Composer and pianist Murray Hidary leads groups of people in "MindTravel," his musical meditation experience, in which participants listen to music and a guided mediation. He leads a "SilentHike" in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 31st, from 7 to 9 PM in Fairmount Park, in between stops to Brooklyn and Washington, and beyond.
What exactly is MindTravel? It's a musical experience Hidary puts together for groups of people—with different versions for particular settings—in concert halls, museums and other indoor venues; in parks and on beaches, and through outdoor hikes. Some locations accomodate live music; others, where participants are walking, involve precorded music heard through headphones.
This summer he has launched a tour of a MindTravel experience he calls SilentHike. On July 22nd he was in Berlin; from there he made stops in London, Santa Monica, Malibu, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and on July 31st, in Philadelphia. That's all in a week and a half!
The universe is constantly changing. We can't just wait until everything around us is peaceful, to feel peaceful. We should be able to feel peaceful, to feel stillness, to feel calm amidst the turbulence of life." -Murray Hidary
How does he create unique experiences that relate to so many different surroundings? "I just completed this in Berlin and Paris and London," he says. "I had never walked some of those parks. Since we're doing literally a city a day through this tour, I arrive early in the day and spend several hours or longer, actually scouting, walking and experiencing the park and the landscape." He maps out the route, and then curates the music.
"And then what I say is improvised based on where we are. I create the experience onsite and then we all meet up in the evening."
MindTravel pulls together ideas from the different directions Murray Hidary's life has taken. During college, the Brooklyn native studied music and composition and took a year's leave to live in southeast asia and learn eastern philiosophy first hand.
After graduating, he pursued parallel careers in business, (founding several internet companies), music (composing a symphony, chamber and piano works) and visual arts (with his photography in shows at various venues).
After witnessing the tragic death of his younger sister in a horrific motorcycle accident, he was devastated. He turned to his piano to deal with the pain. "If I didn't have music," he says, "I'm not sure where I would be today... Words can express what I was feeling but music was able to allow me to express and emote and feel it out of me in some way. And that's truly how I gained my life back."
Moved by the power of music and meditation to heal, in 2014 he founded Mind Travel to create an experience that others could share. The concept has grown and evolved into group gatherings at a variety of indoor and outdoor settings around the world.
"We started with live piano in my living room to larger theaters, then moving it outdoors, to connect people with nature; live concerts wtih headphones so they would have a really great high fidelity accoustic experience in an outdoor setting .. and now the SilentWalks, where we're moving through landscapes, we're hiking up moutains, going through urban settings, to really connect people very deeply."