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A unique spectacle above Bozeman, Big Sky: ‘Six High Places’ 

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The series of mountaintop concerts began on June 13, atop Baldy Mountain near Bozeman. PHOTO BY BLAIR SPEED


It is unlikely that you’ve experienced a violin concert and ballet accompaniment, while scarfing a soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwich at 10,000 feet.  

But now, it can be done.  

Beginning June 13 at the top of Mount Baldy and later visiting five other nearby peaks by June 25, Bozeman-based Baroque Music Montana is hosting a series of mountain-top recitals. Hikers are encouraged to follow in the swift footsteps of violinist Carrie Krause and ballet dancer Genevieve Trygstad-Burke, both trail runners and aficionados of classical music scored between 1600 and 1750, when the death of Johann Sebastian Bach ended the musical era classified as Baroque.  

The series, called “Six High Places,” will host performances atop Sacajawea Peak on June 16, Ramshorn Peak on June 18, Mount Blackmore on June 22, Sphinx Mountain on June 24 and Emigrant Peak on June 25. The Sacajawea hike takes place Friday afternoon—the remaining four hikes will require morning starts to catch the two-mile high show.  

Carrie Krause, artistic director of Baroque Music Montana, spoke with EBS about the event. 

Krause said the series was inspired by composer John Luther Adams, whose “The Wind in High Places” explores the fierce wind felt in nature. Krause selected Adams’ “The Wind at Maclaren Summit” from that composition, an ode to mountaintops in her home state of Alaska.  

She said “Six High Places” will bring an incredibly unique experience to see highly cultivated classical art at the top of a mountain peak. 

“Another inspiration for doing this—as a musician I find so much inspiration in nature, being aware of the soundscape around us, leaves rustling and bird calls, and playing music in nature opens my ear to all the sounds around me,” Krause told EBS. “The consonance and dissonance that’s present in nature—wind pushing against you and [relaxing] the tension of a cold day.  

“I’m looking forward to playing this piece about wind, in a very windy place,” she added. To allow for hikers on different schedules, they’ll perform the four-minute song and dance three times on each peak.  

After hatching this unique idea, Krause shared the concept with ballet dancer Genevieve Trygstad-Burke. A long-distance trail runner like Krause, Trygstad-Burke agreed to dance to Krause’s violin after climbing thousands of feet.  

Krause (left) and Trygstad-Burke enjoy an early June rainbow as they hike for their first performance. PHOTO BY BLAIR SPEED

“We have invited the public to hike along—very much at your own responsibility. Who knows who we’ll see at the peaks,” Krause said. She said she and Trygstad-Burke cannot guide the public, for sake of liability and variable pace. The website recommends starting before the artists, who will hike at a fast clip.  

Krause explained that baroque music was written between the years 1600 and 1750.  

“The most well-known composers are Bach, Vivaldi and Handel,” she said. “[It] started with the birth of opera and the idea of greater virtuosity and emotional expression in music.” 

Krause and her fellow baroque musicians in Bozeman typically play on instruments from that historic period—her violin is 300 years old, “but that’s not going up to these mountain peaks,” she said, citing the obvious hazard to a relic of music.  

“As performers we try to learn as much as we can about the greater context of [baroque] music: culturally, politically—what the composers were having for breakfast,” Krause suggested.  

Baroque Music Montana plays shows across the state, usually at intimate venues as the music was intended. In July, the group will visit art galleries for a series of seven concerts featuring the works of Italian composer Arcangelo Corelli. That will include a show at the Bozeman Art Museum on July 19.  

A similar series, “Bach at Trails,” brings Bach’s music to Gallatin Valley trailheads including the “M”, South Cottonwood, Kirk Hill, Burke Park Bridge, Tuckerman Park and Langhor Park. The next Bach at Trails will take place this Saturday, June 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The website encourages hikers to email Baroque Music Montana for more information about both events.  

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