a wonderful community.

After a quick stopover in NYC (and acquiring a portable electronic keyboard), we made our way to Philadelphia to play our very first Random Acts of Culture (see post below for details).  We took the (in)famous Megabus, and miraculously fit all of our instruments under the puny 3 seats we bought in an otherwise full bus.  We really need to get a touring crate for all this stuff.

Our first ten RACs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art went quite well  (see the Knight Foundation’s  link in the last post for one of our more popular ones – “Pictures at an Exhibition” under Diana in the Grand Atrium).  Kudos to Gabe Globus-Hoenich for doing great video work!  We rewarded him in his favorite currency at Fox and Hound.  Poor Teddy wasn’t doing so well on two hours of sleep.

During our two days in Philly, we also managed to somehow squeeze in four outreach concerts with Bonnie Slobodien at Astral Artists (

We’ve enjoyed a wonderful relationship as a trio with Bonnie and all the folks at Astral over the years.  We did do one (at the Stapeley Assisted Living Center) pro bono, and Bonnie very generously treated us to a seafood dinner with her family (we even got to meet her brand new grandbaby!).


At this point, we were feeling pretty dead.  This is what our schedule over the last day had looked like, just to spell it out:

  • Tuesday (Aug 23) – Congregate in NYC; Double Rehearsal at Lincoln Center
  • Wednesday – Double Rehearsal, Repertoire Development (new tunes Cazadero and Belize)
  • Thursday – Travel to Randolph, VT (3 hr bus, 3.5 hr drive); Dress Rehearsal at Chandler Hall
  • Friday – Children’s Concert, Rehearsal/Work on website and logistics for Philadelphia RACs
  • Saturday – Rehearsal, Half Day Off (Canoeing)
  • Sunday – HURRICANE, Concert at the Inn, website, more canoeing :(), more hurricane
  • Monday – 5am, start driving to New York on demolished highways; 7p reach New York (with a new keyboard)
  • Tuesday – 6am bus to Philly, 10 RACs at the Art Museum and 2 community engagements concerts for Astral
  • Wednesday – Rehearsal, 2 more community engagements for Astral, and two train rides

So we decide to take the next day off.  What’s that?  Excuse me, I mean we drive 14 hours straight to North Carolina.  It didn’t help that we hit sick traffic in Delaware and Baltimore.

  • Thursday – 9:30 load and leave Philly; midnight arrive in Linville, NC

After a day like that, we decided to treat ourselves to a real dinner (as Bill Abrams says, “How often do we do this?”), just before crossing into NC.  Here’s another place where the Iphone came in handy – we used the Yelp app to find the best restaurant around.  Of course down in Galax, Virginia, that means BBQ.

Teddy and I split the sampler plate, and they had some pretty good brisket.  Not Texas good, but good.  They also had one of the most original translations of Hebrew Levitical Law I’ve ever seen.

One of the best laughs I had on the trip.  I’m really glad (6) applied neither to pigs nor cows.

Anyway – we got in LATE that night to Dot Griffith’s house, where we have stayed under her hospitality for three years straight now – She is a prime example of why we go back to the Western NC area time and time again – the overwhelmingly supportive community there is just unparalleled in our experience.   The next day we played a fantastic outdoor concert for over 200 people at Valle Crucis Park (see two posts ago for a picture).  The second we finished our last tune, enormous gusts of wind brought down one of those lightning quick coastal storms famous in the Mid-atlantic.  Thankfully, in the eight minutes of wind before the rain, we managed to load all our gear in the car.   The next day I left Teddy and Johnny to fend for themselves under Dot’s doting care while I spent two and a half blissful days with Leah celebrating our first wedding anniversary (as well as the actual wedding of Nick Britell and Caitlin Sullivan).  Finally, a rest (not really, knowing Leah and I, but still very nice)

On my return, the trio was immediately occupied with planning a day of filming for our pilot episode of “Music of the People” – a travel show focusing on a certain location through it’s local music.  Pilot Episode: bluegrass in western North Carolina.  We also spent one day preparing for and playing a benefit concert for the music program at nearby Avery County High School (which my grandparents. who happened to be in the area, popped by for!), as well as having some adventure (one of Teddy’s favorite things) at one Western NC’s greatest treasures: Hawksnest Zipline.

Enough of that, blog-readers.  Enjoy these tasty documented morsels for now.  More to follow.

Sep 132011

We just finished our first two sets of Random Acts of Culture as part of our grant from the Knight Foundation!

Starting off in Philadelphia, we played 10 Random Acts at the Art Museum. We played a wide variety of music in a bunch of different galleries, trying to pair our music with the artwork. We had a great time, and the museum mentioned us on their Facebook page.

Next, we played a total of 22 Random Acts in two days in Charlotte, NC! We played at the Charlotte airport, at the Belk department store, at the Atherton Mill Market, and at Macy’s: a pretty crazy, but definitely stimulating schedule!

Also, we were happy to see that the Knight Foundation wrote a post about us on their website!

Our arrival in Philadelphia with all of our stuff!!

For more information about this project, please visit our Random Acts of Culture page.

Sep 082011

Hello everybody! We’ve decided to revamp our website so it’s more user-friendly and attractive (for both us and our fans). We hope you like it.  We’re in the middle of our 3rd annual August tour (it’s going a little late this year I guess), so check out our calendar to see when we’re playing next in a town near you. Also, if you’re not already signed up, add yourselves to our mailing list to the right (you can always unsubscribe), and we’ll keep you posted on various developments for the upcoming season.

More to come soon…

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