Composer Joseph Bertolozzi is celebrating 10 years of his Bridge Music project at the Mid-Hudson Bridge on Saturday, August 3 with several free activities scheduled throughout the day.
At 2 p.m., a re-dedication and tour of the Mid-Hudson Bridge will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony on the Highland side of the span at the Johnson-Iorio Park. This will be followed by a tour out onto the bridge on a safe pedestrian walkway that will stop at the west tower of the bridge where the public can play along to the music with supplied drumsticks.
At 5:30 p.m. at Vassar Temple, 140 Hooker Avenue, Poughkeepsie, there will be a screening, commentary and Q&A with composer Bertolozzi, the film makers and music professionals who will examine Bridge Music’s place in music history.
The events conclude with a 9 p.m. program on the Walkway Over the Hudson where the public will be able to look over to the Mid-Hudson Bridge and watch the bridge lights change color and pulse while listening to Bertolozzi’s unique Bridge Music.
Reached by phone, Bertolozzi said he owes all of this to his wife Sheila, who inadvertently suggested the idea of a music project at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The idea morphed into a project nearer to home at the Mid Hudson Bridge that began in 2004 with Bertolozzi cataloguing and storing the types of vibrations from varying spots on the structure. This led to a recording of Bridge Music in 2009 that was installed on the bridge where people can press a button to hear all of the music.
Bertolozzi said over the years there has been interest in his project from all over the world. He said the original idea was to “play” the Eiffel Tower and he finally achieved that goal in 2010 after reaching out to the proper authorities in Paris.
“Long story short, I got permission to do Tower Music and that album came out in 2016,” he said, adding that he is hoping to do an installation in Paris in the future.
Bertolozzi is looking forward to all of the events this Saturday.
“Everybody who is there I’m going to invite and give a little tour; I’ll show them the cables and the guard rails and I’ll demonstrate with different mallets what the different surfaces sound like. The payoff is when we get to the first tower the first 200 people will have been given drumsticks and we’ll all play to the music.”