Entry Date: February 1st, 2016

Wyeth Walks

What is a Wyeth Walk?  – Wyeth Walk #246

So, this coming week I have been invited to “take over” the Brandywine
River Museum of Art Instagram feed
with my #wyethwalk photos.  And, it just so happens that my 250th Wyeth Walk will post on the
museum’s page.  250!!

For the past two years I have been
immersed in everything Wyeth.  I am amazed where this project has led me
– from my piano improv roots, from the seeds of wanting to make my next
piano album – to unfolding to discover the photographer inside of me
and now starting to think I should write a book about my “Wyeth Walks”.

the last two years, I’ve given numerous concerts at the Brandywine
River Museum of Art, on their gorgeous Steinway piano next to
floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the trees and beautiful river
view.  I’ve traveled to Maine to visit the Farnsworth Museum, the Olson
House (site of hundreds of Andrew Wyeth paintings), Monhegan Island
(favorite site of thousands of painters over the past hundred years or
more, including Jamie Wyeth), Andrew Wyeth’s grave, and most importantly
– to experience the landscape so important to the family.  I spent two
weeks in Wyoming at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts (with a
landscape similar to what NC Wyeth experienced when he spent months out
West painting Native Americans) – composing a Wyeth-inspired chamber
work also influenced by composers Steve Reich and Jean Sibelius.  I
traveled to Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont several times to record
piano while overlooking a gorgeous valley of trees and working with the
inspirational producer Will Ackerman (who, in an interesting life’s
story actually met Andrew Wyeth and saw a painting in progress- a rare
occurrence for anyone!). I’ve had the great joy of digging through the
handwritten unpublished scores of composer Ann Wyeth McCoy (Andrew
Wyeth’s sister) and performing and recording some of her works.  I’ve
read countless books, visited numerous galleries, spent time at the
historic properties of NC Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth’s studios in Chadds
Ford, PA, and talked with many curators and writers familiar with the
Wyeth family and their art.

But, beyond the music that I am
creating, that has reached beyond what I ever dreamed of for my next
piano album, what has impacted me the most are my Wyeth Walks in the
Brandywine Valley.

One year ago, in January 2015, I came to an
epiphany on a walk through my neighborhood – an answer to one of my
composing problems came to me as I looked up at the trees.  I also
realized all at once that I had been doing all this book, gallery, and
interview research on the Wyeth family, but up to that point my
composing for the project was more intellectual than deeply authentic
from within me.  I remembered that Andrew Wyeth was known to take nature
walks every day.  I later came to know that Ann Wyeth McCoy did too –
and that they both had started these as children when NC Wyeth took his
family walking in the meadows and woods behind their house.  I realized
that this must be a deep part of their creative process, and I decided
to start daily nature walks of my own.  On a whim I decided I should
snap an iPhone photo on each walk and blog about my walks later.  I had
just done a concert of music that influenced the artist Charles
Burchfield, and had loved his nature/walk journals, and wanted to do
something along those lines as well.

And here I am, 250 walks and
blog posts later… there is much more to write about the spiritual
impact these have had on me personally and also on my music.  I will
leave that for another time… because it’s time for me to go take my
daughter to pre-school!  In the meantime though, please enjoy the
#wyethwalk posts on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr (and occasionally
Facebook).  From February 1-7 all Wyeth Walk photos will post first on the
Brandywine River Museum of Art Instagram feed, and on this blog a day later.

Please sign up for my monthly e-mailing list
for updates on this project.  My album is coming out in 2017 in
parallel with the Andrew Wyeth Centennial Exhibit at the Brandywine
River Museum of Art.  I have partnered with the amazing Grammy winning
producer/engineer Phil Nicolo on the project, and the music features
contributions from Grammy winners, producer Will Ackerman and cellist
David Darling, as well as many other amazing musicians… I can’t wait to
share more with you!