Murray Hidary is a composer and pianist who turned a brilliant idea into a one-of-a-kind experience; offering “silent” piano concerts to people in public places. Last Saturday night, he offered a one-night only performance under a moonlit sky on the beach.
Hidary created MindTravel in 2013 after inviting a group of friends to his home for a live performance of real-time composition on the piano. When he saw how moved the group was by the experience he became inspired to bring it to the rest of the world.
“Growing up playing music since he was five years old, Murray knew he wanted to be a composer by the time he was in high school. He also began a deep inner journey of discovery as a teenager that led him to study eastern philosophy, Zen Buddhism and other wisdom traditions. His composing became deeply influenced by these teachings and he began to fuse the two into a personal reflective practice at the piano. This practice inspired him to discover great insights and provided healing through profound personal loss, grief and life’s tribulations. It became a voice he used to connect to his higher sense of purpose. A musical language and journey continued to emerge and evolve. He called it MindTravel.“
This is undeniably a very unique experience. For starters, Murray Hidary brings his glass top baby grand onto the beach. Then he illuminates his “stage” with glowing lanterns encircled around the piano so that his audience can see him.
What is most special about this performance is that he is composing the music while he’s playing, so no two performances are alike. Perhaps inspired by his surroundings and his audience.
This is not Hidary’s first time in Asbury Park. His previous beach performance took place here last year. It was so well received he brought it back again this year. Not once, but twice.
The concert began shortly after 10 pm on Saturday. Each attendee was given a headset upon arrival that looked like something out of Star Trek with little blue glowing lights on each side.
The double blue glow emanating from each individual in the darkness scattered throughout the beach was in itself part of the experience.
Hearing the music as well as Hidary’s voice saying “Thank you for joining us” coming through the headset created a soothing atmosphere.
Fold in the crashing waves under a moonlit sky along with the feel of sand under your feet and you have the perfect recipe for creative inspiration.
Throughout the evening I found myself wishing I had my notepad so I could write down the thoughts that were coming to me. For a moment I considered taking out my phone and typing them there, then quickly dismissed the idea. The whole experience is about disconnecting from technology and going inward.
At its core, MindTravel creates the space and permission to feel and connect. It is an exploration of the notion that bringing the lessons of music into our daily lives can radically improve our clarity, our ability to reflect and relax, and that with music as our teacher – we can peel back layers of our Self yet unseen. That to understand the universe we must first understand our Selves, for they are one and the same.
The music was so fluid and graceful, I kept envisioning ballet dancers on the beach.
The stage equipment was being tested for the Jonas Brothers concert on Sunday and the colored lights provided an unintentional light show that almost could have been part of the performance.
Hidary encourages people to have their own experience, to do or be in whatever space they feel comfortable with.
Some people laid back in their chairs and looked up at the stars, or closed their eyes. Some walked along the surf holding hands, others just stood, or sat, and watched the waves crash onto the shore.
Photos by Donna Klein
You couldn’t really see them, just the blue lights glowing from their headsets.
If you’ve never experienced MindTravel, I’d recommend trying it at least once. You might find once is enough.
Or you might find yourself becoming increasingly drawn to the window of creativity that opens on the journey of sound, sight, and space with Murray Hidary.
Murray has brought MindTravel to Central Park, TEDx, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Grace Cathedral, The National Arts Club and festivals including Wanderlust, Carlsbad and Burning Man. And, of course, Asbury Park beach.
“MindTravel’s mission is to move people to greater purpose in their lives through music.”
Feature photo and quotations from mindtravel.com