Prof. Russolo & His Noise Intoners

a performance art concept

Boundaries between musical genres and artistic disciplines are not real.

In a performance, pop, streetnoise and entertainment are as rich as classical music or the reading of poetry.

Projects commissioned or projects Prof. Russolo creates in his studio. He is looking for challenging ideas all the time, artistically and communicatively.

The name

In his manifest L’arte dei rumori / The art of noises (1913), the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo described the historic evolution of sound: in the beginning there was silence, in the end music as an artistic medium. From this he concluded that each and every sound can be a meaningful and expressive sign. Russolo advocates the music of the future in which differences between artistic, natural and industrial sounds are no longer perceived.

Russolo was both a visual artist and a musician - as a futurist he found himself in the inspiring territory where artistic discplines meet, especially performing with his self-built noise intoners.

The decision to choose the name Prof. Russolo & His Noise Intoners is inspired by the need to move freely in a world challenging us to create, to think and to play.

The structure

Prof. Russolo & His Noise Intoners functions as a workshop around Prof. Russolo, within a network of visual artists, poets, sonologists and dramatic artists participating in the various projects.

Luigi Russolo

Portogruaro 30 april 1885 -
Cerro di Lavena 4 february 1947

Italian painter and composer, one of the founding members of Italian futurism.


Luigi Russolo came from a musically talented family: his father was the local clockmaker and church organist, two elder brothers became professional musicians. Luigi himself played piano and violin, but at 16 he decided to become a painter.

Painter of Sounds

His transformation of a quality painter into the famous musical frontrunner, was triggered by the performance of Pratella’s Musica Futurista in 1913. Listening to this orchestral piece, Russolo thought of a new and more radical concept of music / noise. This he stated in his manifest L’arte dei rumori (The art of noises).

Here he tries to interpret the role and evolution of music, sound and noise through the ages; he argues in favor of a total acceptance and emancipation of the noises of the new, ‘modern’ age.

Noise Machines

His concept of ‘the art of noise’ brought him to construe his own instruments to realise his intentions: intonarumori (noise intoners) , boxes with mechanical and often electrical parts, with large speakers to realise his ideas.


Luigi Russolo was not a trained composer and therefore could develop surprising music dominated by the autonomous sound of his selfbuilt instruments. This open-minded attitude towards sound, was later followed by other composers and performers (John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer, Joe Jones e.g.).


Luigi Russolo was the first to write his noise-music down in graphic scores. Compositions bear titles like Convegno delle automobile e degli aeroplani (Meeting of automobiles and aircrafts) and Si pranza sulla terrazza dell’hotel (Breakfast is served on the hotel terrace).

Later Years

In 1922 Luigi Russolo built the Rumorarmonio or Russolophone, a kind of organ that produced seven types of noise at twelve different pitches. Plans to mass-produce his instruments did not work out. At the end of his life Russolo again focused on philosophy and his painting.

Russolo’s Soundmachines: Noise Intoners

In Russolo’s and the Futurists’ philosophy, the combination of music/noise and machines was logical. In this new age, characterised by technology and industrialisation, they discovered endless possibilities for musical man to explore and to create a new experience of music/noise.


Russolo built, together with his assistant Piatti, his so called intonarumori (Noise Intoners), instruments/machines to realise his concepts about the music of the future. Squeak, shreak, crunch, rattle, hiss are words to indicate the elements of this new music. It goes without saying that the public reacted loudly and divided to the concerts that Russolo gave with his instruments.

Sound is everywhere

The association of music and machines are of course not an exclusive feature of modern times. Traditional musical instruments can, in retrospect, be seen as noise intoners too. And to go one step further: aren’t we humans and the animals and the rest of nature not all noise-producing machines? This makes the concept of Russolo’s Noise Intoners archetypical, a story of all times.

Playing with Sound

Within this performance-art concept Prof. Russolo & His Noise Intoners tries to translate this archetypical aspect to the present. He works together with technicians to develop and build his own noise intoners. Electronics, mechanics and computers are put to work to create a universe of sounds that he feels at home in, on stage as well as in the studio.

His attitude towards music, sounds and noises is very open, so he may surprise himselve and his listeners with unexpected sound inventions.

© 2015 Stichting Luigi Russolo

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