Arts Mid Hudson announces Bridge Music as the 2022 recipient of the 36th Annual Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Awards for Art in Public Places.

Bridge Music is a free and open-to-the-public sound-art installation now in its 13th consecutive season. Using only audio samples from the Mid Hudson Bridge [railings, cables, etc.] for the content of its music with no further processing or addition of traditional instruments. 

The music is installed at “Listening Stations,” or jukeboxes mounted on the Mid Hudson Bridge’s towers itself; follow the signs from Main St, walk out, press a button and hear the music OF the bridge ON the bridge, from April 1 through Oct 31. Unable to walk the bridge? A “Park Radio” operates 24/7/365 in a broadcast on 95.3FM within Poughkeepsie’s Waryas Park.

A major destination on the Walkway Trail Loop, it draws visitors to listen, dance, and marvel at the sounds of steel turned into music while offering an astounding view of the Hudson River, a destination where the public can personally connect with one of the most visible and famous Hudson Valley icons. 

It’s internationally recognized, having appeared as feature stories in such top shelf media outlets as the NY Times, Reuters, AP, BBC, Wall Street Journal, NPR, etc. It’s been the subject of several award winning documentary films and has a dedicated chapter in Oxford University Press’s book “Environmental Sound Artists,” while routinely being written up in the Dutchess Tourism Travel Guide, “Hiking New York’s Lower Hudson River Valley,” “NY Off the Beaten Path,” “Scenic Driving NY,” “New York State 2014,” etc.

It’s innovations in bringing the public to our area include such key partnerships and events as:

– the 10th Anniversary Celebrations which included a re-dedication ceremony by the New York State Bridge Authority, a film festival in partnership with Story Screen Beacon and Vassar Temple featuring Bridge Music documentaries; and a synchronized light show on the Mid Hudson Bridge in partnership with iHeart Radio…read that again…a commercial radio station committed one hour of its airtime on a Saturday night to celebrate Bridge Music.

Bridge Music 10th Anniversary Re-Dedication. Image courtesy of Blue Wings Press

– The Bridge Music Dance Project, a joint production in 2022 with the Walkway Over the Hudson and The Vanaver Caravan and nine other dance companies. Dancers moved to and interpreted the soundtrack of Bridge Music with the Mid Hudson Bridge as the backdrop. This resulted in a documentary film released in September 2022.

Barefoot Dance Center during the Bridge Music Dance Project. Image courtesy of Irving Solero

– Education: apart from its identity as a tourist attraction it has been a continuing component of the Historic Bridges of the Hudson Valley’s Educational outreach program to elementary schools.

Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School, Croton-on-Hudson, NY Image courtesy of Blue Wings Press

– Food! Over the years it has inspired many area restaurants to create Bridge Music-themed offerings.

Bridge Music Parm. Image courtesy of Blue Wings Press

Free and open to the public for 13 years, Bridge Music is a shining example of a public/private partnership between the NYS Bridge Authority and an artist turning a formerly utilitarian road into a tourist destination for our community and its visitors, and spotlighting it with continuing development.