5 reasons we're excited about soundfestival 2016

Because where else can you see new compositions played on instruments invented solely for that performance?

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5 Reasons We're Excited About Soundfestival 2016

Composer Francois Sarhan, see 'Kein for invented instruments' / credit: Graham Delacy

As anyone who has ever been to a music festival knows, some of the best moments are seeing bands you've never heard of play music you've never listened to before. These choice encounters stick in the mind for a long time and often send you excitedly Googling the mystery band once your 4G signal returns. Soundfestival goes one step further by programming only new music and performances, promising to take its audience on 'sonic adventures to discover new worlds and widen their musical horizons'.

So, if you've been going to festivals and only seeing your favourite bands play songs you already know, this promises to be something very different. But it's not entirely a leap in the dark; the composers, musicians and ensembles are some of the best in the business. After thumbing the 2016 programme, themed around 'music for string quartets', we've picked out five of the events we're especially excited about seeing and hearing.

1. Simon Callow delivers the 'Mother of all Speeches'
You probably know him as Gareth in Four Weddings and a Funeral, he of spectacular beard and one-of-a-kind laughter, but the Shakespearean actor's voice and stage skill seem perfect for this performance of Der Tribun (The Tribune or the Mother of all Speeches), a caricature of totalitarianism by 20th century composer Mauricio Kagel. The piece was originally devised as a radio play and is a brilliant exercise in audience manipulation.
Freedom o(r) Speech, ACT, Sat 29 Oct, 8pm.

2. Imogene Newland and Suk-Jun Kim – Leylines
For something a little more experimental, look no further than this collaboration between pianist-turned-choreographer/dancer Newland, and the Korean composer and sound artist Kim. The performance project explores 'ideas around slowness and repetition based on the concept of ley lines, hypothetical passageways created between ancient megaliths and the natural landscape.'
Leylines, The Lemon Tree, Fri 21 Oct, 7pm.

3. Discovery Day at Aberdeen Science Centre
If you're the kind of person that likes to get stuck in, Discovery Day at Aberdeen Science Centre has plenty of hands-on activities exploring the science behind music and sounds, not to mention several shows. Your participation will contribute to a piece of music composed by everyone attending that day. And it's free!
Discovery Day, Aberdeen Science Centre, Sat 22 Oct, 10.30am.

4. Red Note Ensemble: Kein for invented instruments
This one probably has to be seen to be believed because explanation is unlikely to do justice to the on-the-night experience. Red Note Ensemble team up with French composter Francois Sarhan who has created new work for a string quartet with a twist: all the instruments are newly invented and specifically designed for the piece. Furthermore, recorded texts from historical figures have been integrated for added, well, we have no idea but it sounds amazing.
Kein for Invented Instruments, The Lemon Tree, Fri 28 Oct, 7pm.

5. Bitches Brew with Syntonic and Song Circus
Syntonic, the jazz duo of Emma Smith and Sue McKenzie, have for some time now been showcasing female musicians around the country with their Bitches Brew improvisational sessions, cheekily reclaiming the title of Miles Davis's classic 1970 album. The pair now bring the sessions to soundfestival and are joined at one of these Late Night adventures by the Norwegian female vocal ensemble Song Circus for what will surely be a fun night.
Late night soundsessions – Bitches Brew, Belmont Filmhouse, Sat 29 Oct, 10pm.

soundfestival, various venues, Aberdeen, 20 Oct–6 Nov.


An innovative festival of new music in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. From contemporary classical music to electro-acoustic music, traditional, vocal and jazz, the festival brings together a wide range of different musical styles in a variety of concerts, workshops, installations and talks. The 2016 festival focuses on new…

Various venues: Aberdeenshire

Thu 27 Oct

Times & prices vary

Fri 28 Oct

Times & prices vary

Sat 29 Oct

Times & prices vary

…and 8 more dates until 6 Nov


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