Tippet Rise Makes Music in Place
The Montana Ranch Home to Concerts and Sculpture
By: Susan Hall - Aug 09, 2023
Tippet Rise Art Center welcomes musicians and concertgoers for its eighth concert season, beginning August 18 and running through September 17. With more than 15 indoor and outdoor performances planned over five weekends, the season features a wide range of repertoire performed by artists who can be young trailblazers and legendary musicians. A highlight of this summer’s season is the debut of the new Wander series, which moves musicians and audiences between different works of art installed at the art center.
Set against the backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains on a 12,500-acre ranch, Tippet Rise opened on June 16 for hiking, biking, and sculpture van tours of its monumental outdoor sculptures and architectural structures. This year, the art center has installed two newly acquired sculptures—Trilogy (1978) by Louise Nevelson and Archway II (1984/2016) by Alexander Liberman.
The 2023 concert season presents music from across six centuries, from works by the 16th-century Italian nun Claudia Sessa to 21st century Icelandic composer Veronique Vaka; mainstays of the classical canon, including compositions by Mozart and Liszt to American icons like Steve Reich and George Crumb; as well as works by new voices including Amy Beth Kirsten and Caroline Shaw.
The season also features six world premieres as part of the Tippet Rise commissions series. During the first concert weekend, violinist Gidon Kremer and pianist Yulianna Avdeeva perform Three Serenades for Violin and Piano (2019) by Valentyn Silvestrov. Avdeeva also performs the world premiere of Silvestrov’s Five Bagatelles for Solo Piano (2020). The following weekend, Tippet Rise Artistic Advisor and pianist Pedja Mužijevi? joins violinist Rebecca Anderson to premiere Three Waltzes of the Moment for Violin and Piano (2019) and pianist Anna Geniushene performs Four Pieces for Piano (2020)—the sixth and seventh of ten works commissioned by Tippet Rise from Silvestrov, Ukraine’s leading living composer.
As part of the Wander series, Sandbox Percussion performs the world premieres of holy sonnet and Proverb, commissioned respectively from composers Amy Beth Kirsten and Douglas J. Cuomo in celebration of Mark di Suvero’s 90th birthday and in response to the artist’s sculptures at Tippet Rise.
The second Wander concert features The Westerlies, a brass quartet performing works by Robin Holcomb, Caroline Shaw, and Andy Clausen that will visit sculptures and structures across the main Cottonwood Campus.
Visitors can encounter several pop-up concerts throughout the season and the Imani Winds and the Westerlies will perform two family concerts at the Tiara, an outdoor acoustic shell. Pre-concert talks are also presented at the Tiara in advance of each Friday evening performance, and post-concert talks are occasionally presented following Saturday and Sunday morning performances.
Tippet Rise Art Center celebrates the union of land, art, architecture, and music. More than 20 works of art, including site-specific and monumental sculptural works, are installed throughout the art center and across the canyons and valleys, connected by 15 miles of hiking and biking trails. Sculpture van tours, offered until the start of the concert season, also allow guests to experience sculptures sited further from the main campus.
Two newly installed works this year include Trilogy (1978) by Louise Nevelson and Archway II (1984/2016) by Alexander Liberman. Set in a gently rising valley just beyond the Cottonwood Campus, Nevelson’s Trilogy is comprised of three large-scale pieces, made of Cor-Ten steel, steel, and aluminum. Towering 44 feet high at its tallest point, the work evokes a family unit or a trio of entities in varied stages of growth and development.
Alexander Liberman’s Archway II (1984/2016), is sited in a dramatic saddle, serving as a metaphoric gateway to the Beartooth Mountain range in the distance. Like many of the artist’s monumental sculptures, it is painted a striking red and is illustrative of Liberman’s lifelong fascination with altars and arches which draw viewers into sacred spaces.
In addition to these seminal new works, many of the works installed at Tippet Rise are site-specific commissions. Xylem (2019) is a meditative pavilion created by Pritzker-Prize winning architect Francis Kéré. The innovative Ensamble Studio created several monumental sculptural structures, including the Domo (2016), the site of two outdoor concerts this summer; the Beartooth Portal (2015); the Inverted Portal (2016); and the Folds (2022). Tippet Rise is also home to the commissioned works Daydreams (2015) and Cursive Takes a Holiday (2022) by Patrick Dougherty and Satellite #5: Pioneer (2016) by Stephen Talasnik.
Also set in the landscape are three monumental works by the internationally renowned sculptor Mark di Suvero—Beethoven’s Quartet (2003), Proverb (2002), and Whale’s Cry (1983). Contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Iron Tree (2013) is visible through the window of the Olivier Music Barn’s performance hall. Companion Species (Floating and Held) (2022), a wall-hanging by interdisciplinary artist Marie Watt, is the first work to greet guests as they enter the Visitor Center, located in the Olivier Music Barn. Two works by Alexander Calder are on loan from the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, including Two Discs (1965), the first outdoor work guests encounter as they arrive at Tippet Rise, and Stainless Stealer (1966), installed within the Olivier Music Barn performance space. Two undated paintings—Untitled (Cattle in Canyon) and Untitled (Cattle in Prairie)—by Modernist painter Isabelle Johnson, an original owner of part of the land on which the art center is situated, also hang in the Olivier Music Barn alongside Seminal (1982), a painting by Mark di Suvero. Additionally, two smaller works by Stephen Talasnik frame the stage—Galaxy (2014) and Archeology (2012).