In the late 1950s Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), already a renowned American sculptor, began creating long-form, improvised pieces of music utilizing pure acoustic tones evoked from his sound sculptures. Around this time Bertoia came up with the term “Sonambient” to describe the music and environment created by his tonal sculptures and their lush harmonic overtones. In a renovated barn on his property deep in the Pennsylvania woods Harry curated a harmonious selection of his sculptures and gongs, often recording his frequent, intuitive sound experiments using four overhead microphones and a 1/4″ tape recorder. Bertoia dedicated the last twenty years of his life to his Sonambient work and in 1970 he released the first Sonambient LP. In 1978, in the final months of his life, he selected recordings from his archive and produced ten more Sonambient records. He would not live long enough to see or hear these records himself. Bertoia died in 1978, at age 63, and was buried beneath a giant gong behind his Sonabmient barn.
At TUSK 2019 you can experience the overwhelming resonances of Bertoia’s work through our audio-visual installation of images and sounds from his unique work.