View all news

Le Jardin Musical: Julien Brocal and his friends offer music, and solace, from their homes

May 6, 2020

A brilliant pianist and composer whose musicianship is celebrated around the world, Julien Brocal is known as much in this region for his warmth and openheartedness as he is for his music. He has performed at Tippet Rise and also been an artist-in-residence here, composing and recording, walking the land and reaching out to our neighbors in multiple ways. He has led workshops at nearby schools; he’s even performed an impromptu concert at the Fishtail General Store, just down the road from the art center. His love of music and his passion for sharing it are evident to so many of us here.

Julien had planned to return to Tippet Rise for another residency this spring, but like so many of us, he is sheltered at home. Rather than allow these challenging, uncertain times to stymie him, Julien is thriving, turning difficulty into art by producing concerts from his Brussels atelier and streaming them online for the world to enjoy.

“After watching hundreds of other virtual concerts during this plague season,” Tippet Rise cofounder Peter Halstead said, “Cathy and I have begun to feel that Julien’s videos are as good as they get: simple, beautiful, with good sound and video, moving artists and un-intrusive technology. We feel they’re a sanctuary…”

One concert features Julien and the Franco-Belgian cellist Camille Thomas, who plays a beautifully resonant 1730 Stradivarius cello. With Julien in Brussels, and Camille 250 miles away, in her Paris apartment, the pair performs Le cygne (“The Swan”) by Camille Saint-Saëns and Melodie from Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck. To access the performance, streamed online by 3sat, the German-language public service television channel, click here.

For another video, Julien collaborates with Cai Thomas, who sings Vater Unser (“Our Father”), a stunning piece for boy soprano and piano by the Estonian composer and contemplative, Arvo Pärt. To listen and watch, click here.

These two videos are just the beginning for Julien, whose warm-heartedness and generosity shine more than ever these days. As part of an effort he created called Le Jardin Musical, or The Garden Musical, Julien is broadcasting concerts online every Sunday through July. The series features more than two dozen artists, from the Tunisian singer and songwriter Ghalia Benali to pianist François Dumont, winner of numerous international piano competitions. For more information about Le Jardin Musical, please click on “More info” below.