Creative Loafing Tampa Bay | String Theory Press

Creative Loafing

An elegant addition to Tampa's RiverWalk — String Theory’s Fin Harp at the Straz

The public will have an opportunity to pluck the massive instrument on select dates through May 2.

String Theory Fin Harp

Sonorous strums of a centuries-old folk music set a peaceful, enchanting mood perfectly fitting for an idyllic, breezy springtime afternoon at downtown Tampa's riverfront yesterday.

Before the performance at 6 p.m. on April 1, Straz Center President Judy Lisi announced the installment of a massive harp that extends from the roof of the performing arts facility to the ground by the sidewalk of downtown Tampa's Riverwalk.

Created with 1,000 feet of musical brass wire, the instrument effectively integrates the Straz into "a gigantic interactive musical instrument."

String Theory Fin Harp

Tampa Downtown Partnership's Donna Chen also expressed enthusiasm about how the harp marks the beginning of more possibilities for arts and recreation at the RiverWalk, and the instrument's designer Luke Rothschild explained the technical aspects of the Fin Harp, designed to harness 14 brass wires that will extend more than 100 feet. He compared the sound vibrations that emanate from the structure to what you hear when you rub the rim of a crystal glass.

The instrument, String Theory’s Fin Harp, is a custom-designed, new sonic sculpture created by Luke Rothschild, which will remain at the site through RiverFest on May 2 and 3.

String Theory Fin HarpString Theory Fin Harp

The musicians of the group String Theory — Rothschild on guitar; Holly Rothschild on harp (and Luke’s wife; pictured left); Joseph Harvey, cello; Robert Amjärv, guitar, and Gavin Salmon, drums — have played other large-scale sonic sculptures by Rothschild, which can vary from 200-meter exterior facade installations designed for grand public performances, to smaller, custom-designed and fabricated permanent musical sculptures for private residencies and galleries.

During special events at select times, the harp will be playable by the public. Docents will present to assist with instructions and gloves during next weekend's Best of Tampa Bay dining extravaganza (April 11); MythBusters: Jamie & Adam UNLEASHED! (April 23); Celtic Woman (April 25), and Florida Orchestra concerts (April 10, 17 and 24).