The outdoors and classical music are not typical, or classic, combination.
That’s not the case with, “In a Landscape: Classical Music in the Wild,” which in its eighth season will include outdoor performances in six states with Hunter Noack performing on his nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano atop a flatbed trailer in some breathtaking locales. His previous concerts quickly sold out.
So far, more than 40 performances have been scheduled, with more locations expected. Among the shows will be Monday, May 29, Memorial Day, at the Moore Park Marina in Klamath Falls. In past years, regional shows have been held at Crater Lake National Park and Fort Rock State Park in Southern Oregon. Those locations may be added. Already scheduled Eastern Oregon sites include the Alvord Desert, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Black Butte Ranch near Sisters, Wallowa Lake State Park and Lodge, Tetherow Resort near Bend, East Lake Resort near La Pine, and Prineville Reservoir State Park, which is already sold out.
Ticket sales begin Monday, March 20.
It’s not necessary to be a classical music lover to appreciate — and even marvel — at Noack’s performances. Combining Noack’s brilliant skills with outdoor settings provide listeners with new and expanded appreciations of both the music and the environment. During a performance at Fort Rock, powerful blasts of wind sent lawn chairs flying and blew walls of blinding sand on listeners, but Noack played on.
Although many audience members remain seated in bring-your-own low-back lawn chairs or blankets, listeners are also provided with wireless headphones, which makes it possible — and people are encouraged — to wander off to immerse themselves in the landscape. At Fort Rock, it’s common to find people perched atop overlooks faraway from Noack and his piano. At his previous Klamath Falls performance, listeners with headphones enjoyed sunset along the shores of Upper Klamath Lake. At Crater Lake, while listeners walked to the nearby Rim Trail for panoramic views of the lake, golden-mantled ground squirrels scampered along the rock walls and two Clark’s nutcrackers squawked in staccato synchronicity as Noack performed music by Claude Debussy, Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin.
“You hear music and the variations of the landscape,” explains Lori Noack, Hunter’s mother, who helps coordinate the performances, which she says are typically subtly different. “I watch the way he interacts with the landscape and the audience. There’s something that inherently grows from the spirits in him. What he loves and envisions is passed on to the audience.”
In 2022, “In A Landscape” offered 65 concerts. Fewer are so far planned for this year, partly so that Noack and his crew can spend time exploring the places they visit.
“The idea is not only to play, but to relate to the people, to the environment,” Lori explains, noting they like to “have time with the people and create relationships. It is important to do more than just coming and then leaving.”
Likewise, she says, that informs the music — “He not only plays, but he relates to people, to the environment, to the variabilities,” Lori says. “You’re not there just to hear the music.”
Hunter, 34, was trained as a classical soloist as a youth. He grew up in Sunriver near Bend, graduated from the University of Southern California, and did graduate work in London. But, because he prefers the outdoors to concert halls, he found a niche performing outdoors. Over the years, those outdoor sessions have included Yosemite and Joshua Tree national parks, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, Silver Falls State Park and Shore Acres State Park, along with sites in Washington, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, New York and Utah. Many performances include guest artists, including poets, visual artists, dancers, a wide variety of musicians and singers, including Katie Harman Ebner of Klamath Falls, a classical vocalist who was Miss America in 2002.
For information about the “In a Landscape” series, visit www.inalandscape.org. It is likely that performances will be added in coming weeks.
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