Credit: The Harry Bertoia Foundation


From an early age, Harry Bertoia was fascinated with the musical talents of his brother and father while growing up in the small Italian village of San Lorenzo, but stunted because he did not possess the same ability. Despite his lack of rhythm, he still wished to integrate these aspects into his work years later as a sculptor. While building one of his bronze sculptures, he accidentally brushed two metal rods which made an ambient sound, sparking the idea to add dozens more to amplify it. This collection of "sound sculptures," which Bertoia dubbed "Sonambient" in 1970, were the subjects of 11 subsequent self-released LPs recorded in his renovated barn-turned-recording-studio in Pennsylvania before his death in 1978. However, there are still at least 350 reels of unheard recordings in his archive.

Some of the sound sculptures presented in the barn.
Credit: The Harry Bertoia Foundation Some of the sound sculptures presented in the barn.


In order to preserve these recordings, and eventually release some of them, The Harry Bertoia Foundation, Bertoia Studios, and Important Records have created a Kickstarter to transfer them to a digital archive. With a $15,000 pledge, which they hope to meet by March 10,  they can fund the studio gear necessary to create a digital archive with the highest quality possible. Additionally, the studio will transfer the original reels from Bertoia’s self-released records, which will be reproduced as a box set. The Kickstarter has reached $4,834 to date.

Bertoia working on his sculptures in his renovated Pennsylvania Deutsch fieldstone barn that he used as a studio for recordings.
Credit: The Harry Bertoia Foundation Bertoia working on his sculptures in his renovated Pennsylvania Deutsch fieldstone barn that he used as a studio for recordings.


Watch the video below to learn more.