Tim Linhart, the ice music sculptor

Tim Linhart is originally from New Mexico, a place that couldn’t be more different to a glacier … Maybe this is the reason the Ice Music festival artist grew up with a passion for winter and skiing.

Where did the idea of ice music come from?

One winter Tim made a particular deal with the operator of a ski facility: ice sculptures in return for a ski pass.
Working for so long with this ephemeral and yet resistant material the artist realised that particular, intense and almost celestial sounds could be produced from it. It was then that he started to create his ice musical instruments and Ice Music was born.

Today, after 36 years as an ice sculptor Tim manages to create real ice orchestras: violins, cellos, violas, doble basses, banjos, mandolins, guitars, drums, xylophones, pan flutes and percussion.
In all the artist has created 16 entire orchestras with 20 musical instruments in each whose concerts have wowed spectators from all over the world.

Tim Linhart in Pontedilegno-Tonale

Tim Linhart in Pontedilegno-Tonale

This visionary ice artist, after the positive experience of the 1° edition of the Ice Music Festival returned to our Ski Area in 2019 to recreate the igloo-theatre at an altitude of 2.600 metres above sea level on the Presena Glacier and to sculpt his splendid transparent musical instruments and give life to the second edition of Ice Music. These ice instruments in the hands of expert musicians make the mountain snow vibrate as well as the hearts of spectators.  


Here is the Ice Music Festival project explained in the words of Tim Linhart.


Why create a theatre in an igloo?

“The igloo structure that will be home to the 300 seater Ice Music concert hall is a building that reconciles the needs of the public, the musicians and the ice instruments. These two latter are – as it can be easily understood – influenced by the conditions that surround them.  The design allows for natural ventilation of the heat produced from the breath of the spectators by leading it upwards and outside the building,  while the instruments remain in the cold air on the stage. The igloo maintains a “safe space” for the instruments where the conditions remain ideal to produce excellent music”.

What is the message you want to transmit?

“The Ice Music concert hall and the orchestra are made of the same H2O molecules we are made of. Wherever there is water on the earth there is life; except where water is frozen: ice. My intention as an artist is to bring life to ice and the create different instruments that come alive when the strings are tightened and they find a voice.
If there is a message I leave it to the interaction the ice instruments have with every spectator. The only thing we can be sure about is that everything that is made of water or ice continuously changes: freezing, melting, evaporating, flowing, breathing, growing, living and dying. The temporary and fragile nature of ice reminds us of the destiny we share, that of transformation. This subliminal mortality brings us closer to the current moment and emphasises the Ice Music experience”.

What does it feel like listening to music in an igloo?

“The entire Ice Music experience is life-changing. Climbing the mountain at night is already an adventure. Entering a concert hall inside an igloo is like entering a discotheque in paradise: the ice orchestra and the walls sparkle and shine and radiate the fluid colours of the rainbow. The rules of architecture are transformed due to the nature of ice: straight is no longer a relevant term and curves flow towards arches and vaults. There is nothing even approximating a corner.
Many people arrive without knowing what to expect, they are curious but they have serious doubts that the ice instruments can make any sounds. It is difficult to believe.  When the band starts to play they are delighted by the almost angelical beauty of the sound of ice. They are surprised that musicians are able to play such high quality, complex music in such a cold place. Every aspect of the experience exceeds their expectations.
The definition of magic is something that is far-fetched but that happens anyway. It may sound like a cliché, but it is really a magical experience listening to an Ice Music concert. The experience expands the notion of what is possible and gives people indefinable hope. It is edifying”.

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