Glass takes in the majestic landscapes of Tippet Rise in Montana

HUGE, never-ending skies and stunning hilltops form the backdrop of Tippet Rise, a sculpture park and concert venue that has become a critical part of Montana’s cultural life since opening in 2016.

Situated on a remote ranch spreading out across 10,000 acres, the sense of space is uncomparable. Verdant fields are bordered by the beauty of the jagged Beartooth Mountains, and sheep and cattle are free to roam the vast wilderness. It’s the kind of scene that you could only really imagine existing in America.

The grounds of Tippet Rise in Fishtail, MontanaThe grounds of Tippet Rise in Fishtail, Montana

Tippet Rise was the brainchild of philanthropists and artists Cathy and Peter Halstead, who have a profound and inspiring commitment to nature and art. They describe their cultural centre as an intersection of art, music, sky and land, where all comes together to create an even greater vision, and they couldn’t be more right. The transitions between built structures, nature and music are seamless, and the sense of discovery and rejuvenation that these experiences stimulate is undeniably authentic.

The Inverted Portal - a work by Ensamble Studio at Tippet RiseThe Inverted Portal – a work by Ensamble Studio at Tippet Rise

Summertime heralds the annual concert series at Tippet Rise, which ushers in the brightest international stars of the classical music world, as well as excited local audiences. The most recent performance programme included legendary pianist Jeffrey Kahane, performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, as well as his charismatic son Gabriel Kahane performing alongside the Dover Quartet. The promising Brooklyn-based composer and pianist Timo Andres gave an inspired performance, and Aaron Jay Kernis’s String Quartet No. 4 (musica universalis) was given its world premiere, performed by the Borromeo String Quartet.

The Domo performance space at Tippet RiseThe Domo performance space at Tippet Rise

Being exposed to such talented musicians is one thing, but what makes Tippet Rise so special is the exquisite settings of its concerts. Architecture and design team Ensamble Studio were responsible for constructing two “portals” plus the Domo – giant rock-like sculpture-structures that seem to naturally emerge from the land itself, creating remarkable locations for performances to take place. Even the most traditional concert hall at Tippet Rise, the Olivier Music Barn, is a serene, wooden shed that lets in views of the tumbling hills, and plenty of that gorgeous Montana light.

A sculpture by Alexander Calder on the grounds of Tippet RiseA sculpture by Alexander Calder on the grounds of Tippet Rise

The architectural structures situated across the land can be visited through taking walking or bike trails, though van drop-offs and guided tours are also offered by Tippet Rise’s wonderfully warm and hospitable staff. Also on the centre’s grounds can be spotted a number of striking sculptures by important artists such as Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero and Patrick Dougherty. Later this autumn, the centre will present its first indoor exhibition which will feature an installation by Stephen Talasnik. The American artist’s project will consist of a site-specific architectural sculpture that will be hand-woven on site and be large enough to facilitate a solo performer. It will no doubt offer yet another momentous experience within the nurturing and exhilarating habitat of Tippet Rise.

All images courtesy of Tippet Rise Art Center.

by Derby Jones

Tippet Rise Art Center is located in Fishtail, Montana, approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes from Billings Logan International Airport. For more information, email:
Unearthed by Stephen Talasnik runs from 19 to 28 October.

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