Mind Travel is a concert, a musical journey and meditative experience that’s sweeping the globe: from the shores of Santa Monica and Montauk to major cities such as London, New York City, San Francisco and next up, Croatia. FIT+LOVE synced up with the amazing and talented Murray Hidary to tune in to his newest work of art.
Can you tell us what Mind Travel is?
Mind Travel is a piano concert, a visual art mixed media exhibit, and a mentally transporting journey that takes place in prestigious performance venues or as silent head phone concerts, in iconic natural settings around the world. .
Each performance is unique because there is an element of real-time composition. I use musical blocks, kind of like Legos®, to construct and tell different stories, so it’s always different but each one has a similar impact and isunique to the one before and the ones that come next. The music has its own personality, like us with our unique personalities. It’s very immersive and it allows people to create a tremendous amount of clarity around their lives on many levels.
How did Mind Travel begin?
Mind Travel began as a personal practice of mine many years ago, when I was in college as a classical composition major at NYU, and as a composer, I developed a musical language to express myself. I would spend time playing and unwinding at the piano. Eventually, that time sitting there got longer and longer. It began to coincide with my parallel research and thinking about different states of consciousness and the universe in general. The two started to come together in these sessions where I would sit at the piano at the end of the day and express the way I felt about different states of consciousness through music. I started to ask myself, “What would the energy of the universe sound like?”
How did Mind Travel evolve into a performance experience?
Mind Travel was my way of exploring the musical world with very important ideas. It has evolved over many years and become a ritualized practice in which I deal with the ups and downs of life - emotional times; joy and suffering; and trials and tribulations. Mind Travel grounds me and connects me with the deepest part of myself - who I am at the core level. Eventually, I wanted to share this practice with others.
My first performance was in LA and it snowballed from there. “Let’s go on this journey,” I told the audience. The concept of Mind Travel was very counterintuitive. I found that the longer the performance, the better. It takes time for the mind to relax and open up, so as the music continues, people can settle in. Their minds open up and suddenly they have experiences that you can’t have in a short form experience.
Why do you use silent headphones in your outdoor concerts? The idea for the headphones came out of wanting to create a truly transporting and expansive experience for the audience. Theaters are fantastic, incredible black boxes to take an audience to another world, but there is something to also be said about a location-based performance that is hard to replace. If you look at iconic natural settings, like the beach by the pier in Santa Monica, Central Park in NYC and other natural wonders, those become powerful places to have Mind Travel. Unfortunately, you can’t bring a Steinway® piano next to the ocean - the audience wouldn’t hear it. You could get big speakers, but the acoustic fidelity wouldn’t be good. The audience wearing headphones opened up a whole other level of experience and sound quality.
Mind Travel as a silent headphone concert, and I say silent, because if you don’t have the headphones, it’s silent, totally trippy. I even have people walk around during this concerts, I tell them to walk around, lay down, look at the stars, walk by the ocean and it’s very powerful, very immersive. There is a real sense of community around it. It’s a fun way to explore where the line between one’s identity as an individual and as part of the human collective.
Taking Leaps…why now?
Mind Travel is very personal to me. The thought of performing - to really connect with audiences -requires a very deep vulnerability on stage. The audience needs to connect with me not as an entertainer or performer, but as a human being. Sometimes I ask myself, “Why am I doing this now, at this point in my life?” When I dig down and am honest, I wasn’t ready to be really open and vulnerable and expose myself on stage. I embrace this concept fully: “If you are not terrified by what you are up to, you’re not up to something big enough.”
Making a difference and reflecting on legacy…
Ultimately for me, it became about really making a difference in the world with my unique skills and talent, identifying what I am uniquely good at. Sometimes it takes time to figure that out; a lot of us are good at a lot of things, and so at different chapters in our lives, we can express things in different ways. For me, I spent a lot of time working in the tech world, but at some point I said, “What is my ultimate legacy going to be?” That really influenced my choice to put the music out there in a very big, public way and start performing myself, not to just have it as a personal practice.
Exercise + Workout “On the Move”
Because I tour so much and am on road most of the year, taking care of my body has never been more important. It’s not just about being healthy - the quality of the performances are related to how good I feel. I have to do workouts that are accessible on the road: swimming, whether in the ocean or a hotel pool; gentle Cross-Fit inspired body weight workouts. These are great for keeping me keep lose and flexible so that I do not tighten up and restrict my playing. Jump rope is also my best friend! It provides an amazing 10-minute cardio workout without leaving the room. And mediation - I try to do it every day. It’s the most counter intuitive wellness thing you can do. It’s not just about de-stressing, but about energizing on a cellular basis. When you finally feel that you can’t wait to do that again! It’s very powerful.
And of course, there will be an app!