Covering an area of 147,000 square miles, around three times the size of England, Montana is vast. It is also one of the least populous of all the US states: just over one million people, all told. If you were looking for somewhere to build a concert hall that sits in glorious isolation, I’d suggest this would be just the place to do it.And that is exactly what Peter and Cathy Halstead did. When, in 2010, a 10,000-acre sheep and cattle ranch came up for sale on the rolling hills just north of the Yellowstone National Park, the Halsteads – he is a pianist and photographer, she an artist, businesswoman and, significantly, heir to a drinks business fortune – saw the chance of realising a long-held ambition: to create a large sculpture-cum-music park, in which visual and aural artforms combine. Artists were promptly commissioned and Alban Bassuet, a leading acoustic designer and engineer, brought on board as director and all-round good ideas man. In summer 2016, Tippet Rise Art Center was ready to open its gates for its inaugural season.
Tippet Rise is theoretically ‘in’ the small town of Fishtail, but the long, long drive along a windy track tells a different story: this place is miles from anywhere. And when we do eventually get there, the ranch itself stretches out as far as the eye can see – scan the dis