Conceived by: David Tudor

Realized by: Composers inside electronics


Photo: Rene Block


General Description

Rainforest IV, one of the most performed contemporary music works, has been installed worldwide in more than 35 different locations (museums, universities, performance centers and even Pierre Cardin’s fashion studio), with over 125 individual performances to date.

The visual and sonic work is improvisational by nature and typically performed by a minimum of four performers continuously from between 3-6 hours at a time. Approximately 16-40 sculptural speakers are suspended in the installation space and act as unique resonant loudspeakers with sound emanating directly from the sculptural objects (each having a unique sound source).

          Photo: Kira Perov

The character of a Rainforest IV performance is an informal social environment where visitors are encouraged to wander around and physically interact with the work (including placing your ear against the sculptures, feeling the vibrations in your hand or against your head.  David Tudor requested that two particular audiences be invited when possible – the blind and children.

Origins of Rainforest IV

Rainforest IV evolved out of a workshop that David Tudor presented at the New Music in New Hampshire Festival (Chocorua, NH) in the summer of 1973. The first performance took place in a large barn and lasted for approximately five hours. The sculptures included a metal bedspring, a huge wine barrel, toilet floats, cast iron wagon wheel rims, a stainless steel milk container lid, lawn sprinklers, a copper still, styrofoam box, a large metal cable, and more.


Since the first installation of the work in New Hampshire, a core group of performers under the name Composers Inside Electronics, have been realizing the work and include: David Tudor (deceased), John Driscoll, John D.S. Adams, Paul DeMarinis, Phil Edelstein, Linda Fisher, D’Arcy Phillip Gray, Ralph Jones, Martin Kalve, Matt Rogalsky and Bill Viola.  Other performers have included: David Behrman, Nick Collins, James Goode, Takahisa Kosugi , Ron Kuivila, Russel Frehling, Virginia Quesada, Greg Kramer, Susan Palmer, Richard Titlebaum, Mark Trayle, Stephen Vitiello, and Andrej Zdravic.

During this thirty-seven year period, the work has been presented extensively at a variety of venues throughout the world.  The response has been enthusiastic from a wide range of audience members including the visually impaired, children, senior citizens, artists, musicians, and the general public. To this day, Rainforest IV remains a unique concept which continues to span media and disciplines.

                                                                                     Photo: Phil Edelstein

The Future

Following David Tudor’s death in 1996, the core members of Composers Inside Electronics (C.I.E.) committed themselves to:

•  The continuation of the performance work, which led to installations at Lincoln Center (1998), New Music Concerts Toronto (1999), Mills College (1999), The Getty Museum / Cal Arts (2001), the Kitchen (2007), and the Laboratorio Arte Alameda – Mexico City (2009).

•  Expanding the body of literature on Rainforest:

  1. -- A paper co-authored by John Driscoll/Matt Rogalsky on the evolution of Rainforest was delivered at the Getty Symposium on David Tudor (David Tudor's Rainforest: An Evolving Exploration of Resonance) – 2001

  2. -- Leonardo Music Journal published the above article (volume 14) – 2004

  3. -- Matt Rogalsky presented a doctoral thesis on Rainforest and Composers Inside Electronics (Idea and Community: The Growth of David Tudor's Rainforest, 1965-2006) – 2006

  4. -- CIE members were recently interviewed for an upcoming biography on David Tudor by John Holtzapfel - 2010

  5. -- Planning is underway for editing of a video documentary on Rainforest - 2012

The development of a permanent and long-term installations of the self-running Rainforest V is currently in ongoing discussions and proposals with potential partners and sponsors. This version will allow world-wide access to the work via the internet and will add an interactive educational component as well (increasing the awareness and the experience of the work to hundreds of thousands of potential visitors).  Rainforest V will allow performers throughout the world to contribute sound materials and participate in scheduled performances.

Local workshops will also develop ongoing new sculptural loudspeakers for the installation to encourage repeat visits (online and at the site).

                                Rainforest IV - Audio Excerpt (Berlin)

Note: Binaural recording - use headphones for spatial localization



History of Rainforest IV