When composer Joseph Bertolozzi and sound engineer Ron Kuhnke chose Tannoy Di 8DCs for an outdoor, site-specific art installation on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge, they knew the speakers were going to take some punishment from the elements. In fact, for Bertolozzi, the durability of the Di 8DCs was as important as the sound quality offered by Tannoy's Dual Concentric design.
Still, he never expected they'd have to stand up to a storm like Irene. "It rains, it gets cold, but we actually take the speakers down from October 31 to April 1," he said, "because conditions on the bridge in winter are like being in the North Atlantic."
Born in nearby Poughkeepsie, NY, Bertolozzi grew up virtually in the shadow of the bridge. For the Vassar College trained composer and self-taught percussionist, however, the Mid-Hudson is more than just an enduring fixture in his life - it's also the inspiration for his most unusual composition to date.
Bertolozzi's 'Bridge Music' is composed exclusively from sounds created using a variety of mallets to strike the bridge's guardrails, girders, spindles and ropes.
While listeners can hear the result at josephbertolozzi.com, the best place to experience Bertolozzi's work is in the very environment that inspired it, at one of two listening stations located along the bridge's pedestrian walkway. Installed in June 2009 to mark the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage up the Hudson, the listening stations are placed 1500-feet apart on the bridge's two 315-foot high, gothic towers; each featuring a pair of Di 8DCs secured using Tannoy's K-Ball wall mounts.
When news that Hurricane Irene was headed for the area reached him, Bertolozzi was concerned. Although Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it blew into the Mid-Hudson Valley on August 28, it still hit hard, submerging parkland on both sides of the river and packing winds up to 50 MPH. After the storm, Bertolozzi expected to find trouble waiting for him on the bridge, but once there he was pleasantly surprised.