“If anyone should break in here, please leave the musical scores, since they have no value to anyone except Edvard Grieg.” That’s the note composer Edvard Grieg left on the writing desk in his composer’s hut when he finished work each day.
Grieg needed absolute quiet in order to work, so in 1891, he had a small hut built on the shores of the Nordåsvannet bay near his Troldhaugen villa. The villa was filled with visitors and household noises, but the hut was quiet, except for the occasional passing boat.
Grieg spent the last 22 summers of his life at the villa, which he referred to as his “best opus so far.” It’s still standing in Norway, now dubbed the Edvard Grieg Museum.
Edvard Grieg’s home at Troldhaugen
Closer to home, in the San Juan Archipelago off the coast of Washington State, there’s the secluded oasis of another composer: Morten Lauridsen. When he’s not performing or conducting his music around the world, or teaching at USC, you can find him on Waldron Island. Lauridsen visited the island as a child and when it’s general store came up for sale, Lauridsen bought it. There’s no grid electricity and no municipal running water, but there is a $50 piano on which Lauridsen has composed many of his most well-known and loved pieces.