The Art of Listening

Caramoor is truly a garden of sonic delights. It is a place where music fills our senses all summer long. Most of those delights are scheduled performances. But, what if we could have sonic delights at Caramoor every day, at any hour?  Well, now we can with the introduction of sound art, not to be confused with music or performance art. For the next six months, we can hang out or stroll in the gardens of Caramoor at any time of day and listen to the sound effects created by artists whose medium is sound.

Hard to describe but well worth the visit, the exhibition titled In the Garden of Sonic Delights after the Hieronymous Bosch painting of the same name, is a lesson in listening. Be prepared, for instance, to roam the vaulted music room of the Rosen house and ponder the whispering vibrations that follow your every step. It feels like  listening to the muted echoes of past concerts and visitors stored in and muffled by the aged woodwork. Or, walk within the trees between taut cables that twang with your every move. Ring the doorbell of the funky piano house and enjoy the welcome of the music and kinetic sounds emanating from the house constructed of elements of pianos and string instruments.

This exhibition is a big leap for Caramoor into the realm of an emerging art form, and a hearty “bravo” for bringing this innovative concept to Westchester and collaborating with five other venues in the county. Me? I’ll keep going back to Caramoor to practice my listening skills. But in the meantime, I will listen (now more intently) to the nightly symphony of bull frogs behind my house.

Image: “Sunken Gardens” by Betsey Biggs (photo by Caryn Waechter)

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