One of the most interesting activities I’ve run across lately for groups artfully combines music and picturesque vistas. This description fits many outdoor concert series and music festivals that are held in mountain towns, especially in summer and fall. However, very few involve a Steinway grand piano and wireless headphones in the middle of nature.
IN A LANDSCAPE: Classical Music in the Wild, established in 2016 by classical pianist Hunter Noack, replaces the traditional concert hall with America’s stunning landscapes. A 9-foot Steinway is transported on a flatbed trailer to national parks, working ranches, farms, historical sites, and urban greenspaces for classical music concerts by Noack that connect people with the specific landscape. The music is transmitted to concert-goers via wireless headphones to address the acoustical challenges of performing in the wild and allow participants to wander around, lie in a sunny meadow, perch on a rocky outcropping, and admire the reflections in a nearby waterway.
Based in Portland, Oregon, IN A LANDSCAPE has presented about 170 concerts in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, New York, and California. Inspired by the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) Federal Music and Theatre Projects, which presented thousands of free concerts and plays during The Great Depression, IN A LANDSCAPE events are offered primarily in rural communities for free or on a subsidized basis. Guest artists have included poets, visual artists, dancers, and musicians.
IN A LANDSCAPE is available for corporate events. A prime example is a performance during Netflix’s annual retreat held in Utah last summer. Lori Noack, executive director of the nonprofit, says, “We have a slightly different model so that we can accommodate the goals of the group, which is typically different than those of concert-goers in a traditional setting.”