Longwood Gardens Celebrates Rich History of Performing Arts in New Book Release

Garden of MusicImage via Longwood Gardens

KENNETT SQUARE, PA — Longwood Gardens, Chester County’s botanical treasure, has long been a hub for performing arts and music, hosting over 10,000 events that range from local community artists to nationally known stars. Now, the rich history and legacies of the musicians, performers, staff, and instruments that have graced Longwood Gardens are being celebrated in a new book.

The book, titled “Garden of Music: Musical Instruments and Performing Arts“, is authored by Colvin Randall, Longwood’s P.S. du Pont Fellow, and Jonathan Ambrosino, an organ expert. It offers an in-depth look at the performing arts heritage of Longwood Gardens, tracing its roots back to founder Pierre S. du Pont and his vision of creating a vibrant cultural hub in Chester County. The book is now available for purchase in Longwood’s online shop and onsite in The Garden Shop for $38.

Paul B. Redman, President and CEO of Longwood Gardens, expressed his enthusiasm for the new release. “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,” he said. “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 the arts to Longwood.”

Longwood Gardens boasts a 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. Among the magnificent instruments that call Longwood home are a celebrated 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, a 62-bell Eijsbouts carillon, and a historic Steinway grand piano.

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“Garden of Music” chronicles this remarkable history across 320 pages, featuring more than 900 illustrations. The book provides detailed accounts of concerts, theatrical performances, musical instruments, fabulous garden parties, and more than a century of entertainment in an unparalleled setting.

The book also pays tribute to du Pont and his wife Alice’s dedication to supporting artists and using their Gardens as a place to showcase the arts. It recounts the couple’s patronage of several budding musicians, performers, and organizations, including local organizations such as The Brandywiners. The first charity production at Longwood was in 1916 when The Savoy Company of Philadelphia performed in the Open Air Theatre, a tradition that continues today.

“Garden of Music: Musical Instruments and Performing Arts” is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of nature, art, and history, capturing the spirit and vision of Longwood Gardens’ founders and the generations who have carried it forward.

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