Musician performs in the wild


BAKER CITY — Venue is not an issue for Hunter Noack — in fact, he seeks far-flung places to play his nine-foot Steinway piano for his project “In a Landscape: Music in the Wild.”

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This month he’s played at Fort Rock State Park, Crater Lake National Park, the Astoria Column and the Alvord Desert.

Now Noack, 28, is bringing his “In a Landscape: Music in the Wild” program to Baker City to perform at the outdoor wagon encampment at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. He’ll play from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 27.

Noack’s program is presented on a portable pop-up stage, with a nine-foot Steinway, 50 to 100 headphones and other gear.

“We cruise around the state from the Steens Mountains to the desert to the coast and bring classical music to Oregon,” Noack said

The “In a Landscape: Music in the Wild” project is a series of classical music performances in the outdoors. It is funded by the Oregon Community Foundation and Jordan D. Schnitzer.

He said the wireless headphones he provides to the audience enhances the outdoor experience.

“It makes the acoustics sound like I’m performing in a chamber hall, and the audience can wander,” he said.

The headphones have a range of 200 to 300 feet.

The purpose of his project, he said, is to connect people with their landscape.

Noack started playing piano at age 4.

“I was too shy to go to music lessons so my mom taught me,” he said.

As a teenager he studied at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and later graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. He did his graduate studies at London’s Guildhall School before returning to Oregon three years ago.

Noack created “In a Landscape” as a new approach to presenting classical music.

“This is the spirit of Oregon, the Wild West, where nothing is impossible, where the wagons circle round and everyone gives what they can to build something greater than any one person,” Noack said.

Playing music outside poses many challenges, he said, with the sound dissipating or being distorted by amplification. Noack came up with the idea of passing out wireless Sennheiser headphones to attendees who want to use them, beaming the music he’s playing to them via radio frequencies.

All ages are invited and attendees are encouraged to bring beach chairs and blankets for seating in the wagon encampment.

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is located five miles east of Baker City on Highway 86. Take Exit 302 from I-84. The Center is currently open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $8 adults, $4.50 seniors and free for children 15 and younger. Federal passes are also accepted. Call 541-523-1843 for updates on programs and events or visit

Admission is free, but reservations are requested and can be made by calling 541-523-1843.

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