Friday, September 15, 2017

Tippet Rise: Majestic arts venue unfolds in the hills of Montana

An Alexander Calder sculpture welcomes concert goers to an unforgettable experience merging art, music and nature.
Tippet Rise, six years in the making,  is gaining international acclaim for its invention, talent and originality.


Each piece of sculpture at Tippet Rise contributes an evocative voice to the complex.
Here in the Olivier Barn, Stephen Talasnik's large wall sculpture gives a striking effect.
Talasnik, born in Philadelphia and New York based, is one of the world-class contributors.


WHEN PETER and Cathy Halstead began their search for  the perfect place to build their dream, they had one unifying goal.
The place must inspire, with landscape that would enhance both the music dear to musician Peter's heart, and the visual arts which have long inspired Cathy's painting.
  The property they ultimately settled on is a few miles above the tiny Montana town of Fishtail.  Still a working cattle ranch and once inspiration for well known Stillwater County painter Isabelle Johnson, the wide and sweeping landscape stirs the imagination and lifts the spirits.

Marco Polo "Mark" di Suvero's looming piece is one of the stunning
abstract expressionist sculptures gracing Tippet Rise.
NOW WITH millions of dollars worth of sculpture -- and a concert hall whose impeccable acoustics delight the world's top musicians -- Tippet Rise indeed inspires.
The project pays fitting tribute to the working ranch's late resident rancher and painter, Isabelle Johnson.  Some believe her ghost is riding high, waving her paint brush, smiling down on the Halsteads' unique endeavor.
A world traveler, ahead of her time, Johnson studied in Europe, merging cutting edge technique with her own energy, curiosity and undeniable talent. So, too, do the Halsteads.
Peter Halstead's own poetry entertains at Tippet Rise,
where pre-concert talks and readings prepare viewers
for an evening of enticing delights.
Married for decades and friends since their teen-age years, the couple shared dreams and goals as their relationship and artistic tastes matured. They traveled the world, and studied at both Columbia University and New York University.
Peter is an accomplished pianist and well published poet, with a wry wit and broad tastes.  He also possesses
Pianist Anne Marie McDermott, interviewed by Peter Halstead,
shares spirited anecdotes before her weekend concerts of Haydn
and Mozart recently.  Halstead also writes erudite program notes.
an enviable collection of Steinways which he plays, stores and shares at the art center.
Cathy is a respected visual artist, who has shown in top galleries. Tippet Rise pays homage to both of their lifelong passions.
'MAJESTIC' describes their collaboration -- grand artwork and enchanting concerts on 11,500 acres where cattle roam and sheep graze. As season two of the venture caps, one listens to Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn -- along with new-age percussion works -- performed on perfectly tuned instruments by artists who play the world's great concert halls.
The concert goer ponders beauty on several levels -- both man made and wondrously spawned by nature.  Outside, seemingly at peace with the practiced sounds from within, deer graze beneath the cottonwoods, framed by the Olivier Barn's showcase windows.
TOURS TO the sculptures are available, and a delightful restaurant serves healthy western fare created by Nick and Wendy Goldman of Wildflower Kitchen and Catering.

Peter  Halstead shares his grand pianos, including
Vladimir Horowitz's personal piano, which
Eugene Istomin also played.  It resides at
Tippet Rise, and is kept tuned for visiting artists.
Beyond the summer concerts, specialty films, plays and operas are shared via cinema. Area university ensembles and community arts groups are invited to perform. Neighbors are invited to barbecue.
Workshops are held throughout the season and an outreach director insures the community participates in and is kept abreast of the center's endeavors and global reach.
Tippet Rise, named after Cathy's mother, merges landscape with the couple's lifelong commitment to the arts.
The Halsteads' unique merger would surely please their ancestors -- philanthropists with a love of nature.

Sweeping vistas draw the viewer in -- rolling hills, clouds 
straight out of a fairy tale, and sculptures,
each in its own space, not visible from the other.

AS HEIRS to the Grey Goose vodka fortune and other successful investments,  the Halsteads hired the world's best talent to shape their vision. We are the beneficiaries of their largesse.  The Halsteads' belief -- that art enriches the human experience, and that nature inspires both artists and aficionados -- will outlive us all. Meanwhile, we anxiously await season three.

NEXT UP: Oregon's lighthouses have long inspired, with their remarkable 
architecture and time honored history of helping sailors, commerce
and tourism.  We take you on a tour of some of the finest. 
Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays
when we post for each weekend a novel spin on the arts,
nature and whatever else catches our eye!


  1. Massachusetts MeanderersSeptember 16, 2017 at 5:40 AM

    This is so exciting. We learned of this magical endeavor through mutual friends of the Halsteads. Their dream has come true and now has a life of its own, like all great works of art. Thanks for this wonderful exposure. How lucky you are to be nearby!

  2. Carolina Culture BuffsSeptember 16, 2017 at 6:16 AM

    Wow. This is amazing. We are awaiting ticket sales for 2018. This corner of the real west is on our bucket list. Thanks.

  3. Missoula Music LoversJuly 1, 2018 at 9:30 AM

    What fun pieces. Just caught drift of this wondrous place -- now in its third season. Thank you for this. We are in Missoula and hope to somehow find a ticket, although we know it is long sold out. Fingers crossed for a cancellation.