Various venues, Edinburgh, Thu 18–Sun 21 Sep; see listings for full line-up
Left field music festivals aren’t exactly thin on the ground in this country. Edinburgh events, however, have had a lower profile than elsewhere, with the Dialogues weekend setting an electronically inclined tone, picked up in a more acoustic way by the recent Three Blows weekend. Somewhere between the two is the second edition of Sonic Fusion, a bi-annual shindig of contemporary chamber works running over ten days in a variety of spaces.
‘The idea,’ according to composer and Sonic Fusion artistic director Stephen Davismoon, ‘was to bring contemporary musical art to Scotland’s capital in all its various guises.
‘One of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that it isn’t just about electro-acoustic work, but as the name of the festival implies, it really tries to fuse things. So in terms of programming, there are no particular schools. We’re also trying to champion work from countries that don’t really get exposed on the European circuit, like Mexico and Korea, and find different platforms to put the work in.’
With this in mind, there will be concerts in formal spaces including St Giles Cathedral, Canongate Kirk, Stockbridge Parish Church and Napier University, as well as sound installations in the Voodoo Rooms. The festival will be book ended by events at the Filmhouse, where Sonic Fusion’s launch will include work by Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and performed by The Research Ensemble. A special afternoon event during the festival’s final weekend will feature a screening of Solaris, Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 science-fiction film noted for its electronic score by Russian composer Eduard Artemyev, which is juxtaposed with organ works by Bach.
‘One of the most significant forms of contemporary concert music for the last 20 years has been in mixed media,’ Davismoon points out. ‘Historically it hasn’t had that big an audience, but there has been a huge amount of activity, and it’s just a matter of time before that goes out and finds an audience. That’s part of what I’d like Sonic Fusion to be about, and in future I want it to be even more inclusive and even more diverse.’