The story of ice artist Tim Linhart, who built an ice concert hall and ice instruments has spread worldwide. People flock to Ice Music to listen to the voice of the ice, which is a unique experience. It is also about the creative process.

Violinist Phoebe Hunts' first encounter with an ice violin.
Violinist Phoebe Hunts' first encounter with an ice violin.
Ice Music takes chape
Ice Music takes chape
Ice artist Tim Linhart puts the finishing touch on an ice instrument.
Ice artist Tim Linhart puts the finishing touch on an ice instrument.

The Tibetan monks make mandalas when they meditate. Figures painted on the ground or on a table symbolizing the cosmic. The boards take several hours to make and when they are ready
they are demolished to remind us that nothing is permanent. The procedure can in many ways be likened to the building of the Ice Music venue. The precision, commitment and the temporary. Many hours of hard work are behind the design of Ice Music.

The ice concert hall is built up as two spherical igloos. The shape is designed to give the best conditions for creating a constant temperature of minus five degrees Celsius. The temperature is pleasant for the audience and ideal for ice instruments. The construction process takes place when two large air-filled balloons are placed at the site where the concert hall will be located. In several different stages a snow machine shoots snow over the balloons. When the balloons have a thick enough layer of snow on them the balloons are emptied and removed from the snow pile.

Then the interior design begins. The ice inside the igloos is chopped, sawed and shoveled out of the venue. Stairs and benches in several phases are designed with a chainsaw. The center of the igloo’s roof is a chimney that allows the audience’s body temperature and breathing to vent, avoiding raising the temperature in the ice concert hall.

The stage is placed in the middle,slightly recessed to keep the temperature lowand in the best way enabling the ice instruments to spread their powerful, crisp and rich sound throughout the room.

When winter is over the ice concert hall closes down and the snow is carried away. Luckily, snow will be back next winter and then another ice concert hall will be built anew.

Facts

Ice instruments are made in a cold room, or a tent with cooling units. The instruments are made of white ice, which is snow that has been mixed with water. The white ice is easy to shape and can even be extended, which facilitates the manufacture of the instruments. Most of the instruments look like traditional instruments with strings and tailpiece. A few stand out and have been given a unique shape. The instruments are tuned at minus five degrees Celsius because it is the same temperature as in the ice concert hall. The instruments must be re-tuned after each song to keep the right intonation when the heat of the musician’s hands, and breathing can warm the instruments.

//
Text: Amanda Karlsson
Photo: Patrik Öhman, Graeme Richardson, Luleåfotograferna