Cellist Arlen Hlusko
Cellist Arlen Hlusko at the Noguchi Museum. (Courtesy Tippet Rise Art Center)

Montana’s Tippet Rise Art Center Goes on Tour With a Four-Day Virtual Classical Music Festival

The awe-inspiring sculpture park in Big Sky Country has curated a series of performances at venues including New York’s Noguchi Museum.
By Emma Leigh Macdonald
August 12, 2021
2 minute read

For Cathy and Peter Halstead, the co-founders of Montana’s sprawling Tippet Rise Art Center—the kind of awe-inspiring environment that requires visiting to truly experience it—the notion of creating a virtual festival, given the ongoing unknowns of Covid-19, served as an opportunity that otherwise might not have arisen. As they put it, the virus provides “an occasion to open up new and surprising experiences.” Paradoxical as it might seem, pandemic-led restrictions have in some ways resulted in expanding (digitally, anyway) this spectacular sculpture park nestled in hilly Big Sky Country. A spirit of generosity drives both Tippet Rise’s physical spaces, which have been based on a working Stillwater County ranch since 2016, and its new virtual festival, comprising films that capture classical music performances at particularly special or unusual off-site venues. (From its inception, classical music programming has been a core part of Tippet Rise, which also features sculptures and structures by artists and architects including Mark di Suvero, Alexander Calder, and Diébédo Francis Kéré.)

The resulting concept, Tippet Rise on Tour: August Festival, a free, four-day virtual festival taking place from August 19–22, will be available to be viewed live on the arts center’s website and then will be archived on YouTube in September. Matching artists and their repertoires with several diverse spaces—including the Cyclopean House in Brookline, Massachusetts (designed by Ensamble Studio, the firm behind three experimental concrete structures at Tippet Rise); a tractor barn nestled in Colorado’s Vail Valley; and the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York—the series merges the physical and digital to delightful effect.

At the Noguchi Museum performance, to stream on August 20, cellist Arlen Hlusko and pianist Jenny Chen will perform new works commissioned via Instagram and composed by Seth Cole, John Conahan, David Jaeger, Michelle Ross, and Nicholas Yandell. As a designer known for his sense of play and experimentation, Noguchi made sculptures with which the expansive spirit of the festival shares an affinity.