Tannoy speakers take on tropical storm Irene

Tannoy’s Di 8DC recently withstood the extreme conditions of tropical storm Irene as part of an outdoor, site-specific art installation on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge.

First conceived in 2004, Joseph Bertolozzi’s Bridge Music is composed entirely from sounds created using a variety of mallets to strike the bridge’s guardrails, girders, spindles and ropes, essentially transforming the 81-year-old, 3000-foot span into the world’s largest percussion rig.

It was, in fact, Bertolozzi himself who specified the Tannoy speakers along with sound engineer Ron Kuhnke. While he knew that the speaker would have to endure some elemental force, he didn’t think they would have to take on such treacherous conditions. “It rains, it gets cold, but we actually take the speakers down from October 31st to April 1st,” he said, “because conditions on the bridge in winter are like being in the North Atlantic.”

When news that Hurricane Irene was headed for the area reached him, Bertolozzi was justifiably concerned. Although Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it blew into the Mid-Hudson Valley on August 28th it still hit hard, submerging parkland on both sides of the river and packing winds of up to 50 mph. Following the storm, Bertolozzi was amazed at the resilience of the speakers:

“The speakers hadn’t moved and inch. They still delivered crystal clear sound as if nothing happened. We lost power in the west tower, but when we reset it the speakers still worked fine. And on the east tower, we didn’t even lose power. You probably could have listened to the music if you were on the bridge hanging on for dear life during the storm.”

You can hear the results of the installation by visiting http://josephbertolozzi.com/bridge-music-2/.