In a Landscape

Last Thursday, my family experienced In a Landscape—a classical music concert in the wild—for the first time.

I heard about a classical pianist who spent several weeks each year driving across Oregon with a 9-foot Steinway grand piano to perform in national parks and historical sites. I didn’t realize that he had been doing so for years, had founded a non-profit to organize the events, and that many other folks already knew what he was up to. There was only one show left that still had tickets available.

Hunter Noack started putting on classical concerts in the outdoors in 2016. He and his team built a custom trailer to transport the modified grand he plays in extreme locations and temperatures each year. To account for the lack of acoustics provided by traditional concert halls, In a Landscape equips attendees with wireless headphones used to enjoy the performance while roaming around and enjoying the scenery. I was initially a bit skeptical about the headphones. I failed to account for the quality of the highly-sensitive microphones installed inside the piano.

One of the hallmarks of these performances is the opportunity to experience a piece from under the piano. You read that right. Lying under the piano during Black Earth—a powerful, unconventional piece by Turkish composer Frazil Say—was exhilarating to say the least. It took some convincing, but I managed to get Adley and Willow to join me during Chopin’s Ballad No. 1 in G Minor later in the performance.

The concert at Soter Vineyards exceeded all of my expectations. Thanks to all the organizers, the volunteers, and Hunter for making this experience possible. I can’t wait for next season!