VC INTERVIEW | Pedja Muzijevic, Tippet Rise Art Center's Artistic Advisor
Premiering nightly at 8:00PM (ET) on The Violin Channel between August 19 and 22, this year's virtual celebration brings together a collection of scenic classical music performances from picturesque locations
Located in Fishtail, Montana, Tippet Rise celebrates the concept of art, music, architecture, and nature being inextricably linked in the human experience — thus each making the other more powerful.
Watch LIVE as the festival takes audiences to unique locations — such as a tractor barn in Colorado, the Cyclopean House in Massachusetts, and the Noguchi Museum in New York.
The Violin Channel recently caught up with Tippet Rise Art Center's Artistic Advisor, Pedja Muzijevic, to learn more.
Tell us about Tippett Rise and how it differs from other summer festivals? What would you say is its mission and focus?
Peter and Cathy Halstead founded Tippet Rise Art Center in 2016 on a 12,000 acre working sheep and cattle ranch in Montana. They wrote, "Tippet Rise is a metaphor. It is an intersection where art, music, land, sky, and poetry can weave together into an algorithm which is greater than the sum of its parts. Music isn’t about notes, any more than poetry is about words. Notes and words and the angles of a sculpture are just the shadows of the essences which hide behind them.”
Tippet Rise is an oasis for artists and audiences alike. We also want to make Tippet Rise as accessible to as many people as possible — so hiking and biking are free of charge, while sculpture tours and concert tickets are $10 each.
How have you pivoted this year, due to the pandemic? What initiatives have you put in place to ensure, even with being virtual, that you’ve been able to stay true to your core mission?
Our core mission remains the same — supporting artists and sharing their work with as many people as possible. Since live performances were not possible, filming musicians was an obvious choice. We also commissioned music from artists such as Stephen Hough, Reena Esmail, and Bojan Louis and co-presented digital programs with London's Wigmore Hall, New York's Baryshnikov Art Center, and In-Na-Po (Indigenous Nations’ Poets). We continued to release archival films of concerts from our previous seasons. All of this content is available to watch at no charge.
Tell us about some of the unique locations chosen this year for your filmed performances? What was the thought behind your decisions?
Even though we go to concerts to hear music, we react to what we see before we hear anything. That is certainly the case at Tippet Rise, from the magnificent landscape, our many extraordinary sculptures, and the intimate simplicity of the Olivier Music Barn. When we started filming, we looked for locations that would add to the experience of listening and we encouraged our film directors to be creative partners, rather than just witnesses of music-making. We would like to encourage the viewers to use their instincts and react to what they see and what they hear in their own way.
Might this be something you would consider incorporating into future festivals — a hybrid model?
We are planning to continue filming musicians even after we go back to having live concerts at Tippet Rise. These films have been a fascinating creative challenge and we are looking forward to further exploring these multidisciplinary experiences of “seeing” music.
We were very interested to learn that Arlen Hlusko’s repertoire was commissioned via Instagram during the pandemic. Can you tell us more about this process?
Over the course of the pandemic isolation in summer 2020, Arlen Hlusko put an ask out on social media to see if any composers would be interested in working together to write miniatures for solo cello to be premiered on Arlen's Instagram beginning in September 2020. This resulted in exhilarating collaborations with over 20 composers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Kosovo, and the United States. We were moved by Arlen’s creative thinking and decided to film these works for the Tippet Rise On Tour film series.
Tell us about some of your guests at this year’s performance film festival and what you’re most looking forward to?
We are excited to welcome architects Antón Garcia-Abril and Débora Mesa, founders of Ensamble Studio. They are very much part of our artistic family with three of their magnificent sculptures at Tippet Rise — and we were happy to film violinist Geneva Lewis in one of the homes they designed.