The festival showcases new innovative music from 23 Oct to 3 Nov, with an array of world premieres, commissions and collaborations
soundfestival returns to venues across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire this month, showcasing a variety of new music for 12 days beginning on Wed 23 Oct. The festival, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, features an impressive array of performances and collaborations by local, UK and international artists, and will include 20 world premieres and 12 new commissions.
'It's always incredibly exciting waiting to hear what the pieces we've commissioned are going to sound like,' says Fiona Robertson, director of soundfestival. 'Being at a premiere of a new work is always a huge privilege and very inspiring, especially given the quality of the performers and composers taking part.'
Aberdeen venue The Lemon Tree is hosting many of the new music events this year, including the highly-anticipated opening event: the world premiere of Motherhood, a new work by Sound's current composer-in-residence, Ailie Robertson, performed by voices from EXAUDI and Tutti Voices (Wed 23 Oct).
'The programming vision for The Lemon Tree is all about discovery – taking audiences on a journey, introducing them to new work and new ideas,' says Ben Torrie, Director of Creative Programming and Creative Projects for Aberdeen Performing Arts. 'The soundfestival by its very definition does exactly that in everything it presents.'
Other programme highlights at The Lemon Tree include Written in Fire, a collaboration between the Singh Quartet and electronic musician Vessel (Fri 25 Oct), while Noémi Boutin and Matthew Sharp will perform We need to talk / Il faut qu'on parle (Sat 26 Oct), an intimate exploration of the relationship between two cellists, one being from France and one from the UK.
The Lemon Tree will also see Aberdeen's newest music ensemble, Any Enemy, present new works by three young composers from North East Scotland. 'The three works we have been working on are all very different and present different challenges but make up a fascinating programme,' says Any Enemy conductor Pete Stollery, who is also a University of Aberdeen music professor and soundfestival's co-founder and chair. 'The interaction between players and composers in rehearsal has been amazing and the ensemble has helped the composers to hone their ideas for the final performance.'
Any Enemy / credit: Colin Black
Any Enemy will also collaborate with Red Note Ensemble and oboist Nicholas Daniel (Fri 1 Nov) for one of many performances showcasing the oboe as part of the festival's 'endangered instruments' series. The Lemon Tree's final event is a collaboration between Dutch reed quintet Calefax and English cellist Matthew Barley (Sat 2 Nov).
Attendees can head to the Belmont Filmhouse Cafe Bar for the festival's Late night soundsessions which will feature performances by experimental Moog guitarist Bill Thompson and Silent Chaos (Fri 25 Oct), as well as bass clarinetist Gareth Davis (Sat 26 Oct). The final weekend of the festival will see sound artist Suk-Jun Kim present Humming, a series of electroacoustic compositions exploring humming (Fri 1 Nov), and a closing party featuring informal performances by many musicians from the festival (Sat 2 Nov).
Gareth Davis / credit: Bas de Brouwer
Outside of Aberdeen city centre, events will also be held at venues in Banchory, Inverurie, Huntly and Forgue, providing a wide variety of music across Aberdeenshire. A selection of talks, family-friendly events, installations, workshops and masterclasses will round out the festival.
'soundfestival fulfils a unique and important place in the city's, and Scotland's, cultural landscape – championing new composers and providing a crucial platform for the development of contemporary music,' says Torrie.
After 15 years in and around Aberdeen, soundfestival continues to be a key event in the country's musical calendar, providing rare and special opportunities for performers and listeners alike.
soundfestival, various venues, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Wed 23 Oct–Sun 3 Nov, sound-scotland.co.uk